Isabelle Stengers is Emerita Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles and is the author of numerous books, including
The Sciences in Their Milieus
Starting with a discussion of Galileo and his experimental apparatus, this chapter addresses the singularity of theoretico-experimental science and the power that its practices articulate. It reconsiders the “epic” genre of narrative that the Galilean fable of origins has given rise to and its role in constructing the territory that science occupies. This opens up a question around the changing milieus in which scientific practices operate. In a knowledge economy, any shift in milieu is an issue, bringing into play the relationship between scientific practices, state, and industry. To address the ecological crisis that has arisen from the dismantling of a set of relations that accorded to scientists some autonomy demands an approach by practitioners that ceases—implicitly or explicitly—to denounce everything that is not “scientific” as not worth considering. This in turn entails the cultivation of new obligations.