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Taking up John Dewey's account of the “eclipse of the public” in The Public and Its Problems, this chapter argues for a renewed approach to the relationship between science and “opinion.” Dewey's account is important for its consideration of the ways in which publics emerge around problems that they succeed in making matter. Addressing Dewey's conception of an experimental logic for sociological investigation, and its correlative transformation of the investigator into someone capable of learning, the chapter introduces a conception of “cause,” susceptible to overcoming the “failure” of Dewey's project and its implicit reliance on a general concept of human progress. Actor-network theory and Gilles Deleuze's concept of the “idiot” are brought into play to explore the troubling of public order by practices that affirm their divergence.

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