Isabelle Stengers is Emerita Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles and is the author of numerous books, including
We Are Not Alone in the World
Tobie Nathan's affirmation, “We are not alone in the world,” is central to this chapter's argument about the ecology of practices and how it counters the narrative of science as an epic tale of human progress. Affirming the efficacy of non-Western healers in their appeal to invisible beings works against reductionist “explanations” of such practices and opens up a discussion of the “active formulations” that the ecology of practices needs. The work of neopagan witches also helps in thinking against the complicity of epic narratives of scientific progress. The chapter develops a “pharmacological” account of the purity that is often at work in the dismissal and destruction of practices that do not pass the test of proof, proposes an account of domestication and a conception of generic propositions as central to the cultivation of differences between practices and the work of distinction this requires.