Isabelle Stengers is Emerita Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles and is the author of numerous books, including
Ecology of Practices
Taking the example of the contested ownership of Kennewick Man (a prehistoric skeleton found in Washington state) as a focus of discussion, the chapter addresses the challenges of developing exchanges between cultures as a counter to the noncivilization of science. It considers the ecologically disastrous quality of modern demands that we “judge” and proposes a cultivation of attention and rebelliousness in response to this. A distinction between “sleepwalkers” and “idiots” is used to aid in distinguishing the ecology of practices from the ultimately normative consensual reasoning, and the chapter returns to the work of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, also explored in Isabelle Stengers's Cosmopolitics, and the resources that he can provide for thinking diplomatically when civil war (between practices) threatens.