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 Cosmopolitical Test
This final brief chapter reviews the conception of “cosmopolitics” employed in thinking of the ecology of practices, its links with the concept of “fright,” and the contrast that is needed with contemporary notions of “empowerment,” “governance,” and “stakeholders.” A “chemical” conception of political technique is proposed as a way to acknowledge the artifices required in doing politics. Herman Melville's celebrated scrivener Bartleby is proposed as a figure of the “idiot,” as implied by cosmopolitical matters of concern, but it is the narrator of the tale, the lawyer, who is focused on here, specifically in relation to the cosmopolitical challenge of addressing those who prefer not to be “enrolled.'” This, finally, illustrates the difficulty but also crucial importance of thinking in the presence of victims.