This memorial to Latour is not an appraisal of his fifty-year research career but the report of a traveling companion with a story to share about the apparent lack of continuity, the sudden, unapologetic, unprincipled changes of position, with which he surprised or scandalized his colleagues and readers. In the first place, was he a sociologist, an anthropologist, a philosopher? Though he did not make lasting commitments of that kind, he did make deeper ones that did not change—above all, never to explain anything in terms of something more general and, thus, never to accept the position of judge. To follow Latour's problematic changes—sometimes referred to as his “versatility”—demands that we follow the changes of the very terms of the problems that his basic commitment bound him to confront. From the 1980s, when his work dealt with technoscientific progress, to the years of his growing concern with political ecology, and finally to his recognition of the oncoming climate chaos, dizzying leaps were entailed by his resistance to the temptation of judging. Involved in, but never the cause of, various of his leaps, Stengers describes her friend as responding, perforce, to changing times, rather than as behaving like a theorist thinking mainly of his image, reputation, and career.

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