Putting a Spin on Circulating Reference, or How to Rediscover the Scientific Subject

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Abstract
Bruno Latour claims to have shown that a Kantian model of knowledge, which he describes as seeking to unite a disembodied transcendental subject with an inaccessible thing-in-itself, is dramatically falsified by empirical studies of science in action. Instead, Latour puts central emphasis on scientific practice, and replaces this Kantian model with a model of “circulating reference.” Unfortunately, Latour's alternative schematic leaves out the scientific subject. I repair this oversight through a simple mechanical procedure. By putting a slight spin on Latour's diagrammatic representation of his theory, I discover a new space for a post-Kantian scientific subject, a subject brilliantly described by Ludwik Fleck. The neglected subjectivities and ceaseless practices of science are thus re-united.
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Archival date: 2020-02-27
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2015-02-13

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