Cosmopolitics II

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University of Minnesota Press, 2011 - Philosophy - 480 pages
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Originally published in French in seven volumes, Cosmopolitics investigates the role and authority of the sciences in modern societies and challenges their claims to objectivity, rationality, and truth.Cosmopolitics II includes the first English-language translations of the last four books:Quantum Mechanics: The End of the Dream, In the Name of the Arrow of Time: Prigogine's Challenge, Life and Artifice: The Faces of Emergence,and The Curse of Tolerance.

Arguing for an “ecology of practices” in the sciences, Isabelle Stengers explores the discordant landscape of knowledge derived from modern science, seeking intellectual consistency among contradictory, confrontational, and mutually exclusive philosophical ambitions and approaches. For Stengers, science is a constructive enterprise, a diverse, interdependent, and highly contingent system that does not simply discover preexisting truths but, through specific practices and processes, helps shape them.

Stengers concludes this philosophical inquiry with a forceful critique of tolerance; it is a fundamentally condescending attitude, she contends, that prevents those worldviews that challenge dominant explanatory systems from being taken seriously. Instead of tolerance, she proposes a “cosmopolitics” that rejects politics as a universal category and allows modern scientific practices to peacefully coexist with other forms of knowledge.

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About the author (2011)

Trained as a chemist and philosopher, Isabelle Stengers has authored or coauthored more than twenty-five books and two hundred articles on the philosophy of science. In the 1970s and 1980s, she worked with Nobel Prize recipient Ilya Prigogine, with whom she wrote Order out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature. Her interests include chaos theory, the history of science, the popularization of the sciences, and the contested status of hypnosis as a legitimate form of psychotherapy. She is a professor of philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her books Power and Invention: Situating Science (1997), The Invention of Modern Science (2000), and Cosmopolitics I (2010) have been translated into English and published by the University of Minnesota Press.


Robert Bononno has translated more than a dozen books, including Psychoanalysis and the Challenge of Islam by Fethi Benslama (Minnesota, 2009) and Decolonization and the Decolonized by Albert Memmi (Minnesota, 2006).

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