UPDATE: I published this text before actually meeting Bruno Latour at the final evaluation conference for AIME in Paris on July 28-29. It is a collage of texts from my blog, put together with little editing. It shows the evolution of my views from a critical interest in this new pluralist project to a more positive defence of its ideas when they were attacked by a group of naive scientific naturalists who preferred to “refute” an imaginary stereotype of relativism rather than actually read the book.
In this article I take a critical look at the origins and sources of Bruno Latour’s pluralism as it is expressed in his book AN INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE, and compare it to other similar projects (Wittgenstein, Deleuze, Feyerabend, Badiou). I consider the accusations of reductionism and of relativism, and demonstrate that Latour’s «empirical metaphysics» is not an ontological reductionism but a pluralist ontology recognising the existence of a plurality of entities and of types of entities. Nor is it an epistemological relativism but an ontological pluralism affirming the existence of a plurality of types of existence. These two strands, pluralist ontology and ontological pluralism, mutually reinforce each other to produce at least the outlines of a robust pluralist realism.