Semi-modernism

Postmoderns, Latour suggests, think they are still modern, but in fact they have greatly oversimplified the modern Constitution. Postmoderns might emphasize the separation of subject and world, and stretch that opposition to a breaking point (Latour vividly describes them as doing the splits to . . . . Continue Reading »

Modern temporality

In his very good section on modern temporality, Latour argues that modernity assumes that everything in the present, modern moment, is purely modern, novel. Anything that appears that is not up-to-date is a “archaism,” and moderns worry constantly that this or that event or trend might . . . . Continue Reading »

Representation

One of the key moves made since the 17th century, Latour argues, is a distinction between modes of “representation.” In the laboratory Boyle is representing things before selected witnesses through scientific experiments, giving mute nature a voice through the scientist, while in . . . . Continue Reading »

We Have Never Been Modern

Bruno Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern (Harvard 1993) is a rich study. He describes modernity in terms of a dual process of “purification” and “hybridization.” Purification involves the clean construction of a nature (and science) separated off from society and the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tears of things

And/Or: Virgil is aware that the furor of civil war can be curbed only by an opposing, and more intense, furor. That, as Milbank says, is the way of paganism - peace established only by superior violence against violence. But in those tears Virgil expresses the the painful recognition - perhaps . . . . Continue Reading »

Sentimental cruelty

Virgil is not a critic of empire, but he’s not quite an unqualified celebrant either. He knows the costs, and mourns them. But neither he nor his hero wishes the conquests away. Sunt lacrimae rerum , indeed, but neither the tears nor the things are going to cease. This is just the way things . . . . Continue Reading »

Postmodern truth

In a review of Harry Frankfurt’s On Truth (a sequel to Frankfurt’s widely read On Bulls*** ), Oxford’s Simon Blackburn offers a neat summary of postmodern notions of truth. He questions the tendency to use postmodernism as a “whipping boy” against whom “many . . . . Continue Reading »

Isidore of Seville

For anyone with $150 of spare change, Cambridge University Press has just published what it’s calling the first-ever complete English translation of Isidore’s Etymologies , one of the most widely studied books in Christendom between 600 and 1600. . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

Thanks to Chris Morris for suggesting this line of thinking about 1 John 2:28-29. 1 John 2:28: Little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. As I’ve emphasized a couple of times this morning, Jesus comes to . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal meditation

1 John 3:1: See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. Throughout this passage, John speaks about two different genealogies, two different families, two different kinds of people. On the one hand are those who are children of the . . . . Continue Reading »