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Havinga, J.B.

Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Making do with(out) facts

Science and Politics in the so-called Post-Truth Era

The notion of post-truth politics, although by now an annoying buzzword, urges us once more to evaluate the relationship between science and politics. The last half century of Science and Technology Studies have convincingly shown that the relationship between these two activities is rather more complicated than the Weber-inspired ideals of facts-free politics and value-free science suggests. The deconstruction of scientific facts that STS undertook reveals scientific practices that combine elements that are scientific as well as political in nature. It is for this reason that STS has often been charged with undermining the authority of science. Their deconstructions, it is said, supplied anti-intellectuals, conspiracy theorists and now American presidents with all the weapons of social critique that they ever wished for.

In this thesis I explore this charge against STS. Should we abandon STS and try to neutralize whatever damage its deconstructions allowed for? I claim that Actor-Network Theory, as developed by Bruno Latour, manages to salvage the most important elements of STS while also being able to answer the critique. These points are explored in the form of four dialogues, in an attempt to depict a diplomatic endeavour as envisioned by Latour.

Last modified:05 July 2018 10.58 a.m.