| Across the Great (and Small)
Divides - Stephan Fuchs/Douglas A. Marshall
(1) Hume taught us suspicion about causation.
Causation is observer-dependent and variable when seen as
a cultural construct and accomplishment, not as the natural order
of things in their true being. Saying that universality is a possible
result, not cause, of order is also observer-dependent. This observer
is sociology observing social structure. For those involved in such
a "universal" order, the arrow of causation reverses,
and their orders universality simply is. When we talk about
causes, we keep in mind that different observers assign causality
in different ways, and interrupt causal regresses at different points.
The more sciences are being done, the more observers perceive different
causalities. Sometimes, we use "covariation," instead
of "causation," to reaffirm this Humean caution about
(2) Ceteris paribus is important here, since there
are many more causes than can be accomodated by a linear argument.
Causes work together, at the same time, while a text can introduce
causes only one after another.
(3) We use "postism" here to combine
various skeptical and revisionist movements, including postpositivism,
poststructuralism, postmodernism, post-enlightenment, etc.
(4) We should add that Latours postism
does not make the move toward idealism, as some other textualist
approaches in science studies do.
(5)Actor-network philosophers love to invent
new words. To prove that we can do this, too, we shall sometimes
call them "persings," a hybrid of persons and things.
(6) In quotation marks because actor-network
actants dont really like or want theory.
(7) See note 4.
(8) The next question, then, is why they arent
part of a moral community. One possible answer is: because they
are bacteria!, but sociology cannot be satisfied by such referential
or realist explanations. For sociology, as indeed for any science
that replaces substances by elements, and essences by relations,
nothing is what it is because of its natural or intrinsic characteristics.
(9) Jennifer Lehmann from the University of Nebraska.