Françoise Balibar argues, against a common and naïve view, implicit in Mach’s aphorism « Die Natur ist nur einmal da », that posing univocity (nur, einmal, da) as a requisite for natural laws completely misses the point of objectivity. Equivocity (or ambiguity), and its sister notion, equivalence are central in characterizing our knowledge of the world : not of things in themselves but of their relations; some of those relations that are invariant under change of “situation” (in Haraway’s parlance) qualify as “objective”. In that respect, science implies, as Haraway requires “a preferred positioning, as hostile to relativism as to totalizing versions of scientific authority”. The (pressing) question, on which Balibar elaborates, now is: how to deal with subjectivity?
This lecture was given at the Philosophy After Nature conference, which gathered scholars engaging with notions of critique, science, ecology, technology and subjectivity as bound up with conceptions of nature, while experimenting with various positions in contemporary thought.