Bruno Latour, “huge intellectual” and figure of ecological thought, is dead

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The famous philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, considered one of the greatest contemporary French intellectuals, died in the night from Saturday to Sunday at the age of 75.

For the international press, he was “the most famous and the most misunderstood of French philosophers”: a major figure in the world of ideas and ecological thought, Bruno Latour died in the night from Saturday to Sunday, announced his publisher, Les Editions La Découverte, Sunday, October 9.

This intellectual read and acclaimed abroad, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, died in Paris at the age of 75, his publisher, Les Éditions La Découverte, announced on Sunday.

As soon as his death was announced, reactions poured in.

Head of State Emmanuel Macron praised in a tweet “a humanist and plural spirit, recognized throughout the world before being recognized in France”. The Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, retained the work of the philosopher, which “will continue to raise awareness”.


“France, the world and ecology are losing an immense intellectual. We are losing a companion of extraordinary humanity, a man who, with each exchange, with each reading, made us more intelligent, more alive!”, a writing on the same social network the former environmentalist presidential candidate Yannick Jadot.

“He was a firm man on his opinions but open to the other and I was able to appreciate him in a dialogue that we had”, still praised the former Minister of Ecology Corinne Lepage. “Immense respect and thank you, dear Bruno Latour, you have brought so much to ecology,” added MP Sandrine Rousseau.

The Pompidou Center was praised to him as “one of the most influential French philosophers in the world”.

An unclassifiable intellectual

Born June 22, 1947 in Beaune (Côte d’Or) into a family of Burgundy wine merchants, Bruno Latour, who passed an aggregation in philosophy and then trained in anthropology in Côte d’Ivoire, was one of the first intellectuals to perceive the importance of ecological thought.

However, it is first in the Anglo-Saxon world that Bruno Latour is recognized. He was “the most famous and misunderstood of French philosophers”, according to the New York Times, in an article published in 2018.

Recipient of the Holberg Prize (2013) and the Kyoto Prize (2021) for all of his work, Bruno Latour was an unclassifiable intellectual, concerned with field research.

This pillar of Sciences-Po, author of several essays published in English before being published in France, has long been interested in questions of management and organization of research and, more generally, in the way in which society produces values ​​and truths.

He is the author (alone or in collaboration) of works that are not limited to the pure thought of the climate crisis. Among them: “The making of law. An ethnography of the Council of State”, “Life in the laboratory”, “We have never been modern”, “Les Microbes. Guerre et paix” (on Louis Pasteur). He was also the initiator of institutional projects aimed at decompartmentalising science, via the Medialab foundation at Science Po.

In 2021, during the publication of his book “Where am I? – Lessons of confinement for the use of land” (La Découverte), his latest book, he told AFP that the crises of climate change and the pandemic has brutally revealed a struggle between “geo-social classes”. “Capitalism has dug its own grave. Now it’s time to make amends.”

Author of two plays, Bruno Latour has also taught abroad, notably in Germany and the United States, where he was a guest professor at Harvard.

With AFP




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