How Better Register the Agency of Things: Semiotics

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Lecture Details

Yale Tanner Lecture 26th March 2014

It is under the notion of “agency” that I have regrouped some of the insights I gained from my work in science studies: hence the title: “How better to register the agency of things”. Tonight, Agency-One will deal more with semiotics, that is, with the trajectories of meaning. Tomorrow night, Agency-Two will deal with a more difficult aspect, namely with ontology, or rather “ontonomy” (not autonomy), that is, with the crossing of what is and what should be, with the drawing of the rules of what is. In both lectures, I will try to speak as if it was possible to devise a common language for those who thought themselves to be in two different and mostly opposite camps until they have been submitted to the same attacks by a third party bent on closing down all centers of learning. It is thus an exercise in diplomacy: can we ally together so as to resist a new enemy?