The ethics of reality and virtual reality: Latour, facts and values

Fraser, Mariam. 2006. The ethics of reality and virtual reality: Latour, facts and values. History of the Human Sciences, 19(2), pp. 45-72. ISSN 1461720X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In the context of the question of the extent to which science studies is able to mount an adequate critique of contemporary developments in science and technology, and in view of the proliferating interest in ethics across the social sciences, this article has two aims. Firstly to address some of the implications for ethics of Bruno Latour's, and to a lesser extent Alfred North Whitehead’s, conceptions of reality, both of which have a bearing on the long-standing dichotomy between facts and values. Drawing on Whitehead's work, it also, secondly, seeks to make a positive argument for ethics and to ask again, in the light of this discussion, where the ethical dimensions of Latour's work might be located. Towards the end of the article, I suggest that Latour's concept of exteriority obliges him to pursue a politics of reality which is the special providence of ‘moralists’, rather than a politics of virtual reality in which all entities, human and non-human, are engaged.

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Identification Number (DOI):


ethics, fact, Bruno Latour, reality, value, non-human, exteriority, virtual

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


1 May 2006Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:42

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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