Bruno Latour is a philosopher, sociologist, anthropologist and professor emeritus of Sciences Po University in Paris. His works have been translated into some thirty languages, making him the most widely read contemporary French-speaking author in the world.
His work on the climate crisis has made him a world figure on the ecological issue, he is “the thinker who inspires the planet,” as the cover of the weekly L’Obs styled him last year. He lives near the Odéon, in the heart of the Latin Quarter. He answered the questions I put to him during our conversation with the well-founded hope that comes from attending to important issues, based on almost 50 years of research, teaching, writing and commitment. It was a shared look at the sunset of life.
On many occasions you have praised in articles or conferences the prophetic character of Laudato Si’ (LS). How has this text of Pope Francis assumed importance in your research?
I was immediately very impressed by the text of Laudato Si’. The encyclical was issued the same year as the release of my book Face à Gaïa, too late for me to take it into account. For my part, I was trying to grasp what I call “a cosmological mutation,” which is also a mutation in the relationships between materiality, spirituality, and politics, everything that calls into question the change in the notions of “world” and “nature” for the benefit of the Earth. I was amazed while reading Laudato Si’ to see how the prophetic and eschatological dimension of the new situation was beautifully and completely expressed in Pope Francis’ text. It contains historical statements not far divergent from the COP21 of the time.