Just found out about this ‘New Ontologies’ event that took place last year at the University of Exeter. Although the list of participants is intruiging in itself, Andrew Pickering’s talk – in which he focuses on what he calls ‘ontological variations’ – is especially noteworthy. Pickering is undoubtedly one of the most daring science and technology scholars in terms of the metaphysical project he has set out for himself; emphasizing such notions as performativity and emergence and combining these with an account of the agency of things in science, Pickering’s is valuable for any future attempt to bring together STS and more object-oriented perspectives. I’m not sure about the idea of ‘ontological variations’, though; I do not see how several kinds of ontology could exist at the same time, that is to say, how these variations differ from an ontology that argues for the differential character of the ‘things that exist’.
The audio file of Pickering’s talk can be found here (listen+download)