Watching a video with excerpts from the Chomsly-Foucault debate via Aeon.co. These shorts segments give a good quick look on the diverging view of Chomsky and Foucault and their views on power and human nature.
With the Vietnam War near its height, Chomsky and Foucault agree that contemporary power structures need to be attacked and dismantled. However, while Chomsky advocates for a system of ‘anarcho-syndicalism’ rooted in justice, sympathy and human creativity, Foucault argues that these concepts are products of the same bourgeois system that needs replacing. Probing age-old philosophical questions as well as the politics of the moment, the interview offers a revealing glimpse of the divergent styles, attitudes and outlooks of two enduringly influential thinkers.
Last week I had the pleasure to attend a colloquium from the University of Twente Department of Philosophy by Dr. Francesca Ferrando who is based at the NYU-Liberal Studies, University of New York, USA.
In her colloquium she gave a very good introduction to various strands of philosophical post-humanism and the difference to the transhumanism movement. All of these movements she explained start from the basic assumption that the human is an open frame, and not a closed option.
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Surprised to see an interview with Donna Haraway on The Guardian. In the interview she discusses the science wars and her current focus on climate activism. Read the full article here.
Fantastic lecture from Annemarie Mol “Where is my Body? Notes on Eating and Topology”. This lecture was organised by the Research Center of Social and Cultural Studies Mainz (SoCuM) as part of their yearly Georg Forster Lecture series. More excellent speakers have been invited of the years, and I’m curious to look at those lectures as well. A page with all the Georg Forster lectures can be found here. The following is the original abstract from the SoCuM website for the lecture:
In the course of the twentieth century, the notion “das Volk” gradually lost its appeal. Natural and social realities got disentangled. The sciences came to take bodies as a basic layer and social phenomena as situated on top of it. In recent practice-oriented studies this changes, as in practice there are no layers, but bodily and social elements act together. Other topological configurations shift accordingly. For in practice “my body” is not necessarily be-neath my skin; as I eat stuff from everywhere, it stretches out. But while “my body” is wide-spread, knowledge about it is situated. The fact that “my body” needs 2000 kcal a day, may be relevant in a setting of scarcity, but in contexts of abundance it is counterproductive. In single settings, at the same time, different kinds of facts may come to clash. Economics may take feeding grain to chicken to be efficient, but for nutrition science it is not at all. The topological complexity of bodily spaces thus laid out, gives reason to conclude that while in practice scientific knowledge is highly pertinent, it does not offer conclusive grounds.
Listening to a podcast from the BBC program In Our Time about Henri Bergon’s ideas on time. Some ideas I found noteworthy:
- The historical background of thinking about time during the 19th century. The appearance of timelines, focus on time, influence of trains, timezones.
- The measurements of time and links with looking at it as space. And that then the lived experience falls out of the equation.
- Coexistence of past and presence.
Mooie inaugerele rede van Prof. Annemarie Mol over “Wat is Kiezen?” waarin ze in een empirisch filosofische manier niet vraagt naar “wat kiezen in wezen is, maar wat het is in enkele van zijn talrijke, gevarieerde verschijningsvormen”. Haar nadruk ligt ook dat technische artefacten nieuwe keuzemogelijkheden schept en verborgen keuzes kunnen bevatten:
Als iemand zich bijvoorbeeld in een situatie bevindt waarin ze individueel moet kiezen voor of tegen deze of gene medische ingreep, dan is het ook goed dat zij zo nauwkeurig mogelijk geïnformeerd wordt. Dat is geen kwestie van persoonlijke smaak en het is evenmin een universele waarde. Deze moraliteit is in de betreffende situatie ingebakken. Hij zit eraan vast, net zoals er aan kiezen een autonoom subject vastzit, en een rekensysteem, en een gestold object van keuze.
Fantastic podcast from France Culture’s “Les chemins de la philosophie”. Professor Patrick Wotling discusses on the podcast the philosophy of Nietzche and how forgetting can be a condition for the well functioning of social life:
Nietzsche nous apprend que l’oubli est positif, s’éduque, peut se contrôler et surtout qu’il est la condition qui rend possible énormément de choses, comme la vie sociale : le second traité de la “Généalogie de la morale” est fondé sur cette affaire de la tendance à l’oubli qui est une régulation fondamentale du vivant et la manière dont cette tendance à l’oubli peut être régulée, éduquée, contrecarrée, canalisée, représente pour Nietzsche le fondement même de la possibilité d’une vie communautaire. L’oubli est vraiment un processus positif si on le comprend bien.
Listen to the full podcast here.
This is enlightening talk from 1976 with philosophers Isaiah Berlin and Bryan Magee on fundamental questions such as “What is philosophy?”, “Why does it matter?”, and “Why should anybody be interested in it today?”.
Happy to learn more about Belgian philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers. Learn more about her here in an introduction by Bruno Latour.
Isabelle Stengers has chosen to look for a touchstone distinguishing good science from bad not in epistemology but in ontology, not in the word but in the world.
If scientists are surprised by the ways she demarcates good from bad science, the many people who, from the ranks of feminism, ecology, leftism, think she is their allies should brace themselves for some hard lessons, more exactly, from the lessons she keeps drawing from hard sciences. Going from science to politics is not, for her, going from stringent constraints to more relaxed ones, but keeping exactly the same objectives with a total indifference to what is science and what is society. Domination in politics has many of the same ingredients it has in the laboratory, that is, the unability to let the people one deals with any chance to redefine the situation in their own terms. If this principle subverts so many disciplines from the inside, it subverts even more political stands from the outside, and especially so many of the “standpoint politics” where the outcome of the analysis is entirely determined from the start by the position of the speaker.