Archive for November, 2012

Jesse Prinz-Beyond Reference: How Minds Make Categories

29 November 2012

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PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION BY CATHERINE PORTER OF AN INQUIRY INTO MODES OF EXISTENCE

20 November 2012

http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/downloads/AIME-intro-chapter1.pdf

Gilbert Simondon’s transindividual

17 November 2012

Speaking of Henning Schmidgen, I encountered his name once again this week: this time on the back cover of an interesting new book (new in English, that is), Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual by Muriel Combes (translated by Thomas LaMarre). There is also a substantial afterword by LaMarre entitled “Humans and Machines.”

Here is what Schmidgen says about the book:

This book is highly recommended to all of those wishing to better understand the radical importance of Simondon in current debates about networked affectivity, nonhuman agency, and the politics of nature. (…) Combes constructs an innovative form of multiplied materialism.”

Other endorsers include Eric Alliez:

Published in 1999, Muriel Combes’s succinct book remains to this day the best introduction to Simondon’s opus. But it does better: it introduces through Simondon the most contemporary stakes of an ontology of relation turned toward a politics of individuation.

…and Robert Mitchell:

With remarkable concision, Combes covers the entirety of Simondon’s work, from his breathtaking theory of individuation to his philosophy of technology and technical objects, while LaMarre’s afterword helpfully links Combes’s account of Simondon to the work of authors such as Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Bruno Latour, and Isabelle Stengers.

…and Didier Debaise:

Gilbert Simondon was one of the most ambitious and inventive thinkers of twentieth-century philosophy but has for too long been unjustly neglected. Muriel Combes’s insightful book unquestionably ends this phase.

Latour video on The Modes of Existence project

16 November 2012

“The Modes of Existence project: an exercise in collective inquiry and digital humanities” – by Bruno Latour, 6 November 2012.

Understanding Society Lecture Series, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge

16 November 2012

//New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies// by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin now available in paperback on Amazon.

Object-Oriented Philosophy

HERE.

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CfP: Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication

14 November 2012

Conditions of Mediation: Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication

2013 International Communication Association (ICA) Preconference
ICA Theory, Philosophy and Critique Division
17 June 2013, Birkbeck, University of London

Paper proposals are invited from a very wide range of perspectives, including but not limited to media history, media archaeology, audience studies, political theory, metaphysics, software studies, science and technology studies, digital aesthetics, cultural geography and urban studies. Though all proposals should relate in some way to phenomenological thinking, this should be interpreted broadly, ranging from core thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre to those with looser affiliations to phenomenology per se, for example Arendt, Bergson, Bourdieu, Deleuze, Garfinkel, Ingold, Latour, Whitehead and Harman.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Dr David Berry, Swansea University
  • Professor Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Professor Graham Harman, American University of Cairo
  • Professor Lisa Parks, UC Santa Barbara
  • Professor Paddy Scannell, University of Michigan

Please send an abstract (max 200 words) of your paper to both Scott Rodgers (s.rodgers@bbk.ac.uk) and Tim Markham (t.markham@bbk.ac.uk) by 20 November 2012. Authors will be informed regarding acceptance / rejection for the preconference no later than 20 December 2012.

Henning Schmidgen on the early Latour

14 November 2012

This is one of the most informative articles I’ve read on the early influences on Latour’s work. The role of biblical exegesis is particularly interesting. And even the question of the Heidegger-Latour connection gets a little mention, which was the original impetus behind the reading group that launched this blog. Apparently the link is Latour’s philosophy teacher,  André Malet, who was into Bultmann, Heidegger’s one-time colleague, debating partner and friend.

Schmidgen, H. (2012). “The Materiality of Things? Bruno Latour, Charles Péguy, and the History of Science.” History of the Human Sciences.

This article sheds new light on Bruno Latour’s sociology of science and technology by looking at his early study of the French writer, philosopher and editor Charles Péguy (1873–1914).

In the early 1970s, Latour engaged in a comparative study of Péguy’s Clio and the four gospels of the New Testament. His 1973 contribution to a Péguy colloquium (published in 1977) offers rich insights into his interest in questions of time, history, tradition and translation. Inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of difference, Latour reads Clio as spelling out and illustrating the following argument: ‘Repetition is a machine to produce differences with identity’.

However, in contrast to Deleuze’s work (together with Félix Guattari) on the materiality of machines, or assemblages [agencements], Latour emphasizes the semiotic aspects of the repetition/difference process. As in Péguy, the main model for this process is the Roman Catholic tradition of religious events.

The article argues that it is this reading of Péguy and Latour’s early interest in biblical exegesis that inspired much of Latour’s later work. In Laboratory Life (Latour and Woolgar, 1979) and The Pasteurization of France (1988) in particular, problems of exegesis and tradition provide important stimuli for the analysis of scientific texts.

In this context, Latour gradually transforms the question of tradition into the problem of reference. In a first step, he shifts the event that is transmitted and translated from the temporal dimension (i.e. the past) to the spatial (i.e. from one part of the laboratory to another). It is only in a second step that Latour resituates scientific events in time.

As facts they are ‘constructed’ but nevertheless ‘irreducible’. They result, according to Latour, from the tradition of the future. As a consequence, the Latourian approach to science distances itself from the materialism of Deleuze and other innovative theoreticians.

Review of Sloterdijk’s “You Must Change Your Life”

10 November 2012

I feel a bit uneasy linking to the New Humanist, produced by the Rationalist Association, as their iconoclastic zeal doesn’t appeal to me, however I found this review of Peter Sloterdijk’s You Must Change Your Life by Jonathan Rée interesting.

Material Participation

10 November 2012

Check out Noortje Marres’s new book, Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics from Palgrave. A recording of the book launch (involving Javier Lezaun (Oxford), Celia Lury (Warwick), Alex Wilkie (Goldsmiths) and moderated by Monika Krause (Goldsmiths)) can be listened to here.

What is the role of things in political participation? This innovative book develops a fresh perspective on everyday forms of engagement, one that foregrounds the role of objects, technology and settings in public involvement. It makes a distinctive contribution to debates about the role of things in democracy, but it also offers empirical analyses of contemporary devices of participation, such as smart meters, demonstrational eco-homes and sustainable living gadgets.

New blog on anthropology of science and technology

10 November 2012

A new blog to bookmark on the anthropology of science and technology from the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing (CASTAC) at the American Anthropological Association. Kicked off with an inaugural post by the editor, Patricia G. Lange, and a post by Lucy Suchman on the military-industrial-media-entertainment network.