Philosophy Without Nature — 5 Sept 2014

Continental Philosophy of Science 

Thomas Kuhn – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – 1960’s 

  • Vienna circle – installation of logical positivism 
  • Asked to teach a history of physics survey course — gestalt switch: “What were ducks before the revolution are rabbits afterwards”
  • Metzger (only woman), Emile Meyerson, Analisa Meyer 
  • Fellowship for study of anti-positivism 
  • Top-down epistemology

Philosophica Oevres – Serres’ Book Series

  • Metzger – librarian – History of Science Unit
    • Chronological empiricism 
    • Vienna Circle – French historicist – 
    • “Exuberance and juvenile agression” – International Philosophy of Science Conference 
    • “Systematic ignorance of the … philosophy of science”
    • Uncle Levy
    • Primitive mentality
      • … call[ed] expansive thinking that which rushes noisily and simultaneously in all directions where it can cut a path, which will constantly and irregularly go ahead without taking a moment to contemplate with a glance the terrain covered, and without attempting to build a doctrinal monument! (Metzger, 1987[1936]: 47; original emphasis)
  • Balibar’s critical potential 
    • Positive knowledge 
    • “Neither stories of approximations – like single point of view – nor stories of anything goes but rather stories of ambiguity… neither totalizing nor relativistically historicist” 
    • Similarities between Hansen and OOO? Comment of Balibar on Hansen’s keynote
    • Thinking of a soft mild doux process
    • normative and descriptive
  • Metzer
    • (method 1) Chronological empiricism
      • Donna Haraway – ‘science implies … hostile to relativism’
      • Situated Knowledge (1988)
      • Haraway has switched language / oevre — co-respondence (When Species Meet) 
      • Um-distingheit (?)
      • Co-respondence — not the school of ‘communion’
      • Balibar — reductionist effect of correspondence (fusion communion) on co-respondence (virtual and actual in Bergson)
      • Bergson: “…a the very root of our knowledge of things”
      • Response, “grows with the capacity to respond – that is responsibility” (Haraway) 
        • Human beings are not uniquely obligated to responsibility – response-able
        • “Richer and more responsible worlding can go on”
    • (method 2) Creative a priori (the a priori of expansive thought)
      • Free association – song, two movies, and a quote
Questions
  • The requirement of the univocal — a self-understanding of science and a conception of natural law
    • Nancy Cartright — How Objects Lie 
    • Laws of Nature: What does it mean (not that nature gives laws?)
    • How did physical-thought get restricted to non-living things
      • Newton: Principles of Nature Philosophy has one mention of a living ‘person’ – a horse. The horse is walking along along a path, that needs to pull a carriage – the opposition of forces of action and reaction (Starobansky on action and reaction)
      • The horse in the middle of the explication of the natural law – what is implied there?
      • The status of animals in 17th century England
      • Why was Leibnitz — 
  • Complexity – “all my life I have tried to complicate things, which may be why Europe is in crisis”
    • American textbook on physics were always 
  • Softness entails what? 
    • Interactions are informational and soft — inferences, codes, images, copossibilities, filters
    • Matter and discourse are positioned in relation to one another — we start to think in terms of flows and energies
    • Positioning the hard sciences as only one sort of thinking
    • Doux — in french — a special meaning (La Peaux Doux, Troufault) — something smooth… its the contrary of histeria 

New Materialism — Iris van der Tuin (Chair)

Pamela Mackenzie (Concordia) — ‘The Fourth Kingdom: Ascension of the Plastisphere’

  • Plastic Bag – Ramin Bahrani — Werner Herzog
  • “I wish you had created me so that I could die”
  • Objects toward their most human aspects 
  • On plastic… 
    • Industrial revolution — creative output of our society constituted by industrial design and advertising
    • Early plastic makers were positioned as ‘early alchemists’
    • Plastic as the ‘bottom of the barrel’ or ‘the barrel’
    • Du Pont cellophane add with babies
    • Plastic is uncontroversally negative (but only for the past 30 years)
  • Portia Munson, “Garden”, 2000
  • Microorganism living on plastic — a plastosphere (adaptable ecology based on plastic)
  • Amanda Boidsist — forming a new moment of the sublime
  • Maurizo Montalti, “The Future of Plastics” — 
  • Plastic in Beehives — a deliberate integration of plastics into the ‘natural record’ 
  • Plastic bag suicide — plastic was killing people (‘guns don’t kill people, people don’t kill people’)
  • When something is dead, it can finally be used
  • Raymond Williams — ‘nature’
  • Geological entry of plastic into the record

Katharina D. Martin (Munster)— ‘The Digital Milieus and Their Material Entanglement’ –

  • Immaterial digital cloud <—> data warehouses 
  • The digital has never been immaterial (what the fuck has?) 
  • Detecting a continuum between the physical and the signals, codes
  • Milieu as a methodological construction
    • Newton – fluid / 
    • Middle / between / heart
    • Place / lieu
    • Active substance 
    • Simondon / Deleuze – technical objects – reality
  • Micropolitics of algorithms – independent interaction between computers
  • German ID photo template – the image specifications of passport photo – set by the “pan optical cell” 
  • Deleuze – panopticon – Foucault – space/time
    • “must not be understood of a dream building, it is a diagram of a mechanism of power…”
  • Verilio – the vision machine 
  • CV Dazzle / Dazzle — the mathematic undetectability of the face
  • Norman Wilkenson – stripped patterns deceive the enemy’s gaze – stripped patterns deceived computational gaze
    • Camouflage not as ‘hiding’ but reconstituting seeing, or frustrating perception (The purpose of art is to frustrate perception — Christophe Menke)
    • Camouflage as a from of ‘encryption’ in the world — 
  • Frustrating ways of seeing 
  • Kittler — the pixel is more text than image 
  • “transcoding or trasnduciton in which one milieu serves as the basis for another”
  • Tarde — oppositions and inventions — escape from micropolitics
  • The membrane between the analog and the digital is in the optical dimension
  • Algorithm as “complete”
  • The Black Cloud — science fiction novel

Paul Rekret — ‘Material Entanglements an the Question of Seperation” 

  • Post-fordist capitalism 
  • Social constructivism
  • How can a mind access something
  • The conditions and limits of knowledge — appeal to materiality and agency of materials as a political act (Jane Bennett) 
  • Serres — narcissism 
  • Strategic anthropomorphism — to feel what one cannot think — ‘web of interaction capacity’
  • The conditions of thought amount to anthropocentric narcism
  • Karen Barad — Bohr — the measurement of phenomena is an intra-action / agential-cut. Always between, never within. 
  • Epistemic limits of knowledge… Raymond Williams — Ideas of Nature 
  • Alfred Schmidt — nature rises with the rise of capitalism — medium of the wage creates nature as the object of conscious intervention
  • “Personal unity of head and hand”
  • Epistemic / Ontology is a separation that arises from the manual / mental labour division (Kantian division) 
  • Nancy Harstock — feminist problematic … reproduction as a manual-mental labour which divides epistemology/ontology — “control of the womb” (women as reproducers of the work force)
  • Federecci history of accumulation
  • Live-science industries: separation and abstraction
    • technical separation of biological processes — computer science / modelling — intervention in biological organisms as a ‘technology’
    • seperation and abstraction from sources — sustainable growth — institutional context of property rights and research (life science sector — neoliberalisation of life itself) … Moore court case – spleen cells – patented cells
  • Barad – the objectification of pregnant women – cyberfeminist (Sauerbut)
  • Expanding material agency can wind up supporting capitalism
  • Ethics committees – and ‘the bioethics’ industry
  • This is a communist position — against any system that separates ‘mental’ and ‘manual’ labour

Petra Klusmeyer (Utrecht / SAIC) — ‘Sound and Time’

  • Sound Studies in Bremen
  • Sonic Peripheries events
  • Deleuze Transcendental Materialism
  • Academy Records — Stephen Lacy
  • “Boisterous presencing”
  • Whitehead: “… we find ourselves in a buzzing world”
  • Anechoic chamber — Cage — “until I die there will be sounds… one need not fear about the future of music.” (Serres – Noise) 
  • “No one or no thing can live without noise” (Serres) 
  • Sound is neither inner nor outer 
  • In listening we enter the impinging resonance — sound enacts a periphery soundspace — middling within the event’s becoming 
  • “Always already between sound suspend in as vibrational relation effectuating”
  • Whitehead — Thus equally rocks, electrons, trees… are full of intentions (Marder, Massumi) 
  • Aesthetics — of practice… 
  • What can vibrations do?
  • Noise is always subject to the process that renders it non-existent (individuation)
The Other Side of Matter 
 
Felicity Colman – ‘Natural’s not in it: Materialist Informatics’
  • Serres and a philosophy of communication
  • “I call matter the aggregate of images … the evental action of one particular image – my body”
  • To perceive technically means to have established the channels of measurement first
  • To think about a measurement of change in things due to the catalysing forces of technology
  • Malabou – consciousness influx
  • Subject partakes of chemical political and instructed desires
  • Informatics — materialist account of information … 
  • Serres: “Exchange as the law of the theoretical universe, the intersection and overlapping of domains… Things in themselves are immersed… inter-information… renews theory.”  (the conference format)
  • 2nd law of thermodynamics — entropy is a physical law for a heat system
  • Biology feeds on a negentropy — inter-information (coding movements) and exchanges of information (exchange of energy) 
  • Ashley Woodward — where you have vitalist systems / biological models — material exchange 
  • Guatarri — rejecting a Lacanian structure of entropy — rhizomatic flows 
  • Materialist informatic: a limited economy of images on the effects of images on the human bodies 
  • The body as an informatics body — cognitive machines that feed us images the conscious cognate 
  • Co-constitutive nature of image communication — it’s unindividuated
  • “The technological filters that are at work…”
  • Materialisation — what is at stake? 
    • Immateriality is really about transcendent systems — historical materialist school (Barad)
Erin K. Stapleton – ‘The Activity of Dark Matter’
  • Battaile + materialism
  • Activity in and of matter — the volatility of dark matter — data + networked technologies
  • 1930’s consideration of planetary existence — astrophysical research / astronomy — The Rotation of the Earth (Arthur Edington) 
  • Swelling suns — separation of the cartesian 
  • Battaile’s materialism — resists systematisation — anti-monism 
  • Human thought, as it returns… “requires constant disruption”
  • Newtonian physics is a “deadening idealism”
  • Frost – New materialism … “are all predicated on the assumption that matter is inert stable…” 
  • The Matter Myth — popular science return of mysticism / philosophy is no longer of use because it hasn’t taken into account the activity within matter… Christian right American… 
  • Frost – energetic and dynamic theory of material itself
  • Terry Gilliam — The Zero Theorum
  • Bataille’s materialism — activity and volatility
  • Base-material — redeployed to think about dark matter and dark energy (affirming dynamic volatility)
Joanna Hodge – ‘Of the Event: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference, Historical Difference’
  • Luce Iriguay — 1984 
  • Geschlecht — Derrida
  • The past — history is rendered as a reiteration of the same — Heideggarian rubric of historicity
  • The future — 
  • The human secured by “anthropomorphism called god”
  • Ontological difference must always already be a sexual difference properly understood
  • 1983 — geschlecht — polysemic status — Derrida — reading moves to the question of the impact
  • Sexuality difference deconstructed — questioning the bipolar
  • Ontological difference 
  • History becomes modal — the dawning of the age of the anthropocene — another word for an epoch
  • Molecularised reproductive models… originary technicity — a thousand tiny little sexes
  • Nancy: “birth of presence”
  • Historical difference — a mode of orientation to thinking innovation — setting up some kind of distance from philosophy classically conceived 
  • genealogy — cartography — linking of thinkers 
    • shakespeare begat marks begat hegel 
    • genitarity
    • Rudolf Gacher — The Loss of Literature 
    • inheriting versus generating
    • Theatre of Cruelty — Artaud
    • Universality in Serres
  • The transition from Derrida to Serres shows a preoccupation about how to inherit (Derrida is inheriting differently) 
  • Why matter matters — a material discoursivity 
  • Historical difference — the end of man and the end of history / the end of the book and the beginning of a writing
    • feminist read this as the opening of subject positions to women
    • but then the subject disappeared
  • History is the term — providential, religious — never surrender the term
  • Expanding the perceptual spectrum (radiometrics — seeing astronometric radiation)
    • Is this decentering the human subject — 
  • Claire Colebrook — the endif
  • We’re always achrononistic with ourselves… 
  • Geology in Deleuze and Guittari — great imagery of geology
  • This physical materiality — the electromagnetic spectrum as a technical image — not a territory (or it shouldn’t be a territory) 
  • This is dangerous… why? Snowden as the ‘new god’
  • Material informatics — Guatarri

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