100 research outputs found

    Obligation to Judge or Judging Obligations: The Integration of Philosophy and Science in Francophone Philosophy of Science

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    The aim of this chapter is to show how Francophone PS, or what is called French (historical) epistemology, embodies this interconnectedness. Moreover, a novel approach to what constitutes French epistemology will be developed here, going beyond a purely historical survey or a reevaluation of a range of concepts found in this tradition.7 The aim is instead to highlight two methodological principles at work in French epistemology that are often in tension with one another, but are not recognized as such in the literature

    The Parliament of Things and the Anthropocene: How to Listen to ‘Quasi-Objects’

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    Among the contemporary philosophers using the concept of the Anthropocene, Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers are prominent examples. The way they use this concept, however, diverts from the most common understanding of the Anthropocene. In fact, their use of this notion is a continuation of their earlier work around the concept of a ‘parliament of things.’ Although mainly seen as a sociology or philosophy of science, their work can be read as philosophy of technology as well. Similar to Latour’s claim that science is Janus-headed, technology has two faces. Faced with the Anthropocene, we need to shift from technologies of control to technologies of negotiations, i.e., a parliament of things. What, however, does a ‘parliament of things’ mean? This paper wants to clarify what is conceptually at stake by framing Latour’s work within the philosophy of Michel Serres and Isabelle Stengers. Their philosophy implies a ‘postlinguistic turn,’ where one can ‘let things speak in their own name,’ without claiming knowledge of the thing in itself. The distinction between object and subject is abolished to go back to the world of ‘quasi-objects’ (Serres). Based on the philosophy of science of Latour and Stengers the possibility for a politics of quasi-objects or a ‘cosmopolitics’ (Stengers) is opened. It is in this framework that their use of the notion of the Anthropocene must be understood and a different view of technology can be conceptualized

    Surrationalism after Bachelard: Michel Serres and le nouveau nouvel esprit scientifique

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    The work of Michel Serres is often presented as a radical break with the work of Gaston Bachelard. The aim of this paper is to partly correct this image, by focusing on Serres’s early Hermes series (1969-1980). In these books Serres portrays himself as a follower of Bachelard, exemplarily shown in his neologism of the ‘new new scientific spirit’ (le nouveau nouvel esprit scientifique), updating Bachelard in the light of more recent scientific developments. This allows a reinterpretation of the relation between both authors, one where there is room to acknowledge how the roots of Serres’s philosophy lie not in a radical break with Bachelard, but can be partly understood as a Bachelardian criticism of Bachelard himself. This Bachelardian criticism consists in what could be called his ‘surrationalism’: the sciences do not follow the categories imposed by philosophers, but are always more flexible and open than these categories allow. Specific critiques of Serres, such as those concerning the novelty of Bachelard’s thought, the role of epistemology and finally the political dimension of science will be evaluated through a reappraisal of this Bachelardian move that underlies Serres’s criticism

    Beyond Ideology Althusser, Foucault and French Epistemology

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    The philosophy of Louis Althusser is often contrasted with the ideas of Michel Foucault. At first sight, the disagreement seems to be about the concept of ideology: while Althusser seem to be huge advocate of the use of the concept, Foucault apparently dislikes and avoids the concept altogether. However, I argue in this article that this reading is only superficial and that it obscures the real debate between these two authors. Althusser, especially in his recently posthumously published Sur la reproduction (1995), appears to agree on many points with Foucault. The real dispute lies not in the concept of ideology, but in its connection with its counterpart ‘science’. Both Althusser and Foucault were in a way epistemologists, focusing on the question on how sciences develop and how scientific practice works. Focussing on their shared background in the French epistemology, with authors such as Gaston Bachelard and Jean Cavaillùs, the real discussion appears to be about whether science can really be opposed to ideology or not. Focusing on these aspects of their works can shed new lights on their oeuvre as well as on the nature of scientific practice

    Gaston Bachelard and Contemporary Philosophy

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    This special issue aims to redress the balance and to open up Gaston Bachelard's work beyond a small in-crowd of experts and aficionado’s in France. It aims to stimulate the discovery of new and understudied aspects of Bachelard’s work, including aspects of the intellectual milieu he was working in. Fortunately, for this purpose we were able to rely both on renowned Bachelard specialists, such as Hans-Jörg Rheinberg-er, Cristina Chimisso and Dominique Lecourt, as well as on a number of younger scholars who are discovering their work in a different intellectual context. At the same time we also want to reassess the value of this oeuvre, which also entails examining the reasons and causes of the relative neglect of Bachelard’s work in recent times. Has it exhausted its possibilities? Does it have intrinsic limitations that have contributed to the eclipse, as some influential, mainly French, philoso-phers have more or less explicitly suggested

    Franco 'Bifo' Berardi en de economische wetenschap als ideologie

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    Wij presenteren Berardi’s herwerking van de ideologiekritiek in drie stappen. Eerst schetsen wij de context waarin Berardi de ideologiekritiek herdenkt. Hij bouwt verder op de ontdekking van Deleuze en Guattari dat de taal van het kapitalisme niet de code, maar de axiomatiek is. De economische wetenschap biedt, volgens hen, mensen geen identiteit aan, maar bestaat uit een reeks commando’s die stromen van geld, arbeid, elektriciteit, enzovoort reguleert. Daaraan koppelt Berardi de observatie dat het hedendaagse kapitalisme vooral tekens verhandelt in plaats van producten waarnaar zulke tekens zouden verwijzen. In een tweede stap brengen wij tegen deze opvatting in dat Berardi nog steeds vasthoudt aan de representatieve waarde van de economische wetenschap. Deze laatste zou enkel een afbeelding bieden van de realiteit en die vervalsen in het voordeel van het status quo. Sociologen uit de traditie van de actor-netwerktheorie (ANT) hebben dat echter betwist. Zij beweren dat de economische wetenschap de economische realiteit niet zozeer afbeeldt, maar actief vormgeeft. De economische wetenschap heeft de mens geschapen naar zijn evenbeeld: als homo oeconomicus. Het is dan ook een vergissing om de economische wetenschap te bekritiseren voor haar valse representaties. Zij maakt die immers waar. In een derde en laatste stap leggen wij in Berardi’s teksten een nieuw criterium bloot voor ideologiekritiek. In plaats van de economische wetenschap te bekritiseren voor haar valse uitspraken over de realiteit, moeten wij nagaan of de economische wetenschap een manier van leven promoot die mensen in staat zijn te onderhouden. De economische wetenschap is dan ideologisch als en slechts als zij een onhoudbare vorm van leven propageert. Volgens Berardi kan de hedendaagse economische wetenschap hiervan terecht beschuldigd worden. In zijn psychopathologie van het kapitalisme wijst hij immers op de negatieve psychische gevolgen van het hedendaagse kapitalisme, namelijk de instandhouding van een cyclus tussen paniek en depressie, een verlies aan betekenisvol menselijk contact en een neiging tot neurotisch vasthouden aan oude economische recepten die hun failliet reeds meermaals bewezen hebben. Niet de waarheid zal ons verlossen, maar in de verlossing ligt het ware leven

    Playing God: Symbolic Arguments Against Technology

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    In ethical reflections on new technologies, a specific type of argument often pops up, which criticizes scientists for “playing God” with these new technological possibilities. The first part of this article is an examination of how these arguments have been interpreted in the literature. Subsequently, this article aims to reinterpret these arguments as symbolic arguments: they are grounded not so much in a set of ontological or empirical claims, but concern symbolic classificatory schemes that ground our value judgments in the first place. Invoking symbolic arguments thus refers to how certain new technologies risk undermining our fundamental symbolic distinctions by which we organize and evaluate our interactions with the world and in society. Such symbolic distinctions, moreover, tend to be resilient against logical argumentation, mainly because they themselves form the basis on which we argue in the cultural and ethical sphere in the first place. Therefore, effective strategies to evaluate and counter these arguments require another approach, showing that these technologies either do not challenge these classifications or, if they do, how they can be accompanied by the proper actions to integrate these technologies into our society

    History as Engagement: The Historical Epistemology of Raymond Aron

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    Raymond Aron was a student of LĂ©on Brunschvicg, a representative of French historical epistemology. This article explores Aron’s relation to this tradition through three claims. First of all, it contests that Raymond Aron’s philosophy of history constituted a complete break with this tradition. Secondly, resituating Aron in this tradition is valuable, because it highlights how Aron’s own philosophy of history is to be understood as a normative project, seen as an alternative to that of Brunschvicg. Finally, Aron’s philosophy can still hold valuable lessons for present-day historical epistemology and history and philosophy of science in general

    Een genealogie van het wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar complottheorieën

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    This article takes the scientific study of conspiracy theories itself as an object of inquiry. It looks at the three main frameworks to look at conspiracy theories: a psychological, epistemological and a sociological approach. These different approaches exist somewhat separately and often do not get along. The central claim that follows from a genealogy of these research programs is that the conflicts between these different approaches should be understood not merely as disagreements about how the world works, but as a fundamental disagreement about the underlying diagnosis of what is at stake in conspiracy theories. In other words, the conflicts stem in part from political differences, not merely empirical ones. The purpose of this article is to bring these different diagnoses back into dialogue with each other and to point out that despite their differences, they also have something in common: a concern about the state of contemporary democratic institutions. Depending on which project one subscribes to, conspiracy thinking will appear either as the cause or the solution of these democratic concerns