This paper is concerned with the modeling of neural systems regarded as information processing entities. I investigate the various dynamic regimes that are accessible in neural networks considered as nonlinear adaptive dynamic systems. The possibilities of obtaining steady, oscillatory or chaotic regimes are illustrated with different neural network models. Some aspects of the dependence of the dynamic regimes upon the synaptic couplings are examined. I emphasize the role that the various regimes may play to support information processing abilities. I present (...) an example where controlled transient evolutions in a neural network, are used to model the regulation of motor activities by the cerebellar cortex. (shrink)
Jean-François Lyotard (1924-1998) was one of the most important French philosophers of the Twentieth Century. His impact has been felt across many disciplines: sociology; cultural studies; art theory and politics. This volume presents a diverse selection of interviews, conversations and debates which relate to the five decades of his working life, both as a political militant, experimental philosopher and teacher. Including hard-to-find interviews and previously untranslated material, this is the first time that interviews with Lyotard have been presented as (...) a collection. Key concepts from Lyotard's thought – the differend, the postmodern, the immaterial – are debated and discussed across different time periods, prompted by specific contexts and provocations. In addition there are debates with other thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, which may be less familiar to an Anglophone audience. These debates and interviews help to contextualise Lyotard, highlighting the importance of Marx, Freud, Kant and Wittgenstein, in addition to the Jewish thought which accompanies the questions of silence, justice and presence that pervades Lyotard's thinking. (shrink)
François Lamy, a Benedictine monk and Cartesian philosopher whose extensive relations with Arnauld, Bossuet, Fénélon, and Malebranche put him into contact with the intellectual elite of late-seventeenth-century France, authored the very first detailed and explicit refutation of Spinoza’s Ethics in French, Le nouvel athéisme renversé. Regrettably overlooked in the secondary literature on Spinoza, Lamy is an interesting figure in his own right, and his anti-Spinozist work sheds important light on Cartesian assumptions that inform the earliest phase of Spinoza’s critical (...) reception in the seventeenth-century. I begin by presenting Lamy’s life and the contentious state of Spinoza’s French reception in the 1680 and 1690s. I then discuss a central argument in Lamy’s refutation, namely the Cartesian objection that Spinoza’s account of the conceptual independence of attributes is incompatible with the theory of substance monism. Contrasting Lamy’s objection with questions put to Spinoza by de Vries and Tschirnhaus, I maintain that by exhibiting the direction Spinoza’s views on substance and attribute took in maturing we may accurately assess the strength of Spinoza’s position vis-à-vis his Cartesian objector, and I argue that, in fact, Spinoza’s mature account of God as an expressive ens realissimum is not vulnerable to Lamy’s criticism. In conclusion, I turn to Lamy’s objection that Spinoza’s philosophy is question-begging in view of Spinoza’s account of God, and I exhibit what this point of criticism tells us about the intentions of the first French Cartesian rebuttal of the Ethics. (shrink)
Taking its cue from François Bernier’s Voyages and focusing on the assumptions that stand in the background of Immanuel Kant’s view of the encounter between Christianity and Hinduism, this text endeavors to bring to light the theoretical framework that shaped the dialogue between the West and the East since the 18th century. The author’s contention is that the way that Western philosophy has tended to conceive of universal values has been one of the fundamental obstacles that has hindered a (...) genuine cross-cultural conversation in this sense. (shrink)
Jean-François Lyotard is one of the most important, and complex, French thinkers of the twentieth century. Best known in the English-speaking world for his book The Postmodern Condition, the multi-faceted nature of Lyotard’s work has often been obscured by its sometimes problematic association with the postmodern. His life refuses to follow the clear trajectory common to academics in France: it stalls and hesitates, with Lyotard’s first ‘career’ consisting of fifteen years of militant Marxist political engagement. Kiff Bamford traces this (...) circuitous journey, unravelling the thrust of Lyotard’s main philosophical arguments, his struggle with thinking and his confrontation with the task of writing and thinking philosophy in a different way. These all take place within a series of very particular contexts: the Algerian war, the experimental university at Vincennes and a sustained engagement with the visual arts. Lyotard’s own tentative reflections on his intellectual life help to frame his suspicions of easy narratives and highlight his rejection of ‘the delusion that we are able to programme our life’. It is by following these cautions that Kiff Bamford is able to present a compelling portrait of a challenging subject. (shrink)
In this paper published in Slovenian, i argue that Jean-François Lyotard could probably not have written his groundbraking book Le Différend in the eighties of the 20th century without having had his Algerian experience as a young teacher there. Lyotard was member of the group of leftist intellectuals "Socialisme ou barbarie" (also name of a journal they issued) around Cornelius Castoriadis. Understanding the "Other" and the relationship between the subject and the "Other" is essential to the line of thought (...) that Lyotard developped in Le Différend. See his book La guerre des Algériens. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
François Laruelle has rightfully earned the title of contemporary French philosophy’s archetypical heretic, having fostered the “non-standard” method of univocal genericity and spurred an altogether radical praxis, inciting a new generation of loyal followers that include Jason Barker and Ray Brassier. Laruelle’s method, often referred to as “non-philosophy” (though “non-philosophy” is an abbreviation of “non-standard philosophy”), withdraws from the metaphysical precept of separating the world into binarisms, perhaps epitomized by the formative division between “universals” and “particulars” in Kant’s Transcendental (...) Deduction. Laruelle’s method also rejects the “evental” nature of Being described by Heiddegger as the foundation for philosophy's “standard model,” which Heidegger termed Ereignis (often translated as “the event of Appropriation”). In its immanence, Laruelle’s “One” is understood as generic identity - an identity/commonality that reverses the classical metaphysics found in philosophy’s bastion thinkers (a lineage that runs from Plato to Badiou), where the transcendental is upheld as a necessary precondition for grounding reality. Instead, Laruelle asserts the “One” as the immanent real: generic, non-philosophical and axiomatic. (shrink)
_Criticism and Conviction_ offers a rare opportunity to share personally in the intellectual life and journey of the eminent philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Internationally known for his influential works in hermeneutics, theology, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics, until now, Ricoeur has been conspicuously silent on the subject of himself. In this book--a conversation about his life and work with François Azouvi and Marc de Launay--Ricoeur reflects on a variety of philosophical, social, religious, and cultural topics, from the paradoxes of political power to (...) the relationship between life and art, and life and death. In the first of eight conversations, Ricoeur traces the trajectory of his life, recounting the origins of his convictions and the development of his intellect against the tragic events of the twentieth century. Declaring himself the "son of a victim of the First World War," Ricoeur, an orphan, sketches his early years in the house of stern but loving grandparents, and the molding of his intellect under the tutelage of Roland Dalbiez, Gabriel Marcel, and André Philip. Ricoeur tells the intriguing story of his capture and five-year imprisonment by the Germans during World War II, where he and his compatriots fashioned an intellectual life complete with a library and lectures, and where he, amazingly, was able to continue his dissertation research. Elegantly interweaving anecdotal with philosophical meditations, Ricoeur recounts his relationships with some of the twentieth century's greatest figures, such as Heidegger, Jaspers, and Eliade. He also shares his views on French philosophers and explains his tumultuous relationship with Jacques Lacan. And while expressing his deepest respect for the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Michel Foucault, Ricoeur reserves his greatest admiration for the narratologist Algirdas Julien Greimas. Ricoeur also explores the relationship between the philosophical and religious domains, attempting to reconcile the two poles in his thought. And readers who have struggled with Ricoeur's work will be grateful for these illuminating discussions that provide an invaluable key to his writings on language and narrative, especially those on metaphor and time. Spontaneous and lively, _Criticism and Conviction_ is a passionate confirmation of Ricoeur's eloquence, lucidity, and intellectual rigor, and affirms his position as one of this century's greatest thinkers. It is an essential book for anyone interested in philosophy and literary criticism. (shrink)
The origins of philosophy of education as a discipline are relatively late, and can be traced in the Anglo-American academic world from the 1960s and a specific emphasis on conceptual problems deriving from the analytical tradition of philosophy. In more recent years, however, there has been a notable ‘Continentalist’ turn in the discipline, leading to a re-evaluation of key texts and philosophers from the French and German traditions and their relation to the discourse of education. One paradigmatic example here is (...) the work of the French postmodernist thinker Jean-Francois Lyotard. In this essay, I explore how Lyotard’s powerful critique of education in his early work, especially with regard to his influence on the May ‘68 events at Nanterre University, can be seen as crucially important, now again, to a current crisis in educational philosophy in the Western world. Moreover, Lyotard’s post-’68 work, with his paradigmatic The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge as especially important, can be seen as providing a very challenging riposte to both ‘managerialist’ and instrumentalist philosophies on the one side but also to overly simplistic ‘liberatory’ educational critiques on the other side. (shrink)
O objetivo deste texto é analisar os argumentos de Jean-François Lyotard a respeito do filosofar enquanto transformação na obra intitulada Por que filosofar? Lyotard publicou esse livro em 1989, constituído por quatro conferências proferidas em 1964 intituladas i. Por que desejar?, ii. Filosofia e Origem; iii. Sobre a palavra filosófica e iv. Sobre filosofia e ação, durante a fase em que foi marxista crítico nos anos 60 e 70. Em 1986 Lyotard afirma que foi atacado injustamente por ter mudado (...) sua posição política a partir da publicação de 1971, a qual marca a ruptura em sua obra, intitulada Discurso, Figura, onde analisa o que é a figura e o que é o figural/figurativo. (shrink)
Georges Canguilhem, A Vital Rationalist: Selected Writings from Georges Canguilhem, edited by François Delaporte and translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Pp. 481. ISBN 0-942299-72-8. £24.25, $36.25.
There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-body problem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is largely on the mark. (...)François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face. (shrink)
Fragments presents a set of brilliantly intriguing interviews with Jean Baudrillard whose work today occupies center stage in the analysis of consumerism, terrorism, and contemporary culture. In these frank discussions with François L'Yvonnet, Baudrillard reveals for the first time in detail the thinkers who have been the dominant influences on his work during his career. Instead of examining his work as a project of intellectual accumulation, he challenges all the major interpretations of his work by suggesting he has always (...) adopted an anti-system, anti-totality strategy. Even globalization is accompanied in his view by a Western culture which itself is no longer a well-founded confident universalism. Perhaps most interestingly, Baudrillard discusses his life's work in relationship to his contemporaries -- Bataille , Barthes, Lyotard and Deleuze - and explores his position as an outsider in the field of French philosophy. Baudrillard in these interviews is in sparkling form, and in his ownwords he presents not only a lively introduction to this great thinker but also gives readers a window into a brilliant mind. (shrink)
Etienne-François Geoffroy, l’un des chimistes français les plus importants du début du XVIIIe siècle, entretenait des relations régulières avec l’Angleterre. Il était chargé de développer les échanges entre l’Académie royale des sciences et la Royal Society de Londres. Quand il publia sa « Table des rapports entre les substances chimiques » en 1718, Fontenelle et quelques autres lui reprochèrent d’avoir introduit en chimie le système des attractions newtoniennes. Mais en fait, Geoffroy s’est toujours tenu à l’écart aussi bien du (...) mécanisme cartésien que du newtonianisme, le recours aux expériences et à la littérature alchimique constituant ses seules sources d’inspiration. Geoffroy apparaît ainsi comme le représentant d’une chimie empirique, soucieuse de conserver l’autonomie de sa discipline. (shrink)
The existence of a genetic program of development was proposed by molecular biologists in the nineteen-sixties. Historians and philosophers of science have since thoroughly criticized this notion. To fully appreciate its significance, it is interesting to consider the research which was pursued during this period by molecular biologists who proposed this notion. This study focuses on François Jacob's work and on the model of development supported by his lab in the early seventies, the T-complex model. This episode of Jacob's (...) scientific activity has since been forgotten. Characterization of this model shows that the notion of program was used in a metaphoric way and that it did not put any constraint on the work pursued in the lab at that time. Some attention is devoted to the origin of this metaphor in the context of the nineteen-seventies. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher of language, Francois Recanati, has proposed a wide-ranging truth-conditional model of pragmatics. In this collection, various aspects of his theories are addressed by distinguished contributors, and are then commented on or answered by Recanati himself. This allows the reader to be drawn into the central debate within philosophy of language and cognitive science as to what kind of pragmatics system is needed.
This article rediscovers a short film directed by Jean-François Lyotard, entitled L’Autre Scène. The work underlines the originality of a philosopher who refused to separate theory from practice. First analysing the influence of Freudian theory on the production of the film, I shall then see how the work elaborates the concept of “acinema”. Finally, I will give an interpretation of Lyotard’s enigmatic silence about his first film work. -/- .
Neither art criticism nor a scholar’s monograph on an artist, Jean-François Lyotard’s Sam Francis: Lesson of Darkness: ‘like the paintings of a blind man’ is a reflection that engages both the painter and 43 of his works into a conversation alternating painting and aphoristic writing. Their order follows neither the chronology of the works nor a linear argument in the prose. And yet, the work generates the strongest feeling of there being a continuity in this peculiar dialogue of pictures (...) and poeticism, a continuity not clearly presented by logic, but one concerning what remains unpresented in presentation. The conversation is revelatory of their shared concerns with the energetic force of absence and is fascinating. (shrink)
This paper examines the self-measurement and self-tracking practices of a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, François-Marc-Louis Naville, who extensively used Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to set a direction to his life and to monitor and improve his moral character. My contribution sheds light on how technologies of quantification molded notions of personal responsibility and character within an emerging utilitarian context. I situate Naville’s use of these tools within (...) his work as a pastor in a parish of the Republic of Geneva and within the Genevese and Swiss pedagogical reform movement of the early nineteenth century. I provide a detailed examination of how Naville used and adapted Franklin’s and Jullien’s tools of moral accounting for his own moral and religious purposes. Time, God’s most precious gift to man, served Naville as the ultimate measure of his moral worth. (shrink)
Claire Katz & Lara Trout, Emmanuel Levinas. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers ; Thomas Bedorf, Andreas Cremonini, Verfehlte Begegnung. Levinas und Sartre als philosophische Zeitgenossen ; Samuel Moyn, Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics ; Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch, Im Angesicht der Anderen. Levinas’ Philosophie des Politischen ; Sharon Todd, Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis and ethical possibilities in education ; Michel Henry, Le bonheur de Spinoza, suivi de: Etude sur le spinozisme de Michel (...) Henry, par Jean-Michel Longneaux ; Jean-François Lavigne, Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie. Des Recherches logiques aux Ideen: la genèse de l’idéalisme transcendantal phénoménologique ; Denis Seron, Objet et signification ; Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa and Hans Ruin, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation. Phenomenology in The Nordic Countries ; Dimitri Ginev, Entre anthropologie et herméneutique ; Magdalena Mărculescu-Cojocea, Critica metafizicii la Kant şi Heidegger. Problema subiectivităţii: raţiunea între autonomie şi deconstrucţie. (shrink)
In Résolution des quatre principaux problèmes d’architecture then in Cours d’architecture, the architect–mathematician Nicolas-François Blondel addresses one of the most famous architectural problems of all times, that of the reduction in columns. The interest of the text lies in the variety of subjects that are linked to this issue. The text is a response to the challenge launched by Curabelle in 1664 under the name Étrenne à tous les architectes; Blondel mathematicizes the problem in the “style of the Ancients”; (...) The problem is reformulated and solved through the continuous drawing of the curve; Blondel refutes the uniqueness of the curve by enumerating a variety of solutions. This exuberance responds to an intention that does not coincide with the state of the art of mathematics at the end of the seventeenth century, nor with the taste for geometry of the Ancients, nor with any pedagogical project. This feature is explained by Blondel’s plan to found architecture on scientific bases. The reasons for his failure are analysed. (shrink)
The following interview of Mark William Westmoreland with Anthony Paul Smith–well-known scholar and translator of François Laruelle –considers both implications and extensions of Laruelle's non-philosophy for contemporary thought. Smith has helped bring about a surge of interest in Laruelle due to his many translations of his texts as well as being the author or co-editor of several books on Laruelle. Discussed are in particular the difficulties and joys of translating and the usefulness of Laruelle's thought for Smith's own work, (...) especially in environmental and animal studies. Also considered are some themes of non-philosophy, the adaptability of Laruelle's thought for various disciplines, as well as new paths for Laruelle studies –new, unforeseen landscapes and uses of non-philosophy –that explore social phenomena such as race, racism, sexism, victim a.o. (shrink)
This is an essay about language, thought, and culture in general, and about Ancient Greek and Classical Chinese in particular. It is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which says that language influences the mind, and applies this hypothesis to Greek and Chinese. It is also an essay in comparative philosophy as well as a contribution to the history of ideas. From the language side, I rely on the nineteenth-century German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and from the culture side on the contemporary (...) French sinologist François Jullien. Combining their ideas, I give substance to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and explain some of Jullien's claims about the historical and political developments of Chinese culture. The central .. (shrink)
When asked by students taking Chinese Philosophy classes with me what I can recommend as reading material, I usually say, among other things, anything written by François Jullien. Thankfully, with Vital Nourishment: Departing from Happiness, there is now a new title available in English translation to add to this list. As with the works of most philosophically inclined writers whom I like, this book by Jullien does not really say much that has not already been said by him, at (...) least implicitly, in previous publications. More or less "creative" writers, paradoxically, tend to produce variations of one or more themes and thus repeat themselves to a certain degree. That is, so to speak, the price one has to pay if one .. (shrink)
The focus of this paper is the intertextual relationship between the work of François Truffaut and that of Honoré de Balzac. It explores Balzac's influence on the shaping of Truffaut's voice and argues that Balzac's Human Comedy served Truffaut as a model for some of his cinematic innovations. This applies to Truffaut's total oeuvre, but particularly to his series of autobiographical films, ?The Adventures of Antoine Doinel?: The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups, 1959), Antoine and Colette, Love at (...) Twenty (Antoine et Colette, L'Amour à Vingt Ans, 1962), Stolen Kisses (Baisers Volés, 1968), Bed and Board (Domicile Conjugal, 1970), Love on the Run (L'Amour en Fuite, 1979). In examining Truffaut's ?rewriting? of Balzac, I adopt?and adapt?the intertextual approach of Harold Bloom's theory of the ?anxiety of influence.? My paper applies Bloom's concept of misreading to an examination of the relationship between Truffaut's autobiographical films, and Balzac's Human Comedy, both thematically and structurally. (shrink)
As Leibniz had hoped, the publication of his ‘Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances...’ in 1695 provoked discussion of his metaphysics. Amongst the reactions was that of the French Benedictine, François Lamy, in his De la Connaissance de soi-même. It is not unusual to find the different editions of this work being confused, to the detriment of a proper understanding of the relation between Lamy’s texts and Leibniz’s. No doubt the rarity of copies of (...) De la Connaissance is at least partly responsible for this confusion, and it is because of that rarity that Lamy’s discussion of Leibniz is made available and reprinted here. (shrink)
François Viète is considered the father both of modern algebra and of modern cryptanalysis. The paper outlines Viète’s major contributions in these two mathematical fields and argues that, despite an obvious parallel between them, there is an essential difference. Viète’s ‘new algebra’ relies on his reform of the classical method of analysis and synthesis, in particular on a new conception of analysis and the introduction of a new formalism. The procedures he suggests to decrypt coded messages are particular forms (...) of analysis based on the use of formal methods. However, Viète’s algebraic analysis is not an analysis in the same sense as his cryptanalysis is. In Aristotelian terms, the first is a form of 'analysis,' while the second is a form of 'diaresis.' While the first is a top-down argument from the point of view of the human subject, since it is an argument going from what is not actual to what is actual for such a subject, the second one is a bottom-up argument from this same point of view, since it starts from what is first for us and proceed towards what is first by nature.Keywords: Analysis; Cryptanalysis; Algebra; Aristotle; Viète. (shrink)
This paper examines the analysis of property regimes in the thought of the French philosopher, Francois Huet, as presented especially in his one major work on that subject, Le Regne Social du Christianisme . There, Huet developed his concern with social issues which began in the mid-1840s, when he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ghent. From 1846, he formed a study group of students now known as the ‘Huet Society’, which discussed social questions such as property rights (...) and inheritance, and considered various reform proposals in the works of Fourier, Proudhon, Saint-Simon and others. In the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions, Huet resigned his Chair following an official campaign against his allegedly subversive views. From 1850 until his death in 1869, Huet lived in Paris where he concentrated on his studies, producing a large number of published works. Apart from Le Regne, those works were concerned principally with Catholic theology, at least until 1864 when Huet renounced his faith and sought to develop a version of pantheism. However, in La Science de l'esprit , which immediately preceded that renunciation, Huet restated at length and in virtually identical form the core argument of Le Regne. Even in one of his last works, La Revolution Religieuse , moreover, Huet expressed his continuing endorsement of its ‘fundamental idea’ of ‘a guarantee of property to all’, and argued that after fifteen years it was still in advance of current liberal critiques of property regimes. (shrink)
We are entering an era in which “cultural construction of the body” refers to a literal technological enterprise. This era was anticipated in the 1920s by geneticist J. B. S. Haldane in a lecture which inspired Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In that lecture, Haldane reinterpreted the Greek myth of Daedalus and the Minotaur as heroic fable. Seventy years later another geneticist, François Jacob, used the same myth as cautionary tale. Here I explain the Minotaur's “genetic” monstrosity in terms (...) of disability and hybridity, using the movie Gattaca to argue that ancient fears of monstrously disabled bodies are being recycled as bioethics. (shrink)