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)
Thérèse d'Avila a marqué de sa doctrine et de son ardeur l'Église des trois derniers siècles, au point qu'elle est devenue le modèle par excellence de la religieuse cloîtrée tout à la fois contemplative et fondatrice, écrivaine de premier rang, épistolière infatigable et maîtresse spirituelle. Suivant de près le livre de Marcelle Auclair, qui fit date dans le domaine des études thérèsiennes (La Vie de sainte Thérèse d'Avila, la dame errante de Dieu, Le Club du meilleur livre, 19..
This paper is not an article in a regular sense. It is a dialogue between François-David Sebbah, one of the two editors of this topical collection, and Jean-Luc Nancy, one of the most eminent representatives of the contemporary French Thought. This dialogue took place in the first half of 2022 in a written form, because of the sanitary restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and because Nancy was heavily sick. Sebbah sent to Nancy a text, corresponding to Section 2.1, and (...) Nancy responded to it with another text, corresponding to Section 2.2. Unfortunately, Nancy died on August 23, 2022, and could not revise his own text nor pursue the dialogue, as it was originally planned. For this reason, an introductory clarification by Sebbah, corresponding to Section 1, has been added. The purpose of such clarification is to introduce the reader to Nancy’s philosophy of technology—although technology never had a central role in Nancy’s reflections. In Section 2.1, Sebbah proposes a distinction between “French Theory,” “French Thought,” and “French Philosophy.” He also proposes a list of twelve possible intersections between the French Thought and the philosophy of technology. In Section 2.2, Nancy criticizes the use of expressions such as “French Thought.” He also insists, in a Heideggerian vein, on the fact that Technology does not depend on human ends but has its own ends. (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.
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)
Les textes de Platon ont fait l’objet d’innombrables interprétations et récupérations depuis l’Antiquité grecque. Dans le contexte de l’Allemagne prénazie, l’écrivain Hans F.K. Günther a écrit un ouvrage apologétique des théories eugéniques en s’appuyant sur l’oeuvre du philosophe athénien, Platon als Hüter des Lebens. Dans cet article, nous présenterons les enjeux de ce texte de propagande, son contexte historique, ainsi que les implications inquiétantes de cette « appropriation », de cet « arraisonnement » de la philosophie classique à des fins (...) purement politiques. Plato’s works have been the object of countless interpretations and recuperations ever since Greek antiquity. In the context of prenazi Germany, the writer Hans F.K. Günther published a work in defence of eugenic theories, allegedly based on the work of the Athenian philosopher and entitled Platon als Hüter des Lebens. The present article tries to set forth what is at stake in that propaganda piece, its historical context, as well as the disquieting implications of such an “appropriation” of classical philosophy to purely political ends. (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-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)
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)
Kunc, Francois When I told another lawyer that I was coming here tonight he sent me an email commiserating that 'the art of after dinner speaking is doubly difficult for judges who are expected to be witty and entertaining, but not say anything controversial-or maybe nothing at all'. I also had the pleasure of spending some time recently with your Bishop Peter, who admonished me to 'keep it light'.
François Jullien is a master of repetition. Over his more than thirty books, he introduces a carefully defined set of concepts--such as “blandness” and “efficacy”--and then pairs them, opposes them, and sets them in different contexts, returning to them repeatedly without ever saying quite the same thing. One can imagine an introduction to Jullien’s work that traces each of his concepts through its development from book to book, noting explicit and implicit connections to the traditional Chinese thought that gave rise (...) to it. In François Jullien’s Unexceptional Thought, Arne De Boever takes a different tack. As he puts it in his introduction: “I focus on certain books and topics that stood out to me within Jullien’s... (shrink)
Roger Ames and François Jullien are eminent scholars writing on ancient Chinese thought, yet they have followed quite different paths in their academic research. In this paper I will argue that, although their styles, theories and motivations are sometimes dramatically different, both authors share an interest in combining philosophy and sinology in an effort to unveil the existence of a radical contrast between China and the West. I will explain that language is at the center of the affirmation of Chinese (...) otherness, insofar as it is seen as a reflection of the processual inclinations of ancient China. Thus, Ames and Jullien have developed a hybrid Chinese-Western language that seeks to bridge East and West, while at the same time respecting the boundaries and preserving the strangeness of both traditions. (shrink)
Often associated with themes in political philosophy and aesthetics, the work of Jean-François Lyotard is most known for his infamous definition of the postmodern in his best-known book, La condition postmoderne, as incredulity towards metanarratives. The claim of this article is that this famous claim of Lyotard is actually embedded in a philosophy of technology, one that is, moreover, still relevant for understanding present technoscience. The first part of the article therefore sketches Lyotard’s philosophy of technology, mainly by correcting three (...) common misconceptions: that La condition postmoderne would only be about metanarratives, whereas in fact, it is mainly about what replaces them, namely performativity; that performativity would be shorthand for capitalism, whereas in reality, capitalism is the latest instance of a longer history of performativity; and that Lyotard’s reflections on science and technology would be restricted to this book alone, whereas in reality, a well-articulated philosophy of technology, centered around the concept of technoscience, is found in his later work. The second part of the article then aims to highlight the contemporary relevance of this philosophy of technoscience through a brief examination of two contemporary technosciences: synthetic biology and data science. (shrink)