Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Past of Presence (audio)

Audio of Catherine Malabou's talk "The Past of Presence" at the CRMEP workshop on "Time and Temporality, after Phenomenology" at Kingston University on 13 December 2013:

http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2012/12/time-and-temporality-after-phenomenology/

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Edinburgh seminar with Catherine Malabou




Catherine will give a talk on her current research entitled "Epigeneses of Reason". More details including readings, respondents and directions can be found here:


http://bodiesinmovement.blogspot.co.uk/p/bodies-in-movement-seminar-series.html

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Catherine Malabou seminar in Edinburgh on 21 January 2013


Bodies in Movement seminars (University of Edinburgh) in collaboration with Michael O'Rourke (Independent Colleges, Dublin) will be holding an intimate one day seminar with Catherine Malabou at the University of Edinburgh on Monday 21 January 2013.



In the morning Catherine will present on some of her latest work. The afternoon sessions will feature responses to previously distributed trigger papers from a variety of disciplinary locations including philosophy, theology, literature, visual culture, gender studies, queer theory.

Previous Bodies in Movement seminars have focused on the work of Scott Wilson, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Stuart Elden. More information can be found on their blog here: http://bodiesinmovement.blogspot.ie/p/bodies-in-movement-seminar-series.html

Full details of this upcoming event will be announced shortly. If you have any queries or want to register your interest please contact Michael O'Rourke: tranquilised_icon at yahoo dot com

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Interview in Le Monde (9.11.2012)




source


Catherine Malabou, professeur au Centre for Research in Modern EuropeanPhilosophy de l'université de Kingston (Royaume-Uni), est reconnue comme une des philosophes françaises les plus novatrices de sa génération. Elle a, dès sa thèse sur Hegel, sous la direction de Jacques Derrida (L'Avenir de Hegel, Vrin, 1994), introduit le concept de plasticité, que ses livres suivants développeront à la fois en histoire de la philosophie (Le Change Heidegger, Léo Scheer, 2004) et dans des domaines comme les neurosciences (Que faire de notre cerveau ?,Bayard, 2004) ou la théorie des genres (Changer de différence, Galilée, 2009). L'intervention qu'elle s'apprête à prononcer au Mans, "Le discours des amoureux conduit-il à la philosophie ?", nous a donné l'occasion de l'interroger sur un sujet finalement assez peu traité dans cette uvre pourtant ample et éclectique : l'amour.

Vous inscrivez votre réflexion sur l'amour dans un spectre historique très large, qui va du "Banquet" de Platon aux "Fragments d'un discours amoureux" de Barthes. Que signifie pour vous ce saut du IVe siècle av. J.-C. au XXe siècle ?
Il correspond à une histoire que je veux raconter : celle d'une amnésie, et d'une redécouverte. Tout commence avec le discours que Diotime, dans Le Banquet,tient au jeune Socrate : on aime d'abord un corps, puis tous les beaux corps, et de là un esprit, puis tous les beaux esprits, jusqu'à contempler l'Idée de la Beauté. Après les Grecs, on n'a retenu que la fin du processus, plongeant dans l'oubli son aspect érotique. Ce qui est vrai, c'est que la pensée est pour Diotime la finalité de l'amour. Mais cela ne signifie pas du tout qu'il faille se détourner du corps ! L'amour, par la contemplation à laquelle il ouvre, révèle l'existence de l'âme, "le lieu le plus doux de l'être humain", écrit Platon, qui, dans Phèdre, précise son image en décrivant l'âme, à peu de chose près, comme un sexe. Elle se dilate, elle se gonfle, elle se charge d'émotion... L'amour ne révèle pas le corps, mais il révèle que l'âme est quelque chose comme un corps, et il le fait de manière corporelle. Car la dualité propre au sentiment amoureux se retrouve au moment de la révélation de l'âme. Je ne suis pas, en découvrant mon âme, dans un rapport auto-érotique : je découvre que je suis deux en moi. La pensée philosophique, c'est précisément parvenir à dialoguer avec moi-même comme si j'étais deux. On ne peut penser sans être affecté par quelqu'un d'autre en soi, présence dont l'amour, et d'abord l'amour charnel, est l'expérience fondatrice. On ne peut penserfroidement. C'est ce que, en même temps que le Foucault des séminaires sur les Grecs, Barthes redécouvre dans Fragments d'un discours amoureux, alors que toute la modernité s'était employée à désexualiser la philosophie au maximum. Elle avait annulé la dualité, le fait d'être deux en soi. On le voit chez Descartes, pour qui l'âme n'est pas révélée par l'existence de l'autre, mais par un retour sur soi où l'on ne trouve que soi. Et ça n'a pas cessé ensuite. Pour Barthes, au contraire, tant que je ne suis pas affecté par l'autre, la production du discours ne peut avoirlieu. C'est la même idée que chez Platon. Avec cette différence que, pour Barthes, la dualité ouvre sur le multiple, là où Platon la met en permanence en danger d'être abolie dans l'unité fusionnelle vers quoi tend le désir.
Quelle importance a cette question dans votre propre travail ? On ne peut pas ne pas penser aux recherches contemporaines sur le cerveau émotionnel, notamment celles du neurologue Antonio Damasio, l'auteur de "L'Erreur de Descartes" (Odile Jacob, 1995), auxquelles vous donnez une place centrale.
La dualité est au cur de mon concept de plasticité, dans la mesure où celui-ci décrit la naissance du sujet comme un double mouvement de réception et de donation de forme. L'amour joue dans la plasticité le rôle de la scission du "je" sans laquelle il n'y a pas de sujet. Il révèle l'impossibilité de coïncider avec soi. Ce qui rejoint en effet les travaux de Damasio. Pour lui, la raison qu'il appelle "de sang-froid", c'est-à-dire les sites purement cognitifs du cerveau, n'est pas apte, par elle-même, à guider la conduite des gens. Coupée des émotions, elle ne peutsuffire à faire des choix, à préférer telle chose plutôt que telle autre, à juger du bien et du mal. Ce que Damasio appelle le "cerveau émotionnel", qui correspond au lobe frontal, où s'inscrivent les émotions, est indispensable au fonctionnement normal de la rationalité. Si un malade dont le lobe frontal a été abîmé joue aux cartes, il aura beau très bien connaître la règle du jeu, il ne jouera pas la carte qui lui aurait permis de gagner. Il n'a pas intérêt à gagner, parce qu'il n'a pas d'affect, et qu'il s'en fiche. On n'atteint pas de but sans désir de l'atteindre, donc sans désir tout court. Et sans but, sans ce lien avec le monde autour de soi, qui pousse à s'y mêler, la raison devient une forme de folie. Cette vérité est aujourd'hui scientifiquement établie. Un Descartes n'ignorait pas le rôle moteur des émotions, on le voit dans ce livre étonnant qu'est le Traité des passions, mais, pour lui, le rôle de la raison était de réguler les affects. Les problèmes commencent quand les affects s'emballent. Pour Damasio, qui rejoint en cela les intuitions de Platon, c'est quand les affects disparaissent que les problèmes commencent. Le problème, c'est l'indifférence. Ce qui détruit le plus profondément l'identité d'un homme, c'est la perte des émotions qui le relient aux autres. Chaque cerveau est unique, parce qu'il a été sculpté par les émotions propres à l'expérience unique du sujet. Mais le cerveau peut être endommagé au point de défaire cette construction singulière. La libido est alors perdue à jamais. On peut perdre sa faculté à être amoureux, et par là ce que nous sommes au plus intime de nous-mêmes.
La menace d'une perte des émotions révèle ainsi en creux ce qu'il y a d'humain dans l'humanité.
C'est ce que Damasio a en tête quand il dit : "Les lésions sont pour moi une méthode." Tant qu'il n'avait pas travaillé sur les cérébrolésés, il ne savait pas à quel point les émotions étaient constitutives de l'humain. Platon n'est d'ailleurs pas très loin de cela quand il observe que certaines âmes sont stériles, incapables decontempler, au bout du processus, l'Idée de Beauté. Il est possible que l'âme ne soit pas autre chose que le cerveau même. Peut-être suffirait-il d'accepter cette vérité de plus en plus évidente, que beaucoup continuent de refuser avec violence, pour retrouver, après la longue occultation dont j'ai parlé, toute la richesse de la pensée grecque de l'amour. Je la crois plus nécessaire que jamais. Ne serait-ce que pour aider à comprendre que l'homme ne perd rien de sa complexité, de sa profondeur en se connaissant mieux, dans sa finitude et sa fragilité.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interview at Groundwork blog



source

Interview with Catherine Malabou

Groundwork: Catherine, how do you understand the philosophical significance of the name of this blog, ‘Groundwork’?

Catherine Malabou: 
The first thing I would like to say is that the meaning of this word ‘groundwork’ is to me a pure paradox. On the one hand, ‘ground’ means foundation – well, if I refer to German, ground means foundation, reason and principle. All three terms refer to an origin, a root, a first, primary departure:  something like a basis that you can build upon.
If you look at the history of philosophy where, I think it is the only context where the word ‘groundwork’ is used, I don’t think that it has any meaning outside of philosophy, if I’m right? In the history of philosophy you discover that every groundwork – like Kant,Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, the ‘Grundworker deficit’, Marx etc., The Principle of Reason in Heidegger: ‘Grundprinzip’ – is in reality, and this is the first paradox, a re-foundation. So in philosophy a groundwork is never a groundwork, it’s always a re-grounding work.
There can’t be any first groundwork – so this is the first paradox. That in fact, the groundwork is what expresses the need to re-found, that is to reground, and this is the problem of metaphysics in general: because in philosophy groundwork means metaphysics. This metaphysical need for grounding – if you think of what Descartes says about philosophy, remember that he says that philosophy is like a tree where the roots are metaphysics; the roots which represent grounding as such – but the problem is that when Descartes says that it is against Aristotle, against Aristotle’s conception, conception of founding, of groundwork; so every time that someone wants to bring to light the need for groundworking, it is in reality a need for re-grounding.
This is what is interesting in the chapter of Difference and Repetition that we talked about [in class]. Deleuze says in ‘Repetition for Itself’ that the problem of groundwork is that grounding is always a repetition: instead of being a founding, like something for the first time, it is always a repetition. So there can’t be any primary, originary version of any foundation, for any foundation: which of course is a threat to any ground. That’s why I brought the book because Deleuze has that very interesting sentence in page 110 of Difference and Repetition, where he says, ‘the shortcoming of the ground is to remain relative to what it grounds, to borrow the characteristics of what it grounds and to be proved by these’. So what is interesting here is the ‘shortcoming of the ground is to remain relative to what it founds’, means that a ground cannot found itself and that is the essential lack which is inscribed in the ground in general. It is in fact that the groundwork can’t ever be a groundwork, because it is a repetition and because it is relative to what it founds.
That’s why if you read Heidegger’s book The Principle of Reason, which is in German, ‘Grundprinzip’ – because in German if I say ‘to find a reason for something’, reason in that sense, like cause or an explanation, is ‘Grund’ – Heidegger has this very interesting development on ‘groundwork’ which means that the problem with the ground is that it is itself groundless. So he plays with the double meaning of ‘Grund’ and ‘Abgrund’ in German, like ‘ground’ and ‘abyss’, a ground and absence of ground. And this absence of ground comes from the fact that the ground is always a repetition of itself: a duplication, a copy, whatever.
And also you find interesting developments about that in Hegel, in the second volume of the Science of Logic, “Essence”: there are beautiful pages around dialectics, like this contradiction inscribed in grounding.
For you to have chosen this name, ‘groundwork’, means that you are looking not so much for grounding, but rather for a re-founding, a re-grounding. It means that you want to repeat, to reiterate a question. I think if you read Husserl and The Crisis of European Sciences, every time in philosophy we feel the need to re-ground, it is because we have the feeling of a deep crisis. So undoubtedly for you if you want to ground something, it is because you feel the need for re-grounding of something – out of a crisis, out of a lack. Is it a lack of something which needs to be grounded? Or is it a lack inscribed within grounding itself? I don’t know, but you have to interrogate yourself. I am returning the question to you. What is it you want to reground?
To be caught in that paradox, to be trapped in that paradox – grounding and regrounding – is the only way to ground something. So I think you have to analyse first what kind of crisis you feel we are living in, what do you want to ground, and what do you want to repeat? And what is the metaphysical plane which is at the basis of this desire? Because it is not any name. So in my turn I will ask you, are you ready to face all the paradoxes which are involved in this idea of the impossibility to ground?

G: 
What are, if any, the relations between your concept of Plasticity and the philosophical theme of the ground?
CM: Well, the very movement of Plasticity (which is malleability, transformation) was for me the perfect expression of this lack of stability of the ground; of this constant shaping and re-shaping of the basis. A groundwork has to be thought of as something in movement. I think it will be easier if we understand ‘groundwork’ as something in movement rather than something stable or rigid. And so Plasticity designates precisely this movement of self-erasure and self-forming of the ground. In fact, when you want to found something, to ground something, it means that you give form to, and, yes, I think that Plasticity expresses this very movement of giving form to the principle and at the same time to change this form.
G: But there is not a pure groundlessness; there is still a tentative ground, i.e. a sense of rigidity which allows for a resistance to this rigidity?
CM: Yes, there is a rigidity but it is a moving rigidity.
G: Do you consider your early work, including your PhD thesis on Hegel and the supervision that you received for this, as a ground-laying for your subsequent philosophical engagements; and if so, in what way?
CM: I think that in general a PhD is always a ground for everybody, it’s not only me. I remember Derrida saying that when you will have written it, it will be like a stone thrown in the river, and you can walk on that.  Undoubtedly he was right.  I think that the first book we write, this first dissertation: isn’t that a ground?  But at the same time, Derrida published his discourse he had during my defence, and it is called ‘A Time for Farewells’.  So he was at the same time perfectly conscious that, as I said, a ground is also an abyss, and at this very moment when I was building this ground, I was also saying farewell to it.  So a ground is both the soil and the farewell to any kind of stability.  It is in that sense that the PhD was a ground, to the extent that it gave me confidence in the absence of ground, if I may say so.  Which is a ground which helped me to bear the absence of ground.  A time for farewell.
And also I wanted to say something else.  If you read The Principle of Reason – The Principle of Reason by Heidegger is about the meaning of Leibniz’s sentence: ‘nothing is without reason’.  And Heidegger says that this principle, incubated for centuries, throughout the history of the West – because it was discovered by Aristotle, then had to wait until Leibniz to be brought to light – but when it was, [Heidegger] said it’s like an egg where something is incubating, and the problem is that when the chick comes out, it is not what was initially expected.  So when the meaning of the principle of reason,Grundprinzip, ground principle, came out in the seventeenth century, it had changed totally, it had totally new meaning with Leibniz: meaning not so much everything has a reason, everything has a ground; rather that the ground itself has no ground.
G: Do you want to say anything about the significance of Derrida and in what way your subsequent career has responded to him; how you’ve thought with or against him?
CM: I think we have two different ways, we had two different ways, of facing this absence of ground: ground as absence of ground, and at the same time, feeling the need for a groundworking, a groundwork.  He reproached me for still having a metaphysical vision of the absence of ground, which is linked with form, absence of form, that is with something visible or invisible. For him on the contrary, the absence of ground meant a total incapacity of anticipating anything, of even being aware of the absence of ground.  This is what he said, that we’re deconstructing the very feeling of consciousness of the absence of ground.  We don’t even know, we’re not even aware of the difference between grounding and ungrounding.  He said, to me the question of founding, refounding, is like – he had this metaphor of being drawn, you know, not walking with your hands straight but being pulled by the hands, do you see what I mean? or being drawn by the hair.
So he thought that I still had a too ontological vision of the ground, instead of blurred, deconstructive.  Being aware of the absence of ground is another kind of ground.  This was the meaning of his critique.

G: 
So do you think your philosophy is closer to Heidegger or Derrida?
CM: I would say it is just in between.  Yes, right in between.
G: With Heidegger being the rigidity, Derrida the fluidity, in relation to plasticity…
CM: Yes, Heidegger being the one who says come on, there’s a way of facing things without being pulled like that, which is not at the same time necessarily metaphysical, which can be also deconstructive.   Sometimes Derrida seemed to me to be caught in a kind of scepticism; and at the same time, Heidegger seems too rigid for me, not deconstructive enough: so I’m just in the middle.
G: And how then does Hegel fit in?
CM: Hegel fits in to the extent that precisely his work is to understand how something can engender its contrary, how ground can give way to unground, and he works in the very logic of that.  And according to me, well, he helped me so much in understanding how deconstruction could be logically challenged.  It was very clear that if I followed Hegel’s way I would understand what the contradiction in deconstruction was, what kind of contradictions are applying in Heidegger.  And I followed this path, and I think that I was right to do so.  I think that this was the right thing to do.  You know, because undoubtedly, pinpointing a contradiction is the strongest way of arguing in philosophy.  There is no other [way].  Deconstruction is weaker I think, deconstructing is weaker. So if you are able to bring to light what is the contradiction in deconstruction…
G: It doesn’t work the other way: finding the deconstruction in contradiction?
CM: Because at the end, Derrida said: I have to admit, in the end, that there is something undeconstructible.  And of course undeconstructibility is the very contradiction.  So, did you spend forty years of your life deconstructing everything to then say that there is something undeconstructible – which is a ground!  So if something is undeconstructible this is the ground [laughs] – work!
Well, if you say that there is something undeconstructible then it is worse than Plato: there’s an ideal, there’s something, you know…  So I found this contradiction in Heidegger also.  I just stick to that idea, that contradiction must be the best way to move forward.
G: How does Plasticity relate to the current movements in philosophy, including the so-called Speculative Realists?
CM: It does relate to Speculative Realism in many ways. First of all because it is a realism, what I am trying to do is a philosophy which insists on materiality, because in fact what they call a realism is in fact a materialism. So…
G: Graham Harman would disagree with that I think, the reduction of realism to materialism…
CM: No, but generally speaking it is true that there is a return to a kind of objectivity, an objective materialism.
Speculative Realism means that what is challenged is ‘finitude’ and the way in which subject and object relate on the basis of the unknowability of the ‘thing’ per se; and so it is a whole refutation of Kant, and of the limits which he presented as absolutely un-transgressable.  In a way Speculative Realism tries to go beyond these limits, but not in the sense of ‘yes metaphysics is possible’, of dogmatism, which can [be] prohibitive. Not in that sense, but on the contrary, trying to find a groundwork like a time when Kant didn’t exist. When nobody existed, which was the fossil, the arche-fossil time: you know Meillassoux, this metaphor, of when nobody was on earth.  Can we speak of a reality then? Is it possible to speak of something real without the presence of the human subject.  Is it possible to have a speculative approach to the real when no finite being is on earth?
If you read Levi-Strauss, his account of the origin of language, he says that language has to be meaningful, significant all at once. It means that when nobody was there there was no signification, no language, no meaning. It is only with the appearance of man that everything began. What Meillassoux tends to say is that on the contrary, there are already traces, signs of a presence, of a reality without any subject. So can there be a speculative realism, that is, a philosophy that is the meaning of the meaningless before the emergence of humanity? This I find really interesting. The self-arrangement of reality into a meaning, the self-hermeneutical arrangement of the Real, without what Kant calls the Transcendental Subject, the thing per se. And so it is more radical even than what Husserl says, i.e. we have to put the world in parenthesis in order to think of something which could come before experience; because it is without us, it is like the pure origin, the pure arche even before pre-historical times. And so I think this is very interesting as a ground; like the very beginning of everything, without anyone to witness it.
In this sense, what I’m trying to do has some relation to that, to the extent that a radical approach to philosophy has to precisely put everything between parentheses and say, ‘what is an absolute beginning?’ This is Meillassoux’s question. At the same time, I’m not sure that the problem is finitude. I’m not sure that the problem is the emergence of man into that. I’m not certain that Kant’s division between phenomena and things per se – I don’t think finitude is what alters the radicality of the origin. I think that perhaps we need another reading of Kant. So this is what I’m trying to do at the moment. Perhaps, in the way that Kant described finitude, there is a possible opening for the thought of a radical beginning.
G: You have posed plasticity as a resistance to modern capitalism’s reduction of subjects to purely flexible, malleable subjects: can you develop this idea and explain if and how this resistance can be transformed into a collective project and means for political organisation?
CM: My relation to politics is very particular.  It is not like trying to extract direct consequences of a concept, which translates this concept into something political.  It is, first of all, here again an attempt at re-grounding something, which takes into account the biological being of the subject.  For me it’s a political act.  Because at the moment nobody ever considers biological life [as] being a political instance.
The first thing I can say about plasticity and politics is about abolishing the frontier between symbolic and biological life.  So it will be about a kind of awareness, a biological being.  Not bodily beings but biological.  Producing the subjectivation of biological life.  Which is taking into account, really becoming aware of, the epigenetic fashionability of our brain and of our body.  This is beyond what we can be aware of, what we hear, listen to and read.  We are imprinted by so many other processes and we are trying to be aware of that and understand what it means.  Today the conception of our physical bodily existence as only proceeding from a genetic code is absolutely obsolete.  We are made of, by epigenetic factors and this I think is very important for us to be aware of. Because what is a political subject? I think here again I agree with Meillassoux that it can’t be the classical finite subject. In too many contexts the political subject is the Kantian subject, a finite subject that is limited.  I have nothing against limits but perhaps limits have to be thought of differently.
Even in Foucault you have this, in states and biopolitics, there is this distinction which remains between the biological life of the subject and the rational life.  I don’t think politics can be separated from biological materiality.  Which means that the way we want to transform things, to make them change, is also the expression of something, which is not aware.  So I’m not saying that we have to rebuild, re-found psychoanalysis but I think we are on the threshold of such a moment, where the forming forces, the revolutionary forces, are not really unconscious but beyond consciousness and, for me, biological. I think we are at a moment as important as the one Freud was writing about.  We have to stop thinking that politics is an expression of consciousness: it is something else.  I think we are at a similar moment but with new forces, which are, yes, biological.  For me, the political gesture is to try to figure out what this new non-awareness is.  So political awareness is dependent on a new political unawareness and we have to understand what it is.  I would say that for me this is the most important political consequence of this thing.
G:  So can you think the collective in that?  Can you think the collective outside of consciousness, outside of a collective consciousness; as a plastic collective?

CM: 
There has been the very old quarrel between Freud and Jung.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, A Dangerous Method?  Freud saying the unconscious is always individual and Jung that there is a collective unconscious, so there is something which is imprinted in all of us.  I have no answer to that. Perhaps it is true that this absence of awareness is a common imprint and perhaps it is not; but I think the paradox is how to create a community out of this absence of awareness.  Here we would have to reread Marx when he talks about consciousness.  I’m not sure he says that we all have a class-consciousness.  I think he is also talking about something which is not so conscious.  Can it be collective, or can it become collective? Is it a given or is it something which has to be built?  That would be building the awareness of the unconscious in a way, a new unconscious, with all the political implications.

Friday, September 28, 2012

''Like a Sleeping Animal: Philosophy between presence and absence'' (2011)


Malabou's 2011 article ''Like a Sleeping Animal -philosophy between presence and absence'' in
INAESTHETICS 2: ANIMALITY EDITED BY WILFRIED DICKHOFF & MARCUS STEINWEG. BERLIN: MERVE VERLAG. 2011



Thursday, September 13, 2012

''Modification in being and time, or the form of difference''

Malabou's 2010 article Modification in being and time, or the form of difference was published in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal

  DOWNLOAD


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lecture, September 2012: ''It does not have to be like this' (SEP/FEP)



File:MMU logo.png
Event Date: 5 – 7 September 2012
Manchester Metropolitan University,
All Saints Building, All Saints,
Manchester, M15 6BH
The Society for European Philosophy (SEP) and the Forum for European Philosophy (FEP) 2012 Conference
in association with The London Graduate School
The Society for European Philosophy (SEP) aims to provide a forum for research and teaching in all areas of European philosophy, broadly construed. It provides an opportunity for scholars from any country, and any discipline, to come together and share ideas. Since 1997, the SEP conference has been an important annual event for faculty, post-graduate students and independent scholars of European philosophy throughout the world. Since 2005 the SEP annual conference has been run jointly with the Forum for European Philosophy (FEP), helping to make the three-day conference the largest event of its kind in Europe. This year the joint conference will also run in association with the London Graduate School.
The four keynote events will be recorded and are available here soon after the conference.
Keynote speakers:
Catherine Malabou – It does not have to be like this
Plenary Panel Session:  New materialities, other deconstructions
Catherine MalabouMartin McQuillanSimon Morgan Wortham
Alphonso Lingis -  The return of subjectivity
Shaun Gallagher – What can phenomenology tell us about social cognition?

New Article: ''Post-Trauma: Towards a New Definition?''


Malabou's article ''Post-Trauma: Towards a New Definition?'' is published in Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change (Vol. 1) edited by Tom Cohen.

Download the article together with the volume for free here


New Article: ''Separation, Death, the Thing, Freud, Lacan, and the Missed Encounter''

Catherine Malabou's new article Separation, Death, the Thing, Freud, Lacan, and the Missed Encounter is published Avello Journal 1.2

To download the article click here

For the rest of the issue

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Plastique: Dynamics of Catherine Malabou


Volume 16 of theory@buffalo, "Plastique: Dynamics of Catherine Malabou," is currently being printed! Featuring essays by Arne De Boever, John Caputo, Lenora Hanson, Lisa Hollenbach, Adrian Johnston, Catherine Malabou, Carolyn Shread, Daniel W. Smith, and Ewa Plonowska Ziarek. 

Copies can be purchased via the order form available online at:http://wings.buffalo.edu/theory/orderform.pdf
http://wings.buffalo.edu/theory/orderform.pdf

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

French Theory Today

Alexander Galloway's pamphlet "Catherine Malabou, or The Commerce in Being" from the French Theory Today series is now available as a PDF file here:

http://cultureandcommunication.org/galloway/FTT/making.html

Monday, April 9, 2012

'Avello' Call for Papers: Malabou and Zizek on the Neuronal Unconscious



From the journal editor Jason Wakefield:


"After the success of issue one of volume one – around the aesthetic concept of the sublime; we are proud to announce issue one of volume two. Our second volume joins the firework display of the debate raging between our editorial board member Catherine Malabou and the celebrity psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek with regards to the concept of the neuronal unconscious. The original approach to this debate we would like to see developed is how this debate is abbreviated by (or affects) developments in today’s neuro-scientific research on the cerebral unconscious and / or eighteenth – century theological ethics.


The keys texts contributors must cite are contained in Catherine Malabou’s The New Wounded (2004), Slavoj Žižek’s In The End Times (2010) and David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779).


We invite contributions of articles between 5, 000 – 6, 000 words in length. Email your papers to avellopublishing@yahoo.co.uk for peer review. The deadline is July 1st 2012"




http://avellopublishing.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Malabou's ''Murée de l'être'' (2004)

Catherine Malabou's article 'Murée de l'être' was published in Le Vocation Philosophique (Bayard 2004)

First presented at Centre Pompidou, 5.22.2002

Download


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Malabou's Le Monde Interview "La philosophie a orchestré l'impossibilité de la femme comme sujet"

Catherine Malabou : "La philosophie a orchestré l'impossibilité de la femme comme sujet"


LE MONDE DES LIVRES | 17.12.09 


LINK


Catherine Malabou n'a manifestement pas le goût des territoires et des routines. En retrouvant la philosophe dans un café bondé et quelque peu bruyant du 1er arrondissement de Paris, on comprend aussitôt qu'elle préfère les espaces ouverts à la quiétude du logis, et la foule au confort de l'intimité.


C'est d'ailleurs très bien ainsi, et le dialogue n'en pâtira pas. Car on découvre aussi que cette intellectuelle protéiforme est une interlocutrice attentive et passionnée. Elle semble d'ailleurs plus intéressée par l'autre que par elle-même, curieuse d'épier ses réactions et de savoir ce qu'il pense de son travail. Surprise, presque, qu'on s'intéresse à elle.


Elle dira être née en Algérie, avouera être normalienne, évoquera la thèse sur Hegel qu'elle a rédigée sous la direction de Jacques Derrida (dont elle fut un "compagnon de route"). Elle enseigne également à l'université de Nanterre et aux Etats-Unis. Pour le reste ? "Vous savez, élude-t-elle, ma vie n'est pas très intéressante." On se tourne alors vers ses concepts, et à l'évidence, cela lui convient mieux. Celui de "plasticité", notamment, qu'elle a justement découvert chez Hegel et n'a cessé d'élaborer depuis, pour en explorer toutes les implications.


La plasticité, c'est l'aptitude à maintenir une identité tout en évoluant, en muant, en se transformant au contact de l'environnement et selon les aléas des circonstances. En neurologie, la plasticité cérébrale désigne la capacité qu'ont les synapses de moduler leur fonctionnement sous l'effet de l'expérience, donc de l'apprentissage, ce qui signifie que le cerveau n'est pas "rigide", mais évolutif, ouvert, en transformation constante.


Elle raconte en souriant que cette orientation décisive de son travail s'est dessinée initialement par hasard. "J'étais tombée sur un numéro de la revue La Recherche qui portait sur la mémoire, et dont l'un des articles évoquait la plasticité neuronale. Je me suis rendue compte que c'était exactement cela que je travaillais chez Hegel..."




Rencontre fortuite


Ce qui l'a intéressée dans cette rencontre fortuite, c'était d'y trouver "la traduction d'un concept dans les choses mêmes", l'incarnation imprévue d'un pur objet de pensée dans un problème concret. Et c'est dans cette optique qu'elle a mené de nombreux travaux sur les neurosciences (on mentionnera notamment Que faire de notre cerveau ?, Bayard, 2004 ; et La Chambre du milieu. De Hegel aux neurosciences, Hermann, 2009), cherchant à traiter par ce biais un problème à la fois politique et métaphysique, celui de la liberté. Comment penser cette dernière comme, non pas conquise contre l'inertie physique et le déterminisme naturel, mais directement inscrite dans le corps, immanente aux replis de la matière ?


Mais la question qui, aujourd'hui, habite Catherine Malabou avec le plus d'intensité est celle du féminisme. Sa réflexion prend sa source dans un constat radical. "La philosophie a orchestré l'impossibilité de la femme comme sujet." Et il lui semble que le discours dominant du féminisme, qui consiste en une critique de l'essentialisme et affirme qu'il n'y a pas d'identité propre du féminin, reconduit paradoxalement cette violence symbolique."Il est symptomatique, remarque-t-elle, qu'aucune femme ne se revendique vraiment philosophe, comme si elles ne s'en sentaient pas le droit."


Elle considère qu'il est nécessaire de sortir de cette impasse et d'assumer le fait qu'il existe quelque chose comme une spécificité du féminin. Et, puisque la femme s'est toujours définie par la violence qui lui était faite, il faut prendre au mot l'assimilation du féminin à un "rien d'être" et le redéfinir comme " essence vide mais résistante".


"Résistante" est ici le mot-clé. Catherine Malabou refuse avec la dernière énergie toute posture de victimisation. Lui demande-t-on d'évoquer son propre statut de femme-philosophe, les blocages qu'elle a pu rencontrer, la brutalité des luttes de territoire et autres bagarres de bac à sable dans lesquelles se complaît si souvent l'institution universitaire ? Elle commence à s'exécuter du bout des lèvres, puis écarte bien vite ces considérations d'un haussement d'épaules : "Ce n'est pas très grave, je me suis débrouillée." Il suffit de ne pas rentrer dans le jeu et, encore une fois, d'être mobile, plastique. En voyageant, par exemple. Et c'est sans doute la raison pour laquelle elle passe de plus en plus de temps aux Etats-Unis (où elle enseigne un semestre par an à l'université de Buffalo comme visiting professor).


Elle y a rencontré, dit-elle, une tout autre manière de poser les problèmes théoriques et politiques, d'être professeur, d'être militante, d'être féministe. C'est comme une véritable cure de relativisme culturel qu'elle évoque ses séjours américains. "On ne peut plus se réfugier derrière une illusoire tradition française d'excellence. On n'est plus le même quand on enseigne là-bas, et en anglais." Elle ajoutera dans un demi-sourire que "la gauche américaine est tout de même plus vivante que la nôtre"...


Il est un sujet, toutefois, qu'elle aborde avec, sinon une tristesse, du moins une déception perceptible : la "fin de non-recevoir" adressée par les politiques à La Grande Exclusion. L'urgence sociale, symptôme et thérapeutique (Bayard, 2009), l'ouvrage qu'elle a coécrit avec Xavier Emmanuelli, le fondateur du SAMU Social. Catherine Malabou confesse même, sur ce point, une certaine naïveté. "Je croyais que c'était un combat plus reconnu politiquement. Mais le problème des grands exclus n'est pas pris en compte en dehors du tintamarre télévisuel et des autoroutes de la charité." Il s'agissait justement pour elle de faire de la grande exclusion un problème proprement politique, et plus seulement un "sujet social", et elle ne peut dissimuler sa colère devant le fait que nos dirigeants fassent la sourde oreille.


"Des gens meurent dans la rue, conclut-elle lapidairement. Mais apparemment il y a des questions brûlantes qui ne sont pas brûlantes pour tout le monde."


Stéphane Legrand

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lecture: ''What is a Psychic Event? Freud and Contemporary Neurology on Trauma''

Malabou's lecture delivered at CRMEP by 26 Oct 2010 ''What is a Psychic Event? Freud and Contemporary Neurology on Trauma'' can be listened here

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Servanne Jollivet's ''Heidegger d’un change à l’autre''

Servanne Jollivet's paper ''Heidegger d’un change à l’autre: Catherine Malabou, Didier Franck, François Raffoul'' can be found here

***
Pas moins de trois ouvrages ont récemment marqué en France le paysage de la recherche sur Heidegger, témoignant d’un travail de fond, amorcé et en cours, qui vise à en appréhender la pensée en se confrontant à ce que peut avoir d’inouï, tout aussi neuf qu’irréductible, la tentative faite pour se rapporter à l’événement (Ereignis) dont elle-même procède, cœur jusqu’ici impensé de la philosophie. Trois ouvrages, ceux de Catherine Malabou, de Didier Franck et de François Raffoul qui s’efforcent, en leur singularité propre, d’approcher ce « jamais vu » La pensée de Heidegger serait ainsi « la... suite que la pensée de Heidegger nous donne à voir, cet « inouï » François Raffoul définit ainsi lui-même son... suite d’une recherche délibérément demeurée en chemin, sans pour autant céder à la facilité du « déjà connu », de l’illusion rétrospective ou de la démythification suspicieuse. Car la difficulté, redoutable, de telles entreprises s’inscrit bien de fait dans un rapport à l’intempestif, à la croisée du nouveau et de l’ancien, face à une pensée qui semble elle-même demeurer, saut ou continuité, dans l’indécidable. Chacune de ces approches tente ainsi d’y trouver sa voie, soutenue par un commentaire, minutieux et exégétique comme celui de Didier Franck, déployée en un parcours qui en traverse intégralement l’œuvre au fil de la « mienneté » dans le livre précis et non moins enlevé de François Raffoul, ou portée par l’approche plus libre, plus téméraire, de la philosophe Catherine Malabou, sorte d’étape en son propre chemin.

Review of Malabou's Inaugural Lecture at Kingston

At the Bodies in Movement blog. Here: http://bodiesinmovement.blogspot.com/2012/02/recorded-lecture-catherine-malabou.html

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Revue Philosophique's Special Issue on Derrida, edited by Malabou

Revue Philosophique's special issue on Derrida (1990, April-June, no.2) can be downloaded HERE



CONTENTS:


PARDES L'ÉCRITURE DE LA PUISSANCE(pp. 131-145)
Giorgio Agamben

DERRIDA ET LA VOIX DE SON MAITRE(pp. 147-166)
Rudolf Bernet

GRACE (SOIT RENDUE) A JACQUES DERRIDA(pp. 167-173)
Maurice Blanchot

LE FOU STOÏCIEN(pp. 175-184)
Rémi Brague

SIBBOLETH OU DE LA LETTRE(pp. 185-206)
Gérard Granel

LE JEU DE NIETZSCHE DANS DERRIDA(pp. 207-227)
Michel Haar

LE PLUS PUR DES BATARDS (L'AFFIRMATION SANS ISSUE)(pp. 229-238)
David Farrell Krell

S'ENTENDRE-PARLER(pp. 239-246)
Roger Laporte

LA MÉTAPHORE SANS MÉTAPHORE A propos de l' « Orestie »(pp. 247-268)
Nicole Loraux

JACQUES DERRIDA : ÉPREUVES D'ÉCRITURE(pp. 269-284)
Jean-François Lyotard

NOTES DU TRADUCTEUR(pp. 285-292)
Jean-François Lyotard

A COUPS DE DÉ(S)(pp. 293-302)
René Major

ÉCONOMIE DE LA VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE DE L'ÉCONOMIE (Derrida et Marx)(pp. 303-324)
Catherine Malabou

SENS ELLIPTIQUE(pp. 325-347)
Jean-Luc Nancy

DOUBLURES(pp. 349-360)
John Sallis

MÉMOIRES GAUCHES(pp. 361-394)
Bernard Stiegler

« VOIX » ET « PHÉNOMÈNE » DANS L'ONTOLOGIE FONDAMENTALE DE HEIDEGGER(pp. 395-408)
Jacques Taminiaux

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Malabou's Inaugurial Lecture: ''Continental Philosophy and the Brain: Towards a Critical Neuroscience'' (2.2.12)

Malabou's opening lecture can be listened here

***


Inaugural Lecture: Catherine Malabou

Date:2 February 2012 , 18:00 to 20:00
Location:Clattern Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Penrhyn Road campus
Fee:Free
Continental Philosophy and the Brain: 
Towards a Critical Neuroscience

Inaugural Lecture by Catherine Malabou (CRMEP)
Followed by a wine reception and book launch:
  • Catherine Malabou, Changing Difference, Polity Press
  • Catherine Malabou, The Heidegger Change, On the Fantastic in Philosophy, SUNY Press

Plastic Materialities: A Workshop with Catherine Malabou (Nov 4-5)

Theory Research Group will have a workshop with Malabou, details can be found here

Patricia Pisters' ''Plasticity and the Neuro-Image''

Pisters' response to What Should We Do with Our Brains? is available here

Catherine Malabou’s work makes a strong and important intervention in (re)connecting the materiality of physics and the immateriality of metaphysics through the concept of plasticity. In the first part of my response I would like to sketch a trajectory of this concept – as it is a “plastic” concept in itself. In doing this I hope to do justice to the radical moves which Malabou’s investigations entail, even if I will only be able to look at the developments of the concept in big steps. The implications of this radical turn might be even bigger than Malabou herself suggests, but that is something for the discussion. In the second part of my response I would like to look at a concrete example of what I call a “neuro-image,” contemporary cinema’s response to, resonance with and reflections on neurological and digital plasticity.