Friday, April 18, 2014

Graham Harman interview with Adrian Johnston

"Graham – Along with Žižek you have worked closely with another leading
European philosopher, Catherine Malabou. What has been Malabou’s
significance for you, and what is the most important thing present-day
philosophy can learn from her? "

"Žižek was responsible for first drawing my attention to Malabou’s work—
specifically, her groundbreaking 2004 text Que faire de notre cerveau? (What
Should We Do with our Brain?). It was around 2006 that I read this book, which
was a real experience that compelled me promptly to devour the rest of her
published writings then available. In April 2007, I had the opportunity to meet
Malabou at an event at Cornell University at which we both were speaking.
Quite fortunately, we immediately hit it off in person. And, intellectually, we
recognized each other as having a tremendous amount in common. We both
operate at the intersections of philosophy, biology, and psychoanalysis and, in
particular, jointly are pursuing immanent critical engagements with the life
sciences anchored in the history of European philosophy generally and the
tradition of (post-)Hegelian dialectical materialism especially. Apart from Žižek
himself, few other contemporary philosophers besides Malabou and myself
conjure with this specific array of multiple disciplinary resources. That alone
already provides Malabou and me with a feeling of kinship and solidarity. This
feeling is further reinforced for the two of us, with our similar insistences on the
significance of various things biological, by our shared struggles against the
antinaturalist tendencies continuing to hold general sway amongst Continental
philosophers and their fellow travelers in the theoretical humanities.
Soon after meeting in 2007, Malabou and I decided we wanted to co-author a
book together. This decision initiated the dual brainstorming process that
eventually led to Self and Emotional Life. In my introduction to it, I tell the story of
our meeting and collaboration in more detail than here. Moreover, therein, I also
spell out how Malabou and I, while sharing so much in common, also pointedly
disagree with each other on a number of crucial issues; many of these cluster
around questions concerning the consequences of neurobiological discoveries
for psychoanalysis both theoretical/metapsychological and practical/clinical.
Loosely speaking, Malabou is more anti-, and me more pro-, psychoanalytic. The
penultimate (eleventh) chapter of Adventures in Transcendental Materialism
(“The Real Unconscious: Malabou, Soler, and Psychical Life After Lacan”)
amounts to an additional installment after Self and Emotional Life addressing
some of the disagreements structuring the latter book. I happily anticipate that
Malabou and I will remain in dialogue for many years to come".

Lots more about Catherine's work in here.

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