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  1. Bernard Stiegler: Friendship and Fellowship

    Bernard Stiegler: Friendship and Fellowship

    On Bernard Stiegler - Philosopher of Friendship


    When I first met Bernard Stiegler, he was starting his program in Plaine Commune, a suburb of Paris that mixes misery of all kinds with young and creative vitality.

    Abstract

    "What I love, and those whom I love, you, that is to say us in so far as we are capable of forming a we, all this I love, and I love them, and I love you infinitely" (Bernard Steigler April 1952- August 2020).
    When Bernard Stiegler writes "I love you" in the quote above, he openly provokes us to question or experience the meaning or contact of these words. He also invites us to question the relationship between a thinker’s life and their thought. For Stiegler, they were inextricable. His life was one that focused on friendship but not friendships at a purely social level but ones that produced philosophy, politics, and existential truths.
    Bringing together scholars who knew Stiegler, including Shaj Mohan, Achille Mbembe, Divya Dwivedi, Peter Szendy, and Emily Apter, this volume provides an original - and personal - insight into his life and philosophy. Each piece gives a sense of the wide range of Stiegler’s work and how it affected the praxis of the philosopher in different parts of the world.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. 2024. “Bernard Stiegler: Friendship and Fellowship.” In On Bernard Stiegler - Philosopher of Friendship, edited by Jean-Luc Nancy. Bloomsbury. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/on-bernard-stiegler-9781350329034/
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  2. Indian Philosophy, Indian Revolution: On Caste and Politics

    Indian Philosophy, Indian Revolution: On Caste and Politics


    In their brave and challenging book, grounded in political science and the Continental philosophical tradition, Divya Dwivedi and Shaj Mohan engage with the resurgence of upper-caste supremacism in India and its justification via the legacy of ‘the Aryan doctrine’ and Hindu nationalism.

    Abstract

    In their brave and challenging book, grounded in political science and the Continental philosophical tradition, Divya Dwivedi and Shaj Mohan engage with the resurgence of upper-caste supremacism in India and its justification via the legacy of “the Aryan doctrine” and Hindu nationalism. Their essays were written from 2016 to 2023, when India’s democratic institutions were subverted and caste-based oppression overflowed into public space―killing and menacing the lower castes of all religions, minorities, women, students and the media.
    This book chronicles the ascending oppression of democracy in India, a veritable biography of authoritarianism. Dwivedi and Mohan reject simplistic accounts of India’s politics as the opposition between “Hindu majoritarian nationalism” and “the religious minorities”, or between “Hindu fundamentalism” and “religious pluralism”. They propose instead a genuinely transformative account of Indian politics, grounded in political philosophy and in the lower- caste majority position
    What does revolution mean where the constitutional promise of equality is betrayed daily by the millennia- old inequality of caste? What does politics mean where religion serves as the justification for descent- based enslavement and indignity? Revolution has only one sense in India, the annihilation of caste; and “citizen” has only one sense, the people of the state shedding caste and racism.

  3. Mathematical modeling in the study of organisms and their parts

    Mathematical modeling in the study of organisms and their parts

    Systems Biology 2nd edition


    How do mathematical models convey meaning? What is required to build a model? An introduction for biologists and philosophers.

    Abstract

    Mathematical modeling is a very powerful tool to understand natural phenomena. Such a tool carries its own assumptions and should always be used critically. In this chapter we highlight the key ingredients and steps of modeling and focus on their biological interpretation. In particular, we discuss the role of theoretical principles in writing models. We also highlight the meaning and interpretation of equations. The main aim of this chapter is to facilitate the interaction between biologists and mathematical modelers. We focus on the case of cell proliferation and motility in the context of multicellular organisms.

    Keywords: Equations, Mathematical modeling, Parameters, Proliferation, Theory

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. 2024. “Mathematical Modeling in the Study of Organisms and Their Parts.” In Systems Biology 2nd Edition, edited by Mariano Bizzarri. Methods in Molecular Biology. https://link.springer.com/book/9781071635766
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  4. Plaine Commune, contributive learning territory

    Plaine Commune, contributive learning territory

    Memories for the Future: Thinking with Bernard Stiegler


    The contributive economy is a strategy to disrupt technological disruption by developing knowledge in all its forms. This program has led to several concrete working groups in Plaine Commune.

    Abstract

    The program Plaine Commune, contributive learning territory, started in late 2016. It emerged from the theoretical work of Bernard Stiegler and the Ars Industrialis group. The contributive economy is a strategy to disrupt technological disruption by developing knowledge in all its forms. This program has led to several concrete working groups in Plaine Commune, while others are still developing. Mainly, work is taking place on the economy, digital urbanism, and young children’s development in the context of the overuse of digital media. Here, we focus on the group on digital media and young children’s development and how academics and inhabitant works integrate.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. 2024. “Plaine Commune, Contributive Learning Territory.” In Memories for the Future: Thinking with Bernard Stiegler, edited by Bart Buseyne, Georgios Tsagdis, and Paul Willemarck. Bloomsbury. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/bernard-stiegler-9781350410459/
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  5. Modeling organogenesis from biological first principles

    Modeling organogenesis from biological first principles

    Organization in Biology: Foundational Enquiries into a Scientific Blindspot


    Here we discuss the application and articulation of biological principles for mathematical modeling of morphogenesis in the case of mammary ductal morphogenesis, with an emphasis on the default state.

    Abstract

    Unlike inert objects, organisms and their cells have the ability to initiate activity by themselves, and thus change their properties or states even in the absence of an external cause. This crucial difference led us to search for principles suitable for the study organisms. We propose that cells follow the default state of proliferation with variation and motility, a principle of biological inertia. This means that in the presence of sufficient nutrients, cells will express their default state. We also propose a principle of variation that addresses two central features of organisms, variation and historicity. To address interdependence between parts, we use a third principle, the principle of organization: more specifically, the notion of the closure of constraints. Within this theoretical framework, constraints are specific theoretical entities defined by their relative stability with respect to the processes they constrain. Constraints are mutually dependent in an organized system and act on the default state.
    Here we discuss the application and articulation of these principles for mathematical modeling of morphogenesis in a specific case, that of mammary ductal morphogenesis, with an emphasis on the default state. Our model has both a biological component, the cells, and a physical component, the matrix that contains collagen fibers. Cells are agents that move and proliferate unless constrained; they exert mechanical forces that i) act on collagen fibers and ii) on other cells. As fibers are organized, they constrain the cells’ ability to move and to proliferate. This model exhibits a circularity that can be interpreted in terms of the closure of constraints. Implementing our mathematical model shows that constraints to the default state are sufficient to explain the formation of mammary epithelial structures. Finally, the success of this modeling effort suggests a step-wise approach whereby additional constraints imposed by the tissue and the organism can be examined in silico and rigorously tested by in vitro and in vivo experiments, in accordance with the organicist perspective we embrace.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël, and Ana Soto. 2023. “Modeling Organogenesis from Biological First Principles.” In Organization in Biology: Foundational Enquiries into a Scientific Blindspot, edited by Matteo Mossio. Springer Nature. https://link.springer.com/book/9783031389672
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  6. Remarques sur les corps

    Remarques sur les corps

    Jean-Luc Nancy : Anastasis de la pensée


    Dans ce texte, je propose trois ouvertures à partir des réflexions de Jean-Luc Nancy concernant le corps, notamment dans Corpus et L’Intrus.

    Abstract

    Dans ce texte, je propose trois ouvertures à partir des réflexions de Jean-Luc Nancy concernant le corps, notamment dans Corpus et L’Intrus.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. 2023. “Remarques Sur Les Corps.” In Jean-Luc Nancy : Anastasis de La Pensée, edited by Divya Dwivedi, Jérôme Lèbre, Maël Montévil, and François Warin. Hermann. https://www.editions-hermann.fr/livre/jean-luc-nancy-anastasis-de-la-pensee-divya-dwivedi
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  7. Comment le hasard façonne le vivant ?

    Comment le hasard façonne le vivant ?

    Figurer le hasard : questions de théorie


    En biologie, le hasard est une notion essentielle pour comprendre les variations ; cependant, cette notion n'est généralement pas conceptualisée avec précision. Nous apportons ici quelques éléments allant dans ce sens.

    Abstract

    La physique possède plusieurs concepts de hasard qui reposent néanmoins tous sur l’idée que les possibilités sont données d’avance. En revanche, un nombre croissant de biologistes théoriciens cherchent à introduire la notion de nouvelles possibilités, c’est-à-dire des modifications de l’espace des possibles - une idée déjà discutée par Bergson et qui n’a pas été véritablement poursuivie scientifiquement jusqu’à récemment (sauf, en un sens, dans la systématique, c’est-à-dire la méthode de classification des êtres vivants).
    Alors, le hasard opère au niveau des possibilités elles-mêmes et est à la base de l’historicité des objets biologiques. Nous soulignons que ce concept de hasard n’est pas seulement pertinent lorsqu’on cherche à prédire l’avenir. Au contraire, il façonne les organisations biologiques et les écosystèmes. À titre d’illustration, nous soutenons qu’une question cruciale de l’Anthropocène est la disruption des organisations biologiques que l’histoire naturelle a structurées, conduisant à un effondrement des possibilités biologiques.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. n.d. “Comment Le Hasard Façonne Le Vivant ?” In Figurer Le Hasard : Questions de Théorie, edited by Anne Duprat and others
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  8. Normativité et infidélités du milieu : actualités biologiques de Canguilhem

    Normativité et infidélités du milieu : actualités biologiques de Canguilhem

    La philosophie et ses dehors


    Quelques remarques sur la pertinence de la philosophie de Canguilhem sur les enjeux contemporains, de la medecine par la preuve à la disruption des organisations biologiques.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. 2023. “Normativité et Infidélités Du Milieu : Actualités Biologiques de Canguilhem.” In La Philosophie et Ses Dehors. Centre Lauragais d’Études Scientifiques
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  9. How does randomness shape the living?

    How does randomness shape the living?

    Figuring Chance: Questions of Theory


    In biology, randomness is a critical notion to understand variations; however this notion is typically not conceptualized precisely. Here we provide some elements in that direction.

    Abstract

    Physics has several concepts of randomness that build on the idea that the possibilities are pre-given. By contrast, an increasing number of theoretical biologists attempt to introduce new possibilities, that is to say, changes of possibility space – an idea already discussed by Bergson and that was not genuinely pursued scientifically until recently (except, in a sense, in systematics, i.e, the method to classify living beings).
    Then, randomness operates at the level of possibilities themselves and is the basis of the historicity of biological objects. We emphasize that this concept of randomness is not only relevant when aiming to predict the future. Instead, it shapes biological organizations and ecosystems. As an illustration, we argue that a critical issue of the Anthropocene is the disruption of the biological organizations that natural history has shaped, leading to a collapse of biological possibilities.

    Citation
    Montévil, Maël. n.d. “How Does Randomness Shape the Living?” In Figuring Chance: Questions of Theory, edited by Anne Duprat and others. Routledge
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  10. Understanding living beings by analogy with computers or understanding computers as an emanation of the living

    Understanding living beings by analogy with computers or understanding computers as an emanation of the living

    Trópoς. Rivista di ermeneutica e critica filosofica


    A new look at theoretical computer sciences by changing perspective with a biological approach.

    Abstract

    The analogy between living beings and computers was introduced with circumspection by Schrödinger and has been widely propagated since, rarely with a precise technical meaning. Critics of this perspective are numerous. We emphasize that this perspective is mobilized to justify what may be called a regressive reductionism by comparison with physics or the Cartesian method.
    Other views on the living are possible, and we focus on an epistemological and theoretical framework where historicity is central, and the regularities susceptible to mathematization are constraints whose existence is fundamentally precarious and historically contingent.
    We then propose to reinterpret the computer, no longer as a Turing machine but as constituted by constraints. This move allows us to understand that computation in the sense of Church-Turing is only a part of the theoretical determination of what actually happens in a computer when considering them in their larger theoretical context where historicity is also central.

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