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  1. Disruption, care and knowledge

    What does it mean and what would it take to: “establish, without hierarchy, all “that” which cannot be stolen from us: silence, a future, caring for the dead, daily freedoms, quality of life, physical and psychic health, long spans of time, the possibility of living and becoming; but also the ways that make it possible to prevent such thefts from taking place: proof of care, a climate of care, field surveys, the right to experiment, the productivity of vulnerability, and, more generally, furtivity—the clever and imaginative ways of dealing with life's and systems' hurdles” (Cynthia Fleury and Antoine Fenoglio 2022)? This colloquium is devoted to the need for imagining other ways of thinking health and care, ethical approach to health, patient-oriented and institutional care, interrogating medicalization and equally the chasms between the clinic and the world in a time of exacerbating inequalities and erosion of welfare.

  2. Technology and biology in the anthropocene: Overcoming the stasis

    Technology and sciences, notably biology, have entered a stasis whereby the nature of the answers provided are remarkably unchanging. For example, most of biological technoscientific research aims to fix problem by finding a molecule that would interact with an intended target. We argue that this stasis is the result of a decline in theoretical work, and notably a weak relationship with philosophy. Then theoretical shortcomings and contradiction are no longer overcome by renewed perspectives, instead outdated frameworks remain undead leading to inconsistent discourses. To overcome this stasis, we propose to introduce a bastardized epistemology, both in biology and technology, that would articulate both systemic and historical reasoning.

  3. How should we think scientifically about biological objects?

    • M Montévil
    • en
    • Recording available
    • Seminar of the history, philosophy and biology teaching lab
    • History, Philosophy and Biology Teaching Lab, Universidade Federal da Bahia

    Scholars used Aristotelian reasoning in combination with theology to understand living beings, leading to natural theology, where god was the guarantee of biological norms. Transformism, notably Darwin, provided an alternative to this view; however, this alternative had to be acknowledged by scientists when the model of science was classical mechanics. It followed that thinking about biological objects remained similar to physics thinking, where norms are laws, or at least invariants and symmetries. The recurring analogies with technological objects, recently computers, as viewed by engineers (and not users or anthropology) also contributed to this theoretical and epistemological bias and confusion. On the opposite, we can think about biological objects differently, on renewed theoretical bases, by starting from theoretical principles that are sound in this field. Then, instead of fast analogies, numerous new questions, methods, and reasoning have to be fleshed out.

  4. The anastasis of philosophy — seminar

    The multiple crises of philosophy (conceptual, institutional, vocational, political, economic) which have constituted a situation of more than crisis—a criticalisation—from which philosophy will not be able to recover into anything resembling what it was in the past. However, these moments of crises also offer a chance to question what were properly philosophical evils and initiate an inventive era of philosophy which will be able to comprehend a new relation with other disciplines including the sciences, psychoanalysis, politics, and technology. The analytic of the stasis of philosophy began with the tradition of deconstruction through Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Bernard Stiegler. Today we already have glimpses of philosophy in anastasis, or the experience of philosophy coming over stasis. The four speakers will outline and discuss the other beginning of philosophy.

  5. Texts as technologies of community building: The contributive research approach

    The concept of ‘contributive research’ was introduced by Bernard Stiegler for the multiple, bifurcating ways communities of care are created and cultivated through the production of knowledge, as opposed to the consumption of information. From this perspective, participation in a community constitutes a transformative experience of trans-individuation, oriented toward the re-appropriation of technological artefacts as an ethico-political response to the global challenges of the Anthropocene. The concept shares many qualities with other strands of interventionist research such as collaborative, dialogical, action, practice and participatory research. In this virtual salon we intend to investigate the relevance of the ‘contributive research’ approach for the field of theoretical psychology, suggesting an open, experimental and hermeneutic process of trans-individuation where communities are built through the reflection on and discussion of scientific, aesthetic and other textual representations. According to this approach, and following Stiegler’s theory of grammatization, texts are technological artefacts which constitute communities by rendering knowledge technically reproducible and simultaneously subject to differentiation and bifurcation. We do not aim to present cases of the ‘application’ of contributive research as a ‘method’. Rather, we conceptualize 4 cases of the interaction of emergent communal care and agency with research and with other forms of representation.

  6. Fundamental theory and epistemology of biology, and applications to the anthropocene

    Biology is a science where, evolution possibly put aside, theories are not significantly developed. Nevertheless, at the theoretical and epistemological level, we argue that biology raises major challenges, notably in contrast with the theorizations of physics. In a nutshell, biology has to accommodate objects endowed with historicity: the ways they live are the result of their history, and they continue to generate history by the appearance of functional novelties. At the same time, they have organizations that require systemic understanding. We will introduce some aspects of this theoretical situation and show how it leads to peculiar vulnerabilities of the living that have acute manifestations in the Anthropocene. In that regard, we will discuss disruptions in biology, from ecosystems to early cognitive and psychological human development, and some responses to them.

  7. C2: Historicity, biological organizations and their disruptions

    In biology, despite the elements exposed in the previous session, the epistemology of physics remains pervasive. For example, mathematical models are typically designed and analyzed like in physics, from population genetic to biological morphogenesis. Then, we should rethink theorizing in biology to accommodate historicity but still leverage some methods coming from physics. Articulating both epistemologies opens a wealth of challenges and methodological opportunities. To illustrate this, we discuss what is often informally called disruption in biology and is a significant part of both biodiversity loss and public health issues. These disruptions require both the insight of historical and systemic thinking.

  8. C1: What is this animal? How the past does (and does not) define the present in biology

    In biology, the question of origins often refers to the origin of life; however, it is far broader and, in a sense, has far more pervasive ramifications. All organisms carry differences and can be the beginning of a new lineage. This perspective is central to the phylogenetic classification of living beings. In this course, we will discuss this approach from an epistemological angle. We will also show that, beyond the specific method, its epistemology permeates biology, for example, the reporting of experiments. Overall, we will discuss how the historical nature of biological objects can be used as a lever to define them theoretically and how this approach differs profoundly from the ones in physics.

  9. Organization, historicity and causality

    Two models dominate reflection on causality, namely mechanisms and physics. The former focuses on very local processes, while the latter focuses on ahistorical systems. We argue that neither is a sufficient framework for biology. Instead, in biology, parts of a system collectively maintain each other, which enables us to understand how biological systems maintain themselves. This perspective corresponds notably to autopoiesis and closure of constraints, and is sometimes called organization. In this view, the part maintain each other, leading to circularities. It implies that a systemic mode of thinking is critical to understand these phenomena. However, they are also historical: the organization they maintain is the singular result of evolution, and they change over time. It follows that causality in biology has two distinct features. First, it has a circular dimension: how do singular organizations maintain themselves? Second, it has to include historical changes: how do we understand the appearance of novelty?

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