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The Groningen Lectures on Modes of Reasoning – The Courage of Truth -Part I
Opening Lecture by Prof. Michael Dillon, 25 Sept. 2013

The Groningen Lectures on Modes of Reasoning are a space for world leading intellectuals to reflect on historical and contemporary modes of reasoning order and power. Speakers are invited to address the topic from their own area of expertise and to engage with questions from a selected audience. Lectures are held annually. A programme can be found here

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Hear Michel Foucault’s Lecture “The Culture of the Self,” Presented in English at UC Berkeley (1983), Open Culture, August 6th, 2014

Michel Foucault’s time in the United States in the last years of his life, particularly his time as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, proved to be extraordinarily productive in the development of his theoretical understanding of what he saw as the central question facing the contemporary West: the question of the self. In his 1983 Berkeley lectures in English on “The Culture of the Self,” Foucault stated and restated the question in a variety of ways—“What are we in our actuality?,” “What are we today?”—and his investigations amount to “an alternative to the traditional philosophical questions: What is the world? What is man? What is truth? What is knowledge? How can we know something? And so on.” So write the editors of the posthumously published 1988 essay collection Technologies of the Self, titled after a lecture Foucault delivered at the University of Vermont in 1982.

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Michelle Murphy, The economization of life, parts 1 and 2 (2014)
Conversation recorded with Michelle Murphy in Toronto on June 21, 2014

Link to audio and further info

This conversation with Michelle Murphy is divided into two parts:

BIOPOLITICAL FEMINISM: The first part introduces Foucault’s concept of biopolitics and applies it to forms of economization of life particularly in relation to female bodies. Paraphrasing Foucault, Michelle affirms that governmental capitalism needs for “some must not to be born so that future others will live more consumptibly, productively in the logic of macro-economy .” She thus unfolds the political history of regulation and ‘marketing’ of reproduction and contraception that organizes such an economization of life at a scale of a population. Further, we discuss of Michelle’s concept, “The Girl” as the problematic current vessel of financial investment in the context of imperial humanitarianism.

CHEMICAL INFRASTRUCTURES: The second part considers the body as topological, blurring the limits between inside and outside and, following Peter Sloterdijk think of it as a “being-in-the-breathable.” Michelle has been working on the elaboration of the concept of “chemical infrastructures” to think of our era as the Anthropocene: a time when all atmospheres are fundamentally manufactured (deliberately or not) by human activity. Following Spinoza and his approach of the Genesis’s apple, we talk of our ignorance, as humans, of what ecologies really are, and how we can start thinking of them as ethical systems rather than moralistic ones.

Michelle Murphy is a Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, with graduate appointments in Science and Technology Studies at York University and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at U of T. She is an organizer of the Toronto Technoscience Salon. I am also coordinator of the Technoscience Research Unit. She is the author of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience (Duke UP, 2012) and Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke UP, 2006), as well as the co-editor of Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Exposure in Modern Environments, Osiris v. 19 (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

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Society of the Query #2
Session 4: Reflections on Search

Antoinette Rouvroy (BE): Algorithmic Governmentality and the End(s) of Critique
Conference Day 2 (8 November 2013)

Algorithmic personalization is characterised primarily by the two following movements: a) dissipation of all forms of transcendent ‘scale’, ‘benchmark’, or hierarchy, in favour of an immanent normativity evolving in real time; b) avoidance of any confrontation with individuals (meaning-making subjects) whose opportunities for subjectivation have become increasingly scarce. This dual movement is the consequence of the focus on relations rather than substances in contemporary statistics or data mining. To what extent are these two aspects of the ‘algorithmic personalization’ – emancipatory as they may appear with regard to ‘old’ hierarchies and with regard to ‘old’ conceptions of the subject as a stable, unitary entity – conducive to new processes of individuation? Simondon and Deleuze-Guattari show that the possibility of becoming and of processes of individuation through relations necessarily require disparities – a heterogeneity of scales, a multiplicity of regimes of existence that algorithmic personalization is continuously stifling. Algorithmic personalization, folding up individuation processes on the individual monad, tends to foreclose the emancipatory perspectives of these philosophers. In the ‘big data era’, the goal of individual and collective individuation is inseparable from an epistemic and semiotic critique of the algorithmic production of what counts as real.

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Colin Koopman, “”New Media, New Power? From Biopower to Infopower,” Sept. 21 2013. Frontiers of New Media Symposium, University of Utah.

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Wendy Grace — We Nietzscheans: Foucault and Deleuze, Difference, and the Battle to Think Philosophically Otherwise.

France occupies a singular position in debates about Nietzsche, and Foucault and Deleuze are invariably singled out as French Nietzscheans par excellence. But what does this label “Nietzschean” really mean? Is it useful or misleading for understanding the respective trajectories of Foucault and Deleuze, not to mention the nebulous umbrella term “post-structuralism”? Many commentators have assumed that Foucault and Deleuze were propelled by the same Nietzsche, a man who lived during the 1870s and 1880s as a “philosopher.” I argue that this locks Nietzsche into the history of philosophy, overlooking his role inaugurating a history of Western culture, otherwise known in Foucauldian terms as the history of systems of thought. As Foucault argued during the Colloque de Royaumont in July 1964, “The history of philosophy should not be confused with an archaeology of thought.”

Moreover, the philosophical understanding more readily suits Deleuze’s appropriation of Nietzsche as philosophe maudit – even granting the difficulty of pinning down a Nietzschean system in the first place. But while Deleuze reads Nietzsche as a “counter philosopher”, Foucault admires and emulates Nietzsche in a role I would call “ethnographer of the present.”

Of all concepts associated with post-structuralism, “difference” has curiously evaded critical scrutiny. But difference has opposite if not contradictory meanings in Deleuze and Foucault. Essentially for Deleuze, difference is internal to the individual, immediate (non-representational), and elucidated through a strictly philosophical method. For Foucault, on the other hand, difference is external, dependent on representational truth regimes for its effects, and made manifest through various interpretative strategies broadly ethnographic and comparative.

Note from Wendy Grace to Foucault News

For those interested, this abstract refers to a draft of a paper that I subsequently developed for the Special Issue of Foucault Studies (April 2014) on the topic of Foucault and Deleuze, edited by Morar, Nail & Smith. My paper “Making a Difference with Nietzsche” is one of seven included in the issue.

Needless to say, this paper too only scratches the surface of a fascinating history of the concepts of force, will and power, Nietzsche’s take up of them, and the subsequent readings by Deleuze and Foucault. I’d like to say: “watch this space” but progress is glacial at this stage – climate change will probably get there faster.

Wendy Grace holds an Honorary Research position at both the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland. She completed her doctorate at UWA in 2010, with the thesis Michel Foucault’s Power: A History of Sexuality Beyond the Desires of French Psychoanalysis. She has published an article on Foucault and Deleuze in Critical Inquiry (2009), a chapter on “Foucault and the Freudians” in the Blackwell Companion to Foucault (2013), and is the author, with Alec McHoul of A Foucault Primer (1992). Wendy has taught on Foucault and 20th century French intellectual history at UWA, as well as the history of anthropological ideas at Murdoch University. Her research interests include 18th and 19th century French and German intellectual history. Her current research relates to Foucault’s account of the Malthusian Couple within the history of heterosexuality, with particular focus on the scientific uncoupling of pleasure and procreation in the 19th century.

 

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Un régard américain sur Michel Foucault avec le sociologue Richard Sennett

durée : 00:30:51 – LA SUITE DANS LES IDEES – par : Sylvain BOURMEAU – Le 25 juin 2014 cela fera 30 ans que Michel Foucault est mort.. A cette occasion et pour lui rendre hommage, France Culture lui consacre une semaine à l’antenne (du 14 au 22 juin). Pour La suite dans les idées, c’est le sociologue américain Richard Sennett qui parle de son ami qu’il a rencontré à New-York à la fin des années 70, avant sa maladie, lorsque Michel Foucault venait à New-York … – réalisé par : Bruno Sourcis

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