Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Neofinalism

2016
Author:

Raymond Ruyer
Translated by Alyosha Edlebi
Introduction by Mark B. N. Hansen

Neofinalism

The masterwork of an influential French philosopher, available in English for the first time

Unfazed by the idea of philosophy ending where science began, post-WWII French philosopher Raymond Ruyer elaborated a singular, nearly unclassifiable metaphysics and reactivated philosophy’s capacity to speculate on its canonical questions: What exists? How are we to account for life? What is the status of subjectivity? And how is freedom possible?

Raymond Ruyer's work is remarkably prescient and provocative, providing a profound philosophy of life and evolution that deserves to be re-read today alongside contemporary vitalisms and new materialisms. This is a significant text in the history and philosophy of science, skillfully translated by Alyosha Edlebi.

Claire Colebrook, Pennsylvania State University

Although little known today, Raymond Ruyer was a post–World War II French philosopher whose works and ideas were significant influences on major thinkers, including Deleuze, Guattari, and Simondon. However, with none of his books available in English, Ruyer has until now generally appeared only as a beguiling reference in the works of more famous philosophers. With the publication of this translation of Neofinalism, considered by many to be Ruyer’s magnum opus, English-language readers can see at last how this seminal mind allied philosophy with science.

Unfazed by the idea of philosophy ending where science began, Ruyer elaborated a singular, nearly unclassifiable metaphysics and reactivated philosophy’s capacity to reflect on its canonical questions: What exists? How are we to account for life? What is the status of subjectivity? And how is freedom possible? Hailed by Deleuze as “the latest disciple of Leibniz,” Ruyer allied philosophy with science in a unique fashion. His work melded new scientific discoveries with philosophical speculation in a way that departed radically from other thinkers in the continental tradition.

Neofinalism offers a systematic and lucidly argued treatise that deploys the innovative concepts of self-survey, form, and absolute surface to fashion a theory of the virtual and the trans-spatial. It also makes a compelling plea for a renewed appreciation of the creative activity that organizes spatiotemporal structures and makes possible the emergence of real beings in a dynamic universe.

Neofinalism

Raymond Ruyer (1902–1987) was a professor of philosophy at the Université de Nancy. He was the author of over twenty books in French, including Elements of Psychobiology, The Genesis of Living Forms, and Cybernetics and the Origin of Information.

Alyosha Edlebi is the translator of Theory of Identities by François Laruelle and Science Fiction and Extro-Science Fiction by Quentin Meillassoux.

Mark B. N. Hansen is professor of literature at Duke University.

Neofinalism

Raymond Ruyer's work is remarkably prescient and provocative, providing a profound philosophy of life and evolution that deserves to be re-read today alongside contemporary vitalisms and new materialisms. This is a significant text in the history and philosophy of science, skillfully translated by Alyosha Edlebi.

Claire Colebrook, Pennsylvania State University

Raymond Ruyer is a rare, unsung genius, equally at home in the biological, physical, and technical sciences as he is in philosophy and the humanities. Neofinalism is one of those books that change the way we think. He draws our attention to the fact that matter and life are not just random collections but are matter directed by an ideal, a memory that informs all primary forms, all forms of consciousness. More than any other thinker, he opens up the concept of consciousness to all its inhuman ingredients and orientations.

Elizabeth Grosz, Duke University

Neofinalism

Contents
Introduction: Form and Phenomenon in Raymond Ruyer's Philosophy
Mark B. N. Hansen
1. The Axiological Cogito
2. Description of Finalist Activity
3. Finalist Activity and Organic Life
4. The Contradictions of Biological Antifinalism
5. Finalist Activity and the Nervous System
6. The Brain and the Embryo
7. Signification of Equipotentiality
8. The Reciprocal Illusion of Incarnation and “Material” Existence
9. “Absolute Surfaces” and Absolute Domains of Survey
10. Absolute Domains and Bonds
11. Absolute Domains and Finality
12. The Region of the Transspatial and the Transindividual
13. The Levels of the Transspatial and Finalist Activity
14. The Beings of the Physical World and the Fibrous Structure of the Universe
15. The Neo-Materialist Theories
16. Neo-Darwinism and Natural Selection
17. Neo-Darwinism and Genetics
18. Organicism and the Dynamism of Finality
19. Psycho-Lamarckism
20. Theology of Finality
Summary
Translator's Afterword: The Ends of Thought
Alyosha Edlebi
Notes
Index