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The Technique of Thought

Nancy, Laruelle, Malabou, and Stiegler after Naturalism

2019
Author:

Ian James

The Technique of Thought

Interrogating the work of four contemporary French philosophers to rethink philosophy’s relationship to science and science’s relationship to reality

The Technique of Thought explores the relationship between philosophy and science as articulated in the work of four contemporary French thinkers—Jean-Luc Nancy, François Laruelle, Catherine Malabou, and Bernard Stiegler. Situating their writings within both contemporary scientific debates and the philosophy of science, Ian James elaborates a philosophical naturalism that is notably distinct from the Anglo-American tradition.

This book is a tour de force: it remains faithful to the thought of the authors studied whilst at the same time putting forward its own distinct philosophy. It also opens up ways of bringing together philosophy and science that have hitherto been lacking in contemporary continental thought.

Aurélien Barrau, Laboratory of Subatomic Physics and Cosmology, Université Grenoble Alpes

The Technique of Thought explores the relationship between philosophy and science as articulated in the work of four contemporary French thinkers—Jean-Luc Nancy, François Laruelle, Catherine Malabou, and Bernard Stiegler. Situating their writings within both contemporary scientific debates and the philosophy of science, Ian James elaborates a philosophical naturalism that is notably distinct from the Anglo-American tradition. The naturalism James proposes also diverges decisively from the ways in which continental philosophy has previously engaged with the sciences. He explores the technical procedures and discursive methods used by each of the four thinkers as distinct “techniques of thought” that approach scientific understanding and knowledge experimentally.

Moving beyond debates about the constructed nature of scientific knowledge, The Technique of Thought argues for a strong, variably configured, and entirely novel scientific realism. By bringing together post-phenomenological perspectives concerning individual or collective consciousness and first-person qualitative experience with science’s focus on objective and third-person quantitative knowledge, James tracks the emergence of a new image of the sciences and of scientific practice.

Stripped of aspirations toward total mastery of the universe or a “grand theory of everything,” this renewed scientific worldview, along with the simultaneous reconfiguration of philosophy’s relationship to science, opens up new ways of interrogating immanent reality.

The Technique of Thought

Ian James is fellow in French at Downing College, Cambridge. He is author of The New French Philosophy, Paul Virilio, and The Fragmentary Demand: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy.

The Technique of Thought

This book is a tour de force: it remains faithful to the thought of the authors studied whilst at the same time putting forward its own distinct philosophy. It also opens up ways of bringing together philosophy and science that have hitherto been lacking in contemporary continental thought.

Aurélien Barrau, Laboratory of Subatomic Physics and Cosmology, Université Grenoble Alpes

Rethinking the relation between philosophy and science, and written in dialogue with a wide range of scientific discourses, Ian James situates an incisive series of postphenomenological and postdeconstructive readings in light of Anglophone traditions of naturalism and science writing. The Technique of Thought is a remarkably lucid and accessible volume that will both initiate and transform scholarly debates across numerous disciplinary fields and traditions.

Philip Armstrong, The Ohio State University

The Technique of Thought

Contents
Preface
Introduction. Post–Continental Naturalism: A Question
1. The Image of Philosophy
2. The Relational Universe
3. Generic Science
4. Thinking Bodies
Conclusion. The Eclipse of Totality
Notes
Bibliography