Friday, August 13, 2010

Renewal of Materialism (1)

"The Renewal of Materialism": Special issue of Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal [New School for Social Research], vol. 22, no. 1, 2000.

I first wrote about this on 4 August 2004, so I will cannibalize that material and in another entry add some comments based on my recent (re-)reading of this issue.

Here we find a critical review of the philosophical positions of the French Enlightenment and related issues of that time and ours, including the philosophical reaction to the birth of modern chemistry, debates surrounding the nature of life from a materialist perspective, the mind-body problem, the germs of emergent materialism, Spinoza, La Mettrie, Diderot, and more. Here is the table of contents:


François Dagognet Materialism: A Philosophy of Multiple Revivals

Annie Bitbol-Hespériès Descartes, Reader of Harvey: The Discovery of the Circulation of Blood in Context

Yves Charles Zarka Being and Action in the Thought of Ralph Cudworth

Meriam Korichi Defining Spinoza's Possible Materialism

Ann Thomson La Mettrie, Machines, and the Denial of Liberty

Amor Cherni Brute Matter and Organic Matter in Buffon

Annie Ibrahim The Life Principle and the Doctrine of Living Being in Diderot

A. Suratteau-Iberraken Medical Vitalism and Philosophical Materialism in the Eighteenth-Century Debate on Monsters

Roselyne Rey Diderot and the Medicine of the Mind

Alexandre Métraux The Emergent Materialism in French Clinical Brain Research (1820-1850)

Pierre Kerszberg The Mental Chemistry of Speculative Philosophy

Didier Gil Is Consciousness a Brain Process?

Guillaume le Blanc From Matter to Materiality According to Canguilhem

Jean-Claude Bourdin The Uncertain Materialism of Louis Althusser

Antonio Negri Alma Venus. Prolegomena to the Common

Miguel Vatter Phenomenology in Kant's Idealism: Review of Pierre Kerszberg's Critique and Totality

Canguilhem, Althusser, and Negri belong to the 20th century. The latter two are still in fashion, and while I do not recommend them, you can read Negri's article on the web:

Antonio Negri, "Alma Venus. Prolegomena to the common," trans. Patricia Dailey & Constantino Costantini.

The editor's introduction to this issue cites a study showing that Marx and Engels got French materialism wrong in The Holy Family. As it happens, part of said article has been translated into English:

By Olivier-Rene Bloch
[Excerpts translated by Tom Weston from "Marx, Renouvier, et l'histoire du materialisme." This work originally appeared in La Pensee, numero 191, fevrier, 1977, pp. 3 - 42. It has been reprinted in Olivier Bloch, Matieres a histoires, Librarie Philosophique J. Vrin, 6, Place de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris. This translation is in the public domain, October, 1997.]

Gil, Didier. "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?", Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, 2000, pp. 227-253.

This is one of the finest dissections of the competing philosophies underlying artificial intelligence I've seen.

(To be continued)

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