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Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Jos de Mul. Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology. State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 2014.  Destiny Domesticated investigates…

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Wittgenstein 2.0. Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn

Wittgenstein 2.0. Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn

Jos de Mul. Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn. In: A. Pichler & H. Hrachovec (eds.) Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information. Proceedings…

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The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens and Jos de Mul, The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility. Heinrich Böll Stiftung. European Union. December…

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Horizons of Hermeneutics

Horizons of Hermeneutics

Jos de Mul. Horizons of Hermeneutics: Intercultural Hermeneutics in a Globalizing World.  Frontiers of Philosophy in China. Vol. 6, No. 4 (2011), 628-655. DOI: 10.1007/s11466-011-0159-x (DOI) 10.1007/s11466-011-0159-x…

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《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》

《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》

约斯·德·穆尔 (Jos de Mul),里斯贝思·努尔德格拉芙 (Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens):《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》(The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility),《社会科学战线》2012年第4期(Social Science Front no.4 2012),《新华文摘》2012年第13期全文转载(Xinhua Digest ,no13 2012).

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The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

Jos de Mul. The work of art in the age of digital recombination. In J. Raessens, M. Schäfer, M. v. d. Boomen, Lehmann and S. A.-S.…

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The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

Jos de Mul. The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games. In: J. Goldstein and J. Raessens,Handbook of Computer Games Studies. Cambridge MA…

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Jos de Mul, The possibility of an island. Michel Houellebecq's tragic humanism. Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, Vol. 1 (2014), Issue 1, pp. 91–110.

 

The Possibility of an Island: Michel Houellebecq’s Tragic Humanism1

Jos de Mul

Abstract

Various authors, including Friedrich Nietzsche and George Steiner, have argued that the tragic worldview, as we find it expressed in Greek tragedy, has become an entirely incomprehensible phenomenon for (post)modern man. The claim defended in this article radically opposes this view. It is argued that tragedy can still teach us something today, and maybe even more so now than in the many intervening centuries that separate us from her days of glory in the fifth century bce. The tragic reveals itself once more in (post)modern society, and nowhere more clearly than in technology, the domain in which we believed the tragic had been domesticated or even eliminated. Referring to the tragic humanism in Michel Houellebecq’s novels The Elementary Particles and The Possibility of an Island it is argued that it is precisely in (post)modern (bio)technologies that we experience the rebirth of the tragic.

Keywords: tragedy, technology, humanism, transhumanism, Michel Houellebecq, Friedrich Nietzsche

Jos de Mul. 命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology). Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, July 2014.

命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介(Content abstract): 本书考察了西方文明试图驯化命运的三种途径:希腊悲剧文化对命运的英雄般的肯定,基督教对神圣天命的谦卑接受,现代技术社会对命运的“否弃”。在此背景下,作者认为技术的不可控性重新把悲剧的维度引入了我们的文化。通过对《解放了的普罗米修斯》《安提戈涅》《美狄亚》等古典悲剧,以及赫尔曼斯与维勒贝克的悲剧小说的广泛考察,作者清晰地阐发了当代视野中的悲剧观,赋予诸如自由意志、决定论和生命的偶然性等哲学论题以崭新的光辉,为审视“悲剧重生于技术精神”提供了一种新颖独特的视角。 命运,迟早会敲每个人的门:一场意外事故,一种吞噬一切的嫉妒,一种无法治愈的疾病,最终的死亡••••••命运,尽管不可避免,尽管难以承受,但它是我们的生活不得不面对的。英雄般地肯定?谦卑地承负?决然地否弃? 著、译者简介(Author and Translator) 约斯•德•穆尔(Jos de Mul) 国际著名美学家,荷兰鹿特丹Erasmus大学哲学教授,信息哲学与传播技术研究院导师,兼美国密歇根大学客座教授、复旦大学客座教授,常任荷兰政府智囊团专家;主要研究领域为美学、艺术哲学、新媒介与信息交流技术哲学、19世纪德国哲学、历史哲学;主要著作有《后现代艺术与哲学的浪漫之欲》《有限性的悲剧:狄尔泰诠释学的生命》《赛博空间的奥德赛——走向虚拟本体论与人类学》等,其著作已被译为多国文字。 麦永雄 北京师范大学文学博士,现为广西师范大学文学院教授、博士生导师,广西师范大学中国语言文学研究所所长、比较文学与世界文学学术带头人,广西师范大学“外国文学史”精品课程主持人,《东方丛刊》主编(2006—2010),已出版论著、译著多部,包括《赛博空间的奥德赛——走向虚拟本体论与人类学》。

Published in Books

In August 2014, the Chinese translation of Jos de Mul's  The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology will be presented at the South China  Literature Festival  in Guangzhou (August 19-25, 2014). After the presentation, the author will be interviewed by translator Mai Yongxiong. They will also discuss previous Chinese publications of De Mul, such as Cyberspace Odyssey. So far, four books and a dozen articles of Jos de Mul have been published in Chinese translation.

The South China Book Festival is the most massive and influential Book Festival in China. In 2013, millions of citizens participated the festival. In 2014, the focus is on Dutch Literature.  Kader Abdolah, Abram de Swaan, Jelle Reumer, and Jos de Mul have been been invited as special guests at the 'Dutch Literature Week, entitled 'Blooming Tulip in Flower City Guangzhou'.

For more information, see the website of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Published in News
Henk van Middelaar interviewt Jos de Mul over evolutie en technologie. NTR Academie, 16 mei 2014, 22.00-23.00 uur. 

De mens ontwerpt de omgeving waarin hij leeft en heeft daardoor sterk de hand in zijn eigen evolutieproces. Maar is hij zich daar wel van bewust? Redt de moderne mens zichzelf nog wel zonder de door hem ontwikkelde cultuur en techniek? En hoe ziet de toekomstige mens eruit, hand in hand levend met steeds verfijndere techniek? Henk van Middelaar in gesprek met Jos de Mul, hoogleraar Filosofie van mens en cultuur aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Beluister uitzending

Published in Interviews / radio
约•德•穆尔:《论(生物)技术崇高》,雷礼锡译, 载范明华、黄有柱主编:《美学与艺术研究》第5辑,武汉:武汉大学出版社,2014年,第175~185页。

Jos de Mul, "Lun (Sheng Wu) Ji Shu Chong Gao" (The (Bio)technological Sublime), trans. by Lei Li-xi, in Research of Aesthetics and Art (Mei Xue Yu Yi Shu Yan Jiu), Vol. 5, edited by Fan Ming-hua & Huang You-zhu, Wuhan: Wuhan University Press, 2014, 175-185. 

 

论(生物)技术崇高 [荷]约·德·穆尔 著 雷礼锡 译

如果说崇高概念以前习惯用于表明人类主体感到努力代表自然所体现的不足,那么后现代境遇——其中自然本身已被淡忘——业已产生一种崇高感,人类发现自身与自己的造物相对立 戴尔·查普曼 引言

自从18世纪中叶美学作为哲学的一门特殊学科出现[],其历史就体现了两个明显趋向,体现了(后)现代艺术与文化作为一个整体的独特发展。一种趋向是,美学的发展表现为审美范畴的显著分化和增加。早期的美学主要集中在美的范畴,19世纪初至今宽泛的新的审美概念已经出现,如崇高、讽刺、滑稽、荒诞、平庸。毫无疑问,这一发展反映了现代艺术自身的发展,它不停地扩大审美经验和表达的领域。美的艺术成了“永不再美的艺术”。

Published in Book chapters
Jos de Mul. Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology. State University of New York (SUNY) Press, 2014. 

Destiny Domesticated investigates three approaches Western civilization has tried to tame fate: the heroic affirmation of fate in the tragic culture of the Greeks, the humble acceptance of divine providence in Christianity, and the abolition of fate in modern technological society. Against this background, Jos de Mul argues that the uncontrollability of technology introduces its own tragic dimension to our culture. Considering a range of literary texts and contemporary events, and drawing on twenty-five centuries of tragedy interpretation from philosophers such as Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, literary critics George Steiner and Terry Eagleton, and others, de Mul articulates a contemporary perspective on the tragic, shedding new light on philosophical topics such as free will, determinism, and the contingency of life.

Hard cover
320 pages 
$90.00 hc 
• 978-1-4384-4971-5

Paperback version will follow soon

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Published in Books
Jos de Mul. (ed.),Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, Autumn 2014.

Helmut Plessner (1892–1985) was one of the founders of philosophical anthropology, and his book Levels of the Organic and Man, first published in 1928, has inspired generations of philosophers, biologists, social scientists, and humanities scholars. This volume offers the first substantial introduction to Plessner’s philosophical anthropology in English, not only setting it in context with such familiar figures as Bergson, Cassirer, and Merleau-Ponty, but also showing Plessner’s relevance to contemporary discussions in a wide variety of fields in the humanities and sciences.

September 2014 - Hardback - 156 x 234 mm - 482 pages
ISBN 978 90 8964 634 7 - e-ISBN 978 90 4852 310 8 - €119.00 / £96.00

Published in Books
Jos de Mul. Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology. Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 334 p.

Translation of Cyberspace Odyssee, Kampen: Klement, 2002 (Dutch)
ISBN (10) 1-4438-2127-6, ISBN (13) 978-1-4438-2127-8  
₤ 44.99 (Order); US $: 67.99 (Order)

The emergence of the hominids, more than five million years ago, marked the start of the human odyssey through space and time. This book deals with the last stage of this fascinating journey: the exploration of cyberspace and cybertime. Through the rapid global implementation of information and communication technologies, a new realm for human experience and imagination has been disclosed. Reversely, these postgeographical and posthistorical technologies have started to colonize our bodies and minds. Taking Homer’s Odyssey and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as his starting point, the author investigates the ‘informatization of the worldview’, focusing on its implications for our culture–arts, religion, and science–and, ultimately, our form of life.

Moving across a wide range of disciplines, varying from philosophical anthropology and palaeontology to information theory, and from astrophysics to literary, film and new media studies, the author discusses our ‘cyberspace odyssey’ from a reflective position beyond euphoria and nostalgia. His analysis is as profound as nuanced and deals with issues that will be high on the agenda for many decades to come.

In 2003 a Dutch Edition of Cyberspace Odyssey received the Socrates Prize for the best philosophy book published in Dutch.

Published in Books
Jos de Mul. Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999, 316 p.

Translation of Het romantische verlangen in (post)moderne kunst en filosofie, Rotterdam: Rotterdamse Filosofische Studies (Dutch)
ISBN 0-7914-4217-9 (hard cover)
ISBN 0-7914-4218-7 (paperback)
US $ 55.38 (Order hard cover ); US $: 16.00 (Order paperback )

 

An erudite and wide-ranging discussion of postmodernism and romanticism in twentieth-century art and philosophy.
In this erudite and wide-ranging discussion of postmodernism and romanticism in twentieth-century art and philosophy, Jos de Mul sheds a fascinating light on the ambivalent character of our present culture, which oscillates between modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony. Along the way, he engages the work of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Habermas, Lacan, Barthes, and Derrida; visual artists Magritte and Stella; poets George and Coleridge; and composers Schonberg, Cage, and Reich, among others, providing a sort of intellectual history of Romantic, Modernist, and Postmodernist "tempers."

 

Click on 'Read more' for reviews, rating and social media.

Published in Books
Jos de Mul, Comprendere la natura. Dilthey, Plessner e la bioermeneutica. Lo Sguardo - rivista di filosofia. Vol. 14, no.1 (2014), 117-134.

Abstract: In recent years, authors like Chebanov, Markŏs, and Ginev have attempted to implement hermeneutic categories in the domain of biology. Against this background, the author takes Dilthey’s scattered remarks on the notion of the organic and Plessner’s biophilosophy as his starting point for the development of a biohermeneutical theory of biological purposiveness, which aims at bridging the gulf between the natural and the human sciences. Whereas the natural and human sciences are closely connected with a third-person and a first-person perspective respectively, the author argues that the second-person perspective plays a crucial role in the life sciences. In opposition to the natural sciences, in which causality is the key notion, and the human sciences, which rest on the notion of meaning, the author argues that the central concepts that characterize the second-person perspective of the life sciences are functionality and intentionality.

Nella Lebensphilosophie di Dilthey, l’antropologia e la storia sono strettamente connesse. Come lo stesso Dilthey afferma in una sentenza spesso citata, «Was der Mensch sei, sagt ihm nur seine Geschichte»[2]. Tuttavia, per Dilthey storia significa solamente storia culturale. Per sviluppare una comprensione adeguata della condizione storica dell’uomo, dovremmo prendere in considerazione però anche la storia naturale. Dopo tutto, in quanto unità psico-fisica, l’Homo sapiens sapiens è il prodotto storico di un’iterazione complessa tra sviluppi sia naturali che culturali. Inoltre, all’epoca delle scienze della vita, la storia naturale e quella culturale sembrano sempre di più sconfinare l’una nell’altra. Le biotecnologie quali l’ingegneria genetica, l’ingegneria metabolica e il trapianto di genoma trasformano gli organismi in artefatti culturali e nel tentativo di creare la vita artificiale (probabilmente il Santo Graal della biologia di sintesi), gli artifatti culturali manifestano via via maggiori qualità prima riservate alla vita organica.

In quanto segue argomenterò la tesi secondo cui l’ermeneutica di Dilthey, specialmente la sua analisi della triade Erleben, Ausdruck e Verstehen, offre ancora un proficuo punto di partenza per lo sviluppo di una bioermeneutica che non ha a che fare solamente con la comprensione umana e con l’interpretazione degli esseri, delle (inter)azioni e degli artifatti umani, ma che include anche la comprensione e l’interpretazione di e da parte di agenti non-umani. Il fatto che Dilthey nei suoi ultimi scritti ermeneutici distingua in maniera piuttosto dogmatica tra natura e cultura pare senza dubbio di primo acchito un ostacolo per lo sviluppo di una bioermeneutica ispirata al suo pensiero. Per esempio, Dilthey rifiuta esplicitamente la possibilità di una comprensione umana della vita delle piante: «Bedeutung oder Wert kann etwas nicht haben, von dem es kein Verstehen gibt. Ein Baum kann niemals Bedeutung haben» (GS VII, p. 259). La possibilità di una comprensione o di un’interpretazione da parte di agenti non umani non è poi nemmeno considerata da Dilthey. Eppure, sosterrò che gli scritti tardivi di Dilthey sull’ermeneutica contengono qualche traccia per lo sviluppo di una bioermeneutica. Svilupperò oltre queste tracce con l’aiuto della biofilosofia di Plessner e grazie a qualche riferimento ad alcuni recenti sviluppi negli ambiti della biologia dei sistemi e della neuropsicologia[3].

Innanzitutto, riprendendo il dibattito sulla demarcazione delle Naturwissenschaften e delle Geisteswissenschaften che ebbe luogo in Germania attorno al 1900, avanzerò la tesi secondo cui in quel dibattito erano in gioco varie dicotomie ontologiche, epistemologiche, fenomenologiche e normative che non combaciano. Dirò poi che queste dicotomie precludono una comprensione adeguata del carattere peculiare delle scienze della vita, a metà strada tra le scienze della natura e quelle umane (§ 1). Mostrerò in secondo luogo che Dilthey, nonostante il suo approccio per lo più dicotomico nel dibattito su tale demarcazione, a sua volta fondato sulla distinzione tra esperienza esteriore (prospettiva alla terza persona) e interiore (prospettiva alla prima persona), in qualche occasione ha riconosciuto lo statuto speciale delle scienze della vita, connesso con la «conformità di scopo (Zweckmäßigkeit)» immanente delle entità viventi (§ 2). In terzo luogo, dirò che la comprensione del finalismo immanente richiede l’esperienza da una prospettiva alla seconda persona, incarnata e interattiva (§ 3). Al fine di sostenere tale ipotesi, farò riferimento all’analisi di Plessner della triplice dimensione corporale della vita umana in Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch (§ 4). Nell’ultima parte, fornirò una breve visione d’insieme dei differenti tipi di interpretazione intraspecie, interspecie e intraorganica e traccerò i compiti che attendono la bioermeneutica (§ 5).

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Brief CV Jos de Mul

(Prof.dr.) Jos de Mul is full professor Philosophy of Man and Culture at the Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and scientific director of the Research Institute Philosophy of Information and Communication Technology (φICT). He has also taught at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Fudan University (Shanghai). From 2007-2010 he was president of the International Association for Aesthetics. His publications include: Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy (State University of New York Press, 1999) , The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life (Yale University Press, 2004), Cyberspace Odyssey (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010).  He is the winner of the Praemium Erasmianum Research Prize and the Socrates Prize. His work has been translated in more than a dozen languages.