Jos de Mul. Artificial by Nature. An introduction to Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. In: Jos de Mul. (ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014, 11-37.
Jos de Mul. Philosophical Anthropology 2.0. In: Jos de Mul. (ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014, 457-475.
The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate the relevance of Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical anthropology in the twenty-first century. In the first part of this chapter, I will argue that the heydays of philosophical anthropology in the first half of the twentieth is closely connected with the (Darwinian) naturalization of the worldview. Whereas the debate on naturalization resulted in an unfruitful opposition between ‘greedy reductionism’ and a no less ‘greedy transcendentism,’ Plessner’s philosophical anthropology, presented in his magnum opus Die Stufen des Organischen undderMensch (1928), offered a promising ‘third way.’
In the second part of this chapter, I will discuss some of the objections that have been raised in the course of the twentieth century against the alleged essentialism and anthropocentrism of the project of philosophical anthropology, and which, at least according to the critics, suggest that philosophical anthropology has to face the same fate as its subject ‘man,’ which - to use the often quoted metaphor of Foucault - is about to be “erased like a face drawn in the sand at the edge of the sea” (Foucault 1970, 387). I will argue that, although Plessner is far from being a hardboiled essentialist or a defender of anthropocentrism, the critiques invite a revision of at least some elements of Plessner’s philosophical anthropology in order to make room for a necessary reflection upon the challenges we face at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
In the third and last part of my chapter, I will argue that such a revision is especially needed in light of neo-Darwinism and the converging technologies that are intertwined with it. These technologies promise - or threaten, depending on one’s perspective - to give Foucault’s ‘End of Man’ a material turn. While classical Darwinism challenged the human place in cosmos mainly in theoretical terms, converging technologies like genetic modification, neuro-enhancement and electronic implants, have the potential to ‘overcome’ Homo sapiens sapiens as we know it in a more radical, practical sense. This creates within us a certain urge towards fundamental post-essentialist and post-anthropocentric human self-reflection. The claim I will underpin is that Plessner’s anthropology still offers a fruitful starting point for the development of this ‘philosophical anthropology 2.0.’ I will demonstrate this by a critical re-interpretation of Plessner’s three ‘anthropological laws’ in light of the aforementioned converging technologies.
Jos de Mul. The Game of Life: Narrative and Ludic Identity Formation in Computer Games. In: Lori Way (ed.), Representations of Internarrative Identity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Representations of Internarrative Identity is based upon Ajit Maan's breakthrough theory of Internarrative Identity, which deals with one's sense of self as expressed in personal narrative, connecting the formation of identity with life experiences. This book is the first extensive examination of the adaptive qualities of Maan's work within diverse areas of scholarship and practice, including cultural studies, gender studies, computer gaming, and veterinary medicine. United by their research application of Maan's theory, these scholars demonstrate the far-reaching implications of Internarrative Identity.
(together with V. Frissen, M. de Lange, S. Lammes & J. Raessens, eds.), Playful identities. The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015.
Digital media technologies increasingly shape how people relate to the world, to other people and to themselves. This prompts questions about present-day mediations of identity. This book explores the notion of play as a heuristic lens to look at changing media practices and identity construction. Playful media culture is analyzed far beyond its apparent manifestation in computer games. The central argument of the book is that play and games nowadays are not only appropriate metaphors to capture post-modern human identities, but also the very means by which people reflexively construct their identity.
Playful Identities presents academic research at the intersection of media theory, play and games studies, social sciences and philosophy. The book carves out a cross-disciplinary domain that connects the most recent insights from play and game studies, media research, and identity studies.
Valerie Frissen is ceo of the SIDN Fund and professor of ict & Social Change at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Sybille Lammes is associate professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick.
Michiel de Lange is a part-time lecturer New Media Studies at Utrecht University.
Jos de Mul is full professor of Philosophy of Man and Culture at the Faculty of Philosophy of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Joost Raessens is full professor of Media Theory at the Faculty of Humanities of Utrecht University.
“An illuminating study on the increasingly complexity of ludic media and technologies of the self.”
– Prof. Dr. Mathias Fuchs, Leuphana University Lüneburg
“What a brilliant, refreshing, and positively playful approach to the ludic imperative. These are the smartest, most articulate, and up-to-date essays on this subject, by the very people creating this field of study.”
– Douglas Rushkoff, author, Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, and Playing the Future.
Jos de Mul. Transnationalizing tragedy. Comment on Jürgen Habermas' lecture "How Europe faces the challenge of transnationalising democracy". Rotterdam, October 10, 2014.
Dear professor Habermas!
In the past decades, you have been an inexhaustible supporter of the Idea of Europe and of the European Union, as well as a profound analyst of the forces that threaten to undermine the ‘faltering project’ of Europe (to quote the title of the English translation of your book Ach, Europa). In the lecture you gave this afternoon, you focused on one of these threats: the democratic deficit of the European Union.
I fully share your enthusiasm for Europe. Just like you, my enthusiasm is closely connected with my personal history. Born a decade after the Second World War I had the privilege to grow up in a democratic and peaceful European welfare state, which enabled me, moreover, to enjoy the great variety of European culture. However, only in the past ten years, in which I had the opportunity to live and work in the United States and in China for some time, I became fully aware of the fact that I’m not only Dutch, but a European as well.
This does not mean that it is easy to define Europe. Europe in many respects remains a mythic phenomenon. Even the most basic questions – What is Europe? Where is Europe? When is Europe? and (especially since the Euro crisis that has strongly undermined the public support of the European Union) Why is Europe? – are very hard to answer.
Jos de Mul. The biotechnological sublime. Research Seminar Dutch Research School of Philosophy. Utrecht University, October 31, 2014.
State of the Art Aesthetics (2014) – OZSW and UU Graduate Course
Invitation / Call for applications
The Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and Utrecht University invite PhD students/ PhD and ReMa students in philosophy to register for the course “State of the Art Aesthetics” to take place in Autumn 2014. There will be room for approx. 25 students.
Dates of course: 24 and 31 October, 14, 21, 28 November 2014 (5 Fridays)
Location: Utrecht University, Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, Van Ravensteijnzaal
Application deadline: Friday 15 September 2014 (registration form for this course)
About the topic
Art is a practice deemed central to modern culture, but how is its importance to be conceptualised? The course presents a survey of approaches in philosophical aesthetics, by specialists in the field. All speakers presents their own approach as explicitly as possible: their philosophical tradition and methodology. The traditions may or may not intermingle in the course.
The subjects of the lectures present the contemporary debates, and range from questions about the philosophical discipline as a whole, and art as a practice, to questions about specific fields of application, such as particular art forms or aesthetic phenomena.
Lost in translation? Conference on the Chinese translations of the works of Jos de Mul. With contributions of Mai Yongxiong, Huang Hanping, Wei Chaoyong, and Jos de Mul. Jinan University, Guangzhou. Academic Hall, August, 20, 2014, 3.30-5.30 PM.
On the occasion of the publication of 命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 . 命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 by Guangxi Normal University Press, Guilin, July 2014 (the Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology, State University of New York Press), the Faculty of Letters of Jinan University, Guangzhou organized a conference about the Chinese translations of four of the books of Jos de Mul. Next to Destiny Domesticated (2014) the following books are currently available in Chinese: Cyberspace Odyssey (2007) Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy (2010) and The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life (2013). Talks were given by translator Mai Yongxiong, Guangxi Normal University (sitting right to Jos de Mul on the photo), Huang Hanping (Jinan University), Wei Chaoyong (Sun Yat-Sen University), and a couple of PhD students form Jinan University.
Jos de Mul, Big data and online identity. Lecture at the conference Soft data pour les politiques publiques de la ville: une approche critique. Lille: Université Charles de Gaulle (Lille 3), October 16, 2014.
Soft data pour les politiques publiques de la ville: une approche critique. Jeudi 16 octobre 2014, Lille (lieu à confirmer). Journée organisée dans le cadre du PEPS Décision, indicateurs et politiques publiques
Ces dernières années, les nouvelles technologies ont radicalement changé plusieurs secteurs de la société tels que l'économie, la santé, le transport et d’autres. Un des changements les plus révolutionnaires concerne certainement la diffusion des technologies numériques, notamment le réseau Internet (Castells, 2000). Ce qui rend ce changement particulièrement intéressant est le fait qu'il affecte à la fois la société elle-même et la façon de l’étudier et de la gérer (Benkler, 2006).
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
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, Presentation Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated. Guangzhou, South China Book Festival, 19/23 augustus 2014.
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'.