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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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Books: description and reviews

命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated\)

命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated\)

Jos de Mul. 命运的驯化——悲剧重生于技术精神 内容简介…

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Cyberspace Odyssee

Cyberspace Odyssee

Jos de Mul. Cyberspace Odyssee. Kampen:…

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Toeval. Inaugurale rede

Toeval. Inaugurale rede

Jos de Mul. Toeval. Inaugurale rede. Rotterdam:…

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Today's specials
Jos de Mul, Database Identity: Personal and Cultural Identity in the Age of Global Datafication. in: Wouter de Been, Payal Aurora and Mireille Hildebrandt (Eds.), Crossroads in New Media, Identity and Law. The Shape of Diversity to Come. Personal and Cultural Identity in the Age of Global Datafication. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 97-118. 

This volume brings together a number of timely contributions at the nexus of new media, politics and law. The central intuition that ties these essays together is that information and communication technology, cultural identity, and legal and political institutions are spheres that co-evolve and interpenetrate in myriad ways. Discussing these shifting relationships, the contributions all probe the question of what shape diversity will take as a result of the changes in the way we communicate and spread information: that is, are we heading to the disintegration and fragmentation of national and cultural identity, or is society moving towards more consolidation, standardization and centralization at a transnational level? In an age of digitization and globalization, this book addresses the question of whether this calls for a new civility fit for the 21st century.

Jos de Mul, to begin with, takes the issue of identity head-on in his contribution. He argues that new networked communication technologies are leading to a datafication of identity. New ICTs are transforming traditional ‘narrative identity’ into a more plastic form of ‘database identity.’ Identity as the product of a linear development, as an outgrowth of a particular personal or group history – the bread and butter of the imagined community – is on the wane. Increasingly identity is broken up into machine-readable elements and stored in digital memory banks. This allows for an endless combination and re-combination of features. By itself this process does not necessarily result in a world of freedom and play, however. Although database identities allow for an extraordinary range of choice and are well suited to the freedom and flexibility of postmodern culture, there is a great deal of uniformity in the forms that database identities actually take. Hence, De Mul also addresses the standardization of identity in the prefabricated formats of social media, underlining the new entrapments of the digital age.

 

Published in Book chapters
Jos de Mul. Photography in the Age of Digital Recombination. Hubei Institute for Fine Arts / Wuhan Art Museum. Wuhan, May 18, 2015.

 

讲座现场 || 数字化操控时代的艺术作品

2015-05-21 

5月 18 日晚,我馆特邀荷兰鹿特丹大学的约斯•德•穆尔(Jos de Mul)教授在湖北美术学院藏龙岛校区举办了主题为《数字化操控时代的艺术作品》的讲座。

【讲座内容实录】

HIFA

我(约斯•德•穆尔)将从本雅明的《机械复制时代的艺术作品》出发,阐述本雅明关于膜拜价值和展示价值的观念, 而后把数据库作为范式模型, 勾勒出创建计算机对象的基本操作, 最后解释为什么说数据库从本体论上把以展示价值为特征的现代艺术作品转变为以操控价值为特征的后现代艺术作品。

概 述

艺术和科技是密切相关的, 艺术家总是在利用媒体(media)不管是那些创作壁画的史前绘画者, 还是那些依靠计算机技术工作的新媒体艺术家。广义的媒体, 意即“传达信息的方式“, 对塑造人类的心灵和经验、认识和感知世界起着关键作用。

本雅明的著作《机械复制时代的艺术作品》提到,独一无二(unique)、奥若蒂克式的(Auratic) 的特点强调了古典艺术品的膜拜价值(cult value), 而机械地(mechanically)复制性的(reproduce)现代艺术品则强调了其展示价值(exhibition value)。然而在数字化重组(digital recombination) 时代, 数据库构成了后现代艺术作品的本体论模型,在此转变中, 展示价值(exhibition value)正被我们所谓的操控价值(manipulation value) 所取代。

本雅明的论述声称是对艺术的分析, 但其实际论域却要广泛得多。同样, 我在数字化重组时代继续本雅明的分析, 论域将超出艺术或美学。还将分析自然和文化的数字化操控, 它是当前“信息时代” 的特征。

Published in Lectures
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.


Introduction

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.[1] 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.

Published in Book chapters
Monday, 05 January 2015 16:29

The game of life

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.



Published in Book chapters
(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.

Thanks to a  grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) this book can be downloaded for free in the OApen Library (Open Access Publishing in European Networks).

Published in Books
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.

Published in Online publications
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.

Published in Lectures
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. 

GuangzhouSymposium

Published in Lectures
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

 

Argumentaire

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).

Published in Lectures
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

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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 book 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), and Destiny Domesticated  (State University of New York Press, 2014) 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.