Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology

Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology

Jos de Mul. Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology. Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 334 p. Translation of Cyberspace…

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序言 约斯·德·穆尔 In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art

序言 约斯·德·穆尔 In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art

序言 约斯·德·穆尔. In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art. Volume One. Shanghai:…

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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.…

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Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Jos de Mul. ( ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014. Helmut Plessner (1892–1985)…

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The game of life

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…

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The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life

The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life

Jos de Mul. The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010 (second edition - eBook), 424…

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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Marxism according to Groucho     "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog…

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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…

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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)…

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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 (Chinese translation of Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology). Guilin:…

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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.…

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Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy

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

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Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life.

Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life.

Jos de Mul. Noble versus Dawkins. DNA Is not the program of the concert of life. Translation of Dutch review, published…

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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…

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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, 'De mens was altijd al een cyborg'. Interview met Barbara Debusschere. De Morgen, Bijlage Zeno, 29 maart 2014, 6-7.

Wist u dat er al begrafenissen zijn geweest van gezelschapsrobots, en dat daarbij is gewéénd? Qua mensmachines en andere bizarre technische ontwikkelingen hebben we het laatste nog lang niet gezien, aldus Jos de Mul, hoogleraar wijsgerige antropologie. 'Het zijn logische gevolgen van onze evolutie. Wij zijn van nature kunstmatig.'

'PedoBots' die pedofielen in het oog houden en zo nodig de politie verwittigen. Nanobots die zich een weg banen door onze aderen om schade te herstellen. Intelligente gebouwen die ons als een interactieve huid omhullen. Planten waarin het chlorophyl is vervangen door siliconen die veel beter zonlicht omzetten, zodat de voedselproductie kan vertienvoudigen. Dankzij genetische manipulatie alleen nog intelligent nageslacht krijgen, zonder erfelijke ziekten. En permanent digitaal met elkaar in verbinding staan, zodat we als een superintelligent globaal brein kunnen functioneren.

Sciencefiction? Niet volgens Jos de Mul, hoogleraar wijsgerige antropologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam. 

Interview met Mark Brouwers over Kunstmatig van Nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0. Opium op 4, 1 april 2014, 22.30-23.30 uur,

Hoofdgast: Jos de Mul. pril is de Maand van de Filosofie Mens en techniek staan dit jaar centraal. Het is alleen de vraag of de grens tussen die twee nog wel zo scherp getrokken kan worden; de mens wordt steeds meer machine en machines worden steeds menselijker. Jos de Mul is filosoof en schrijver van het essay voor de maand van de filosofie Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0. Hij is hoogleraar wijsgerige antropologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en publiceert regelmatig essays in Trouw, NRC Handelsblad en de Volkskrant. In Kunstmatig van nature neemt De Mul een aantal actuele ‘kunstmatigheden’ onder de loep. Wat zijn de gevolgen ervan voor ons dagelijks leven en zelfbegrip? Hij zet de boel op scherp en stelt de prangende vraag: worden wij de eerste soort op aarde die zijn eigen evolutionaire opvolger gaat scheppen.

Beluister uitzending

Published in Interviews / radio
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).

Interview met Botte Jellema in de documentaire Het verraad van de voorstelling. Holland Doc. Radio 1.Zondag 23 februari, 21.00-22.00

Wat is echt? Dat is de vraag die Holland Doc Radio aanstaande zondag stelt. Documentairemaker Botte Jellema (die ook cultuurprogramma De Avonden presenteerde van 2009 tot december 2013) onderzoekt vervormd beeld en geluid in ‘Het Verraad van de Voorstelling‘. Want wat we horen en zien is “tot in de puntjes vormgegeven”, maar “ziet er vaak anders uit dan wat het is”, betoogt Jellema:

“Gephotoshopte gezichten, geknipt-en geplakte radio en televisie, zangers die zuiver zingen door een computer. We weten wel dat het nep is. Maar wanneer voelen we ons belazerd?”

Een radio-essay over “hoe we genept worden door Michael Bublé en Kinderen voor Kinderen”, waarin Jellema zelf zingt en Plato en The Matrix erbij haalt, met medewerking van filosoof Jos de Mul.

Beluister uitzending

Published in Interviews / radio
Saturday, 08 February 2014 17:22

Homo ludens 2.0: Play, Media and Identity

Valerie Frissen, Jos de Mul, and Joost Raessens. Homo ludens 2.0: Play, Media and Identity, in Judith Thissen, Robert Zwijnenberg and Kitty Zijlmans (eds.), Contemporary Culture. New Directions in Art and Humanities Research. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013, 75-92.
 

Foreplay

Immense est le domaine du jeu.  (Emile Benveniste)

A spectre is haunting the world - the spectre of playfulness. We are witnessing a global “ludification of culture”. Since the 1960s, in which the word “ludic” became popular in Europe and the United States to designate playful behaviour and artefacts, playfulness has increasingly become a mainstream characteristic of our culture. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind in this context is the immense popularity of computer games, which, as far as global sales are con­cerned, have already outstripped Hollywood. According to a recent study in the United States, 8 to 18 year olds play computer games on average for one hour and a half each day on their consoles, computers and handheld gaming devices (including mobile phones).1 This is by no means only a Western phenomenon. In South Korea, for example, about two-thirds of the country’s total population frequently plays online games, turning computer gaming into one of the fastest- growing industries and “a key driver for the Korean economy”.2Although perhaps most visible, computer game culture is only one manifesta­tion of the process of ludification that is penetrating every cultural domain.3 In our present experience economy, for example, playfulness not only characterizes leisure time (fun shopping, game shows on television, amusement parks, playful computer and Internet use), but also domains that used to be serious, such as work (which should chiefly be fun nowadays), education (serious gaming), poli­tics (ludic campaigning) and even warfare (video games like war simulators and interfaces). According to Jeremy Rifkin, “play is becoming as important in the cultural economy as work was in the industrial economy”.4 In ludic culture, sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues, playfulness is no longer restricted to child­hood, but has become a lifelong attitude: “The mark of postmodern adulthood is the willingness to embrace the game whole-heartedly.”5 Bauman’s remark sug­gests that in postmodern culture identity has become a playful phenomenon too.In this article we want to re-visit Johan Huizinga’s Homo ludens (1938) to reflect on the meaning of ludic technologies in contemporary culture. First we will analyze the concept of “play”. Next, we will discuss some problematic aspects of Huizinga’s theory, which are connected with the fundamental ambigu­ities that characterize play phenomena, and reformulate some of the basic ideas of Huizinga. On the basis of this reformulation we will analyze the ludic dimen­sion of new media and sketch an outline of our theory of ludic identity construc­tion.

Published in Book chapters
Jos de Mul, Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0. Essay van de Maand van de Filosofie. Rotterdam: Lemiscaat: 2014.

ISBN 978 90 4770 650 2
NUR 730

In Kunstmatig van nature bespreekt Jos de Mul de betekenis van recente ontwikkelingen in de robotica, neurowetenschappen en biotechnologie voor ons zelfbegrip en dagelijks leven. Wat te denken van de Japanse humanoïde robot Miim, ontworpen door Kazuhito Yokoi, die kan dansen, zingen en kleding showen op de catwalk? Zullen dergelijke robots dankzij erotische programmatuur, net als in de sciencefiction-serie Real Humans, een commercieel succes worden? Of neem het experiment van de Amerikaanse neurowetenschapper Miguel Nicolelis die elektroden in de hersenen van een resusaapje heeft aangebracht om de neuronenactiviteit tijdens zijn bewegingen te registeren. De aldus verkregen informatie brengt via het internet elders in de wereld de robot CB-1 in beweging. Een kleine stap voor de robot, maar een gigantische sprong voor het aapje -- en mogelijk in de nabije toekomst ook voor dwarslaesiepatiënten.

Op biotechnologisch gebied heeft men alternatieven ontwikkeld voor het DNA, het ‘bouwplan’ van al het leven. Terwijl de evolutie ooit bestond uit natuurlijke selectie, betreden we met deze alien genetics het tijdperk van kunstmatige selectie. Mogen we hiermee planten, dieren en mensen ‘verbeteren’? Deze nieuwe technologieën vergroten niet alleen onze kennis van het leven op aarde -- ze zijn allang begonnen dat leven fundamenteel te transformeren. Wie we zijn en wat we willen worden, is meer dan ooit een open vraag, een opgave. Zijn wij, ‘de eeuwig toekomstigen’ volgens Nietzsche, onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0?

‘Worden wij de eerste soort op aarde die zijn eigen evolutionaire opvolger gaat scheppen?’ -- Jos de Mul

‘Grote eruditie en lucide kijk op veranderingen in de hedendaagse cultuur.’ -- Marc Van den Bossche over Cyberspace Odyssee in Standaard der Letteren

‘Gloedvol pleidooi voor een tragisch levensbesef.’ -- Arnold Heumakers over De domesticatie van het noodlot in nrc Handelsblad  

 'Ik wou dat ik als students zoiets had kunnen lezen' - Piet Hut (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) over Kunstmatig van nature

 

Uit de recensies 

'In het derde hoofdstuk, over robots, krijgt De Muls betoog [...] vleugels. De Zweedse televisieserie Real humans biedt tal van aanknopingspunten voor een boeiend betoog' --- Marcel Hulspas in de Volkskrant

'De speculatieve antropologie die De Mul zegt te beoefenen is  een vorm van filosofische sciencefiction' - Arnold Heumakers in NRC Handelsblad

'Het is een boeiende gedachtegang die De Mul [...] aangaat, maar ook één die allerlei vragen oproept.' --- Marc Janssens in het Nederlands Dagblad

'Met Jos de Mul hebben we te maken met een variant van de idiot savant, de krankzinnige professor, en een nuchtere wetenschapper. Die twee wisselen elkaar voortdurend af. Hij weet idioot veel van wat zich allemaal afspeelt in de biologie, de astronomie, kunstmatige intelligentie, biotechnologie, neurologie of ecologie' --- Carel Peeters in Vrij Nederland

‘Stof tot nadenken dus, op een zeer bevattelijke manier gebracht. Een aanrader.’ --- Jan Matthys in Liberales

'Een zeer verontrustend essay' ---- Ab Blaas, Humanistisch Verbond

'De term ‘onderweg’ die in de ondertitel voorkomt typeert de inhoud van het boek heel goed. Wat wordt geschetst is een evolutionair perspectief. Daarbij komt de gehele ons bekende wereld wel zo ongeveer aan bod. Voor wat betreft het begin wordt aangeknoopt bij de Big Bang theorie, die moderne oerei-mythe. Gelukkig haalt De Mul er de stelligheid uit die vele presentaties van de betreffende denkbeelden ontsiert. En hetzelfde geldt voor zijn beschrijving van het evolutionaire proces dat uiteindelijk – of zo men wil: voorlopig  –  heeft geleid tot de  mens. [...] De Mul houdt een voorzichtiger lijn aan: “Dysons idee dat we de biotechnologie weldra zullen hebben gedomesticeerd , is al met al tamelijk naïef en getuigt van een grote mate van technologische hybris”. Het is mij uit het hart gegrepen'- Harm Bart in Civis Mundi

Uitgeverij Lemniscaat & Stichting Maand van de Filosofie | Omslagbeeld uit sf-serie Real Humans Omslagontwerp: Marc Suvaal | Pb. 180 pagina’s  | isbn 978 90 477 0631 1

Published in Books
Jos de Mul. From open design to metadesign. Keynote lecture at the international conference 3D printing: destiny, doom or dream? eLaw@Leiden, Leiden University, 14 and 15 November, 2013.

In recent years 3D printing has become a hot topic in the media, in industry and in academia. Some claim that 3D printing will enable us to print, rather than buy, all of the products we normally obtain from stores – from clothing and automobile parts to different foods and jewelry. Moreover, with 3D printing we may in the future be able to print organs and tissues, and hence alleviate or solve the suffering of those in need of transplants. With solutions to pressing problems ranging from organ shortages to reducing our environmental footprint through less waste, less transport costs, to more innovation, creativity and personalization some argue that 3D printing is a heavenly destiny indeed.

At the same time, however, there are also critical voices to be heard. First and foremost, while 3D printing has been on the market for some decades now, the public at large has yet to get to know it in practice, let alone to adopt it for their personal production purposes. Techniques and technologies for 3D printing have developed drastically over time, but the mass deployment of this technology is only just picking up momentum. Moreover, research and development with respect to the applications mentioned above – printing your own food or a new organ – are still in their infancy and will probably take decades to come to maturity. These points have led critics to suggest that the big dreams behind 3D printing may turn out to be the hallucinations of a hyped-up new prospect, forever receding over the horizon. 

Finally, 3D printing raises serious social, ethical, regulatory and legal questions. If individuals can print anything they want, how are we going to solve issues of, for example, gun control or intellectual property infringement? What will be the effects of home-printed goods and foods on our economy, on the transport sector, on the worldwide hunt for scarce resources? Does this new technology need regulation, and if so, how will we regulate it, and with which purposes? What is the effect of a level playing field for producing goods on innovation and creativity?

These and many other question will be addressed during the two-day international, multidisciplinary conference ‘3D printing: destiny, doom or dream?, which will take place on 14 and 15 November 2013 at Leiden University’s Law School in the Netherlands. This conference is organised by eLaw, the Centre for Law in the Information Society, and is part of its biannual conference series.

 

 

Published in Lectures
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 - 358 pages 
$90.00 hc 
ISBN 978-1-4384-4971-5

Electronic - 358 pages
$27.95
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-4973-9

Paperback - 358 pages
$27.95
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-4972-2
Release Date: January 2015

SUNY Press
state university of new york press
1-877-204-6073 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • www.sunypress.edu

REVIEWS

“The most important merit of the book is to propose a convincing definition of man and his relation to technology. With regard to the first aspect, de Mul occupies a middle position between the modern philosophies of the subject and the postmodern philosophies which have deconstructed it. As opposed to the Cartesian transparent and self-evident cogito, he argues that there are forces inside and outside man which make us often act against our own expectations. Unlike the contemporary heirs of the masters of suspicion Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, he does not believe that the subject is a mere illusion. The tragic definition of the subject is halfway between these two exaggerations. The tragic man is at the same time powerful and powerless, autonomous and limited, strong and fragile, and there is a surprising continuity between the ancient Greek man and the contemporary human being. Maybe the truth is that we have always been tragic – we have never been modern – but for a long period we have acted as if it was the case. As regards our relation to technology, too, de Mul’s position is halfway between two extremes. In contrast to a certain – especially continental – philosophy of technology of the twentieth century, represented by authors like Heidegger, Ellul, and Marcuse, he does not think that technology is intrinsically destructive forman. Yet it does not mean that technology is simply neutral, according to him. The tragic man deals with technology without unjustified fear, but he is aware of its power.

Thanks to this clear perspective, the text can have a relevant role in the contemporary philosophical debate on technology. Although it was originally published in Dutch in 2006, its ideas are current more than ever.”

Alberto Romele

 

Published in Books

 约斯·德·穆尔 著,吕和应译:《有限性的悲剧:狄尔泰的生命释义学》,上海:上海三联书店出版社2013年版

作者: 约斯·德·穆尔 [荷] Jos de Mul 
出版社: 上海三联书店
副标题: 狄尔泰的生命释义学
原作名: The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey's Hermeneutics of Life
译者: 吕和应 
出版年: 2013-5
页数: 440
定价: 58.00元
装帧: 平装
丛书: 上海三联人文经典书库
ISBN: 9787542638014

One of the founders of modern hermeneutics, German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) confronted the question of how modern, postmetaphysical human beings can cope with the ambivalence, contingency, and finitude that fundamentally characterize their lives. This book offers a reevaluation and fresh analysis of Dilthey’s hermeneutics of life against the background of the development of philosophy during the past two centuries.

Jos de Mul relates Dilthey’s work to other philosophers who influenced or were influenced by him, including Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Comte, Mill, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Derrida. Weaving together systematic analysis and historical investigation, de Mul begins the book with an account of the horizon on which Dilthey developed his unfinished masterwork, Critique of Historical Reason. The author then elaborates a systematic reconstruction of Dilthey’s ontology of life, relates the ontology to the work of other twentieth-century philosophers, and positions Dilthey’s thought within current philosophical debate.

Jos de Mul is full professor in philosophical anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Winner of the Praemium Erasmianum Research Prize.
 

"A thorough, insightful account of Dilthey's philosophy, this book offers many valuable new contributions. De Mul argues effectively for Dilthey's relevance today" 
Rudolf Makkreel, Emory University, Atlanta

 "De Mul is an ambitious commentator. He reconstructs both biography and cultural context, and he interprets virtually all of Dilthey's more substantial writings while seeking to engage with his critics. In addition to extensive discussions of Dilthey's own writings, there are long sections on Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Gadamer, and Derrida. In a book that may stand as one of the best and most thorough in the recent critical literature on Dilthey, de Mul successfully tackles all of these challenges"

Espen Hammer, The Review of Metaphysics 60:4 (2007)  Read entire review

In an era of heightened existential vulnerability and awareness of finitude there is a correspondingly heightened need for new contexts of human understanding. Here we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to de Mul for providing us with a superb explication of the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey, whose precocious insights into the finitude and historical contingency of human understanding promise to contribute immeasurably to the widening of its horizons. 

Robert D. Stolorow, Human Studies. A Journal for Philosophy and the Social Sciences (2012) Read entire review

Amazon.com: Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This work by de Mul is the definitive synthesis on Dilthey available in English. It not only develops the thought of Dilthey chronologically, it also sets his thought in an overall structure that he terms the Critique. This structure solves one of the major problems of Dilthey studies - how to organize his disparate thoughts when no definitive work of his exists. Until this book, most other treatments, while helpful and informative, have not managed to rise to the precision and clarity of this work.

One of most helpful aspects to this book is the author's ability to locate and identify the tensions in Dilthey and provide the structure that is needed to understand them. By describing how ambivalence, contingency, and finitude serve as structuring ideas to Dilthey's thought, the author saves a reader from finding Dilthey contradictory and incomprehensible.

One final aspect of praise for this work is the clarity of thought and writing. A helpful and detailed Table of Contents allows any reader to quickly discover the argument and structure of the book. In addition, most esoteric and technical terms and ideas (including many 19th Century German philosophical concepts) are explained quickly and understandably in a way that allows one unfamiliar with these ideas to follow. These explanations, however, do not sidetrack the argument from its purpose and therefore do not prove distracting to one more familiar with the history and ideas referenced.

In conclusion, after having read many works on Dilthey, I find this to be the clearest, most informative, and best written of them all. Not only will it introduce one to a great philosopher, it will also provide a synthesis of his thought that is invaluable.

 

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