Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In the last post I ended with the problem that biopolitics has to acknowledge a constructive aspect of public health that is not merely control of a vital impulse nor a collapse of the science of biology and the control technologies of governments. One concept that is important in this tension is that of population. […]


So last time I set up this progression: 1-Teleological (Kant, Blumenbach) 2-Functional (Cuvier, Bernard) 3-Organizational (Schelling, Herder) 4-Morphological (Goethe, Oken, St-Hilaire) The bio-political (in the negative sense) of these could be: 1-Anthropological Racism¬†(Races or Cultures are seen as more or less advanced) 2-Physiologies of Health¬†(Disciplined body as ‘healthy’ productive body) 3-National Organicism¬†(Healthy society is harmonious […]


Given Agamben’s recent gaff and some of the responses to it, it seems important to ask what is the bio- in biopolitics (as I ended the last post)? The problem is not only that certain trends in contemporary biology have dominated the popular perception of it (internal and external to the discipline itself) but also […]


Flattened Herds

16Mar20

Flattening the curve and herd immunity are terms that are being thrown around quite a bit during the last few days. The former refers to getting the number of cases down so that they do not overwhelm the carrying capacity of a given countries’ health care system while the latter refers to the notion that […]


Reading through science studies, sts, history of science, and philosophy of science it is easy to lose all sense of what science is to the fields that attempt to study it. The multiplication of philosophy of fields of science (such as philosophy of chemistry or philosophy of biology) also begs the question of what is […]


Agent: Teleomechanism Theories: Epigenesis/Preformation Temporal Dimension: Natural History Figures: Blumenbach, Kant Agent: Self-Organization Theory: Life force/Vital matter Temporal Dimension: History of Nature Figures: Herder, Kielmeyer, Schelling Agent: Function Theory: Degeneration/Transformation Temporal Dimension: Catastrophe Figures: Stahl, von Haller, Cuvier, Bichat Agent: Morphology Theory: Metamorphosis/Archetypes Temporal Dimension: Gradualism Figures: Goethe, St-Hilaire, Oken This is a working draft […]


Last time I wrote about (among other things) how the mistake of confusing the normal with the healthy should not be merely combined with a critique of the biometric approach in biology (or even more generally the mathematization of life). Canguilhem is well known for repeating over and over the impossibility of equating the normal […]


A long erratic path has led me back to looking at biology and bio-philosophy as part of a book project on the relationship between German Romanticism/Naturphilosophie and French Structuralism and Materialism. Having read both analytic Philosophy of Biology (especially Grene and Depew) and various Bio-Philosophies (Bergson’s Creative Evolution, Canguilhem’s Knowledge of Life, various Deleuzian takes […]


Elvia Wilk’s novel Oval is about a green-washed near-future Berlin that moves straight into disaster without anyone seeming to notice it is too late, without anyone talking about the actual problems around them. All the characters seem too invested with a narrow vision of their immediate situations, of wondering about their social circles, with small […]


There is a well known letter that Mark Twain wrote to his friend Joe Twichell soon after the death of Twain’s wife ‘Livy’ which constantly returns to me. It has come to my mind more and more recently as I have had too many occasions to think about the death of someone I knew. In […]