Saturday, July 14, 2012
Mark Hansen on the différance of the body.
In analyses ranging over mythology and paleontology, contemporary technoscience and phenomenology, Stiegler has developed a highly original philosophy of technology, the central premise of which is that the human has always been technological. Drawing on the perspective of French paleontologist Andre Leroi-Gourhan, who argues for the coincidence of tool use and the appearance of the human, Stiegler claims that the human can be specified as that being who evolves through means other than life, through a coupling with the independent ’exterior’ evolution of technological objects. This insistence on the correlation of the human subject (the ’who’) and the technical object (‘the what’) informs Stiegler’s rereading of Heidegger in volume 1 of Technics and Time as well as his divergences from Derrida’s retooling of Heidegger in Of Spirit and related works. Resurrecting Heidegger’s analysis in an early lecture from 1924 on time (‘The Concept of Time’), Stiegler shows that the emphasis Heidegger places on the opposition between ecstatic,transcendental temporality and mundane temporality is misplaced, since there can be no access to time, indeed no experience of time whatsoever, without the prior inscription of time in worldly form. Thus Dasein is irreducibly dependent on the technical giving of time. This analysis furnishes an alternative to Derrida’s own deconstruction of Heidegger and, as we shall see, a variant path toward thinking the possibility of the future. Whereas Derrida undoes the Heideggerian opposition only to rediscover and reemphasize the radical alterity of time (which forms the basis for the ’promise’ in his more recent ethico-religious perspective), Stiegler refuses to bracket the technical. As we will see, this difference ultimately concerns the role respectively accorded the empirical-transcendental divide by the two philosophers.
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