Nanjing Lectures (2016-2019)

by Bernard Stiegler

Edited and translated by Daniel Ross

In this series of lectures, delivered at Nanjing University from 2016 to 2019, Bernard Stiegler rethinks the so-called Anthropocene in relation to philosophy’s failure to reckon with the manifold and indeed “cosmic” consequences of the entropic and thermodynamic revolution. Beginning with the Oxford Dictionaries’ decision to make “post-truth” the 2016 word of the year, and taking this as an opportunity to understand the implications for Heidegger’s “history of being”, “history of truth” and Gestell, the first series of lectures enter into an original consideration of the relationship between Socrates and Plato (and of tragic Greece in general) and its meaning for the history of Western philosophy. The following year’s lecture series traverse a path from Foucault’s biopower to psychopower to neuropower, and then to a critique of neuroeconomics. Revising Husserl’s account of retention to focus on the irreducible connection between human memory and technological memory, the lectures culminate in reflections on the significance of neurotechnology in platform capitalism. The concept of hyper-matter is introduced in the lectures of 2019 as requisite for an epistemology that escapes the trap of opposing the material and the ideal in order to respond to the need for a new critique of the notion of information and technological performativity (of which Moore’s law both is and is not an example) in an age when the biosphere has become a technosphere.

Author Bio

Bernard Stiegler is a French philosopher who is director of the Institut de recherche et d’innovation, and a doctor of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He has been a program director at the Collège international de philosophie, senior lecturer at Université de Compiègne, deputy director general of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, director of IRCAM, and director of the Cultural Development Department at the Centre Pompidou. He is also president of Ars Industrialis, an association he founded in 2006, as well as a distinguished professor of the Advanced Studies Institute of Nanjing, and visiting professor of the Academy of the Arts of Hangzhou, as well as a member of the French government’s Conseil national du numérique. Stiegler has published more than thirty books, all of which situate the question of technology as the repressed centre of philosophy, and in particular insofar as it constitutes an artificial, exteriorised memory that undergoes numerous transformations in the course of human existence.

Editor and translator

Daniel Ross has translated numerous books by Bernard Stiegler, including most recently Nanjing Lectures 2016-2019 (Open Humanities Press) and The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism (Polity Press). With David Barison, he is the co-director of the award-winning documentary about Martin Heidegger, The Ister, which premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival and was the recipient of the Prix du Groupement National des Cinémas de Recherche (GNCR) and the Prix de l’AQCC at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Montreal (2004). He is the author of Political Anaphylaxis (OHP, 2021), Violent Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and numerous articles and chapters on the work of Bernard Stiegler.