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Durham University

Centre for Cultural Ecologies

Events and News

Forthcoming Events

Canguilhem-Simondon: Epistemology and Ontology of the Milieu

14th September 2017, 09:00 to 17:30, Palatine Centre, Gerald Moore

Abstract: To date, the intellectual legacies of Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) and Gilbert Simondon (1925-1989) have largely been recognised through their impact on others, with Canguilhem known as an influence on Michel Foucault and Simondon influencing Gilles Deleuze and, latterly, Bruno Latour and Bernard Stiegler. With the shift of research in continental philosophy towards biology, technology and the medical humanities, plus the importance of their concept of ‘milieu’ to the environmental sciences, both are now increasingly seen as major philosophers in their own right. It is this concept of milieu that links Canguilhem and Simondon together. The former defined health and pathology in terms of the ability to withstand environmental perturbation, or ‘inconsistencies in the milieu’, and ultimately saw knowledge and technology as extensions of the norms through which biological organisms create their own environment. The latter sought to update the work of his supervisor to account for the constitutive role of technical environments (‘associated milieus’) in the ‘individuation’, or ontogenesis, of the tool-user, which led in turn to a fundamental revision of Marx’s theory of alienation.

This workshop will provide a forum for discussing all aspects of the work of Canguilhem and Simondon, taken both in their own right and in relation to others. Discussions will start with the milieu, but range beyond it to broach topics including epistemology and ontology; pathology and disindividuation; biological and technical normativity; science and work, among others.


Andrea Bardin (Oxford Brookes)

Olivier Del Fabbro (ETH Zürich)

Igor Galligo (EHESS)

Benjamin Herm-Morris (Durham)

Anaïs Nony (Florida State)

Mauro Senatore (Durham)

Sander Werkhoven (Utrecht)

Charles Wolfe (Ghent)


09.00-09.30 Registration and coffee

09.30-11.00 Panel One

Charles Wolfe (Ghent), ‘Is The Normal and the Pathological Vitalist?’

Mauro Senatore (Durham), ‘New Animal-Machines: Canguilhem’s Zoopolitics’

11.00-11.30 Coffee and refreshments

11.30-13.00 Panel Two

Benjamin Herm-Morris (Durham), ‘The Problem of Individuality: A Matter of Perspective’

Igor Galligo (EHESS), ‘Design and the Health of Cognitive Artefacts: Sublimation in Canguilhem’

13.00-14.00 Buffet lunch

14.00-15.30 Panel Three

Andrea Bardin (Oxford Brookes), ‘Shifting Political Epistemology: Canguilhem to Simondon’

Anaïs Nony (Florida State University), ‘Pathologies and Invention in the Politics of the Milieu’

15.30-16.00 Coffee and refreshments

16.00-17.30 Panel Four

Olivier Del Fabbro (ETH Zürich), ‘What Is the Task of Philosophy? Canguilhem and Simondon’s concepts of philosophy, technology and science’

Sander Werkhoven (Utrecht), Title: TBD


Gerald Moore:

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