- From the Editor
This issue is the first to appear in the mini-series I entitled “Thinking with the Sciences.” Thinking with the sciences: that is not against, or instead of them. I am also suggesting that epistemology is certainly necessary but not sufficient; and that the promotion of an ancillary use of the humanities and the arts as illustration, theoretical grounding, or aesthetic adornment for “scientific knowledge” is not what matters.
We begin our task with the case of technique and technics. Despite the impressive growth in recent years of scholarly work on such categories, they often continue to be hastily and unreflectively discarded or adopted by the discursive disciplines: the curse against the evil essence is our Charybdis, and the childish enthusiasm for digital novelty or big data is our Scylla. The challenge lies in a diacritical examination of tekhnē that would be apt to concurrently integrate it into the fabric of its theory. By taking technics to be more than techniques and by giving it a crucial role in problematic and conceptual reasoning, we might be able to address questions that are supposed to be unrelated to any techno-logy. This is at least the promise I find in Bernard Stiegler’s ample discussion of différance in video art or jazz—and in Robert Hughes’ appropriation of the figure of the amateur. Philosophy itself could be displaced by a fresh consideration of (its) technics, as Pierre Ducassé proposes in the excerpt we are publishing of his book Les techniques et le philosophe. In his own reading of Ducassé, François-David Sebbah identifies this displacement with a philosophical reinvention of invention itself—an idea I would personally contrast with the additional need for creation in thinking. It is worth noting that Sebbah’s article in this collection reviews a volume published in French in . . . 1958—and that we are publishing for the first time in English a part of Ducassé’s original text. As both Sebbah and Daryl Lee (in his translator’s preface to “Technics and the Philosopher”) pointedly explain, Ducassé has not—yet—benefited from the recent “rediscovery” of a line of French thinkers invested in technics, a line that includes now more well-known authors such as Georges Canguilhem or Gilbert Simondon.
In this sense, the title of this collection, “French Technophilosophy,” first refers to what used to be a longstanding condition of quasi-invisibility, within the milieu of “French thought” and beyond, for any theory that would “do things” with technics. Then, why not speak of technophilosophy to name a certain way of reasoning that would take special care of tekhnē, understood as comprising method, art, manner, métier, technique, and technics? At any rate, the images in this issue, provided by Alex Dragulescu, aesthetically express this potential relation between formal invention and the technical. [End Page 1]