The oblique perspective: philosophical diagnostics of contemporary life sciences research

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This paper indicates how continental philosophy may contribute to a diagnostics of contemporary life sciences research, as part of a “diagnostics of the present”. First, I describe various options for an oblique reading of emerging scientific discourse, bent on uncovering the basic “philosophemes” of science. Subsequently, I outline a number of radical transformations occurring both at the object-pole and at the subject-pole of the current knowledge relationship, namely the technification of the object and the anonymisation or collectivisation of the subject, under the sway of automation, ICT and big machines. Finally, I further elaborate the specificity of the oblique perspective with the help of Lacan’s theorem of the four discourses. Philosophical reflections on contemporary life sciences concur neither with a Master’s discourse, nor with university discourse, nor with what Lacan refers to as hysterical discourse, but rather with the discourse of the analyst, listening with evenly-poised attention to the scientific files in order to bring to the fore the cupido sciendi which both inspires and disrupts contemporary life sciences discourse.
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Archival date: 2019-02-07
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