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Massimiliano Simons
University of Ghent
  1. Dreaming of a Universal Biology: Synthetic Biology and the Origins of Life.Massimiliano Simons - 2021 - Hyle: International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry 27:91-116.
    Synthetic biology aims to synthesize novel biological systems or redesign existing ones. The field has raised numerous philosophical questions, but most especially what is novel to this field. In this article I argue for a novel take, since the dominant ways to understand synthetic biology’s specificity each face problems. Inspired by the examination of the work of a number of chemists, I argue that synthetic biology differentiates itself by a new regime of articulation, i.e. a new way of articulating the (...)
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  2. The Parliament of Things and the Anthropocene: How to Listen to ‘Quasi-Objects’.Massimiliano Simons - 2017 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 21 (2/3):1-25.
    Among the contemporary philosophers using the concept of the Anthropocene, Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers are prominent examples. The way they use this concept, however, diverts from the most common understanding of the Anthropocene. In fact, their use of this notion is a continuation of their earlier work around the concept of a ‘parliament of things.’ Although mainly seen as a sociology or philosophy of science, their work can be read as philosophy of technology as well. Similar to Latour’s claim (...)
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  3. Surrationalism After Bachelard: Michel Serres and le Nouveau Nouvel Esprit Scientifique.Massimiliano Simons - 2019 - Parrhesia 31:60-84.
    The work of Michel Serres is often presented as a radical break with the work of Gaston Bachelard. The aim of this paper is to partly correct this image, by focusing on Serres’s early Hermes series (1969-1980). In these books Serres portrays himself as a follower of Bachelard, exemplarily shown in his neologism of the ‘new new scientific spirit’ (le nouveau nouvel esprit scientifique), updating Bachelard in the light of more recent scientific developments. This allows a reinterpretation of the relation (...)
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  4.  42
    Positivism in Action: The Case of Louis Rougier.Fons Dewulf & Massimiliano Simons - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 11 (2).
    In this paper, we investigate how the life and work of Louis Rougier relate to the broader political dimension of logical empiricist philosophy. We focus on three practical projects of Rougier in the 1930s and 1940s. First, his attempts to integrate French-speaking philosophers into an international network of scientific philosophers by organizing two Unity of Science conferences in Paris. Second, his role in the renewal of liberalism through the organization of the Walter Lippmann Colloquium. Third, Rougier’s attempts at political negotiations (...)
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  5. Obligation to Judge or Judging Obligations: The Integration of Philosophy and Science in Francophone Philosophy of Science.Massimiliano Simons - 2019 - In Emily Herring, Kevin Matthew Jones, Konstantin S. Kiprijanov & Laura M. Sellers (eds.), The Past, Present, and Future of Integrated History and Philosophy of Science. Londen, Verenigd Koninkrijk: pp. 139-160.
    The aim of this chapter is to show how Francophone PS, or what is called French (historical) epistemology, embodies this interconnectedness. Moreover, a novel approach to what constitutes French epistemology will be developed here, going beyond a purely historical survey or a reevaluation of a range of concepts found in this tradition.7 The aim is instead to highlight two methodological principles at work in French epistemology that are often in tension with one another, but are not recognized as such in (...)
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  6. Naar een emancipatie van de complottheorie.Massimiliano Simons - 2017 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 3 (79):473-497.
    This article argues that pseudoscience lacks an adequate philosophical analysis. Using conspiracy theories as a case study, it is claimed that such an analysis needs to go beyond a mere epistemological approach. In the first part, it is shown that the existing philosophical literature shares the assumption that conspiracy theories are primarily deficient scientific hypotheses. This claim is contested, because such an approach can only understand what conspiracy theories fail to be, but not what they are and why people tend (...)
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  7. The Janus Head of Bachelard’s Phenomenotechnique: From Purification to Proliferation and Back.Massimiliano Simons - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):689-707.
    The work of Gaston Bachelard is known for two crucial concepts, that of the epistemological rupture and that of phenomenotechnique. A crucial question is, however, how these two concepts relate to one another. Are they in fact essentially connected or must they be seen as two separate elements of Bachelard’s thinking? This paper aims to analyse the relation between these two Bachelardian moments and the significance of the concept of phenomenotechnique for today. This will be done by examining how the (...)
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  8. Franco 'Bifo' Berardi en de economische wetenschap als ideologie.Tim Christiaens & Massimiliano Simons - 2017 - de Uil van Minerva: Tijdschrift Voor Geschiedenis En Wijsbegeerte van de Cultuur 30 (1):44-68.
    Wij presenteren Berardi’s herwerking van de ideologiekritiek in drie stappen. Eerst schetsen wij de context waarin Berardi de ideologiekritiek herdenkt. Hij bouwt verder op de ontdekking van Deleuze en Guattari dat de taal van het kapitalisme niet de code, maar de axiomatiek is. De economische wetenschap biedt, volgens hen, mensen geen identiteit aan, maar bestaat uit een reeks commando’s die stromen van geld, arbeid, elektriciteit, enzovoort reguleert. Daaraan koppelt Berardi de observatie dat het hedendaagse kapitalisme vooral tekens verhandelt in plaats (...)
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  9. The End and Rebirth of Nature? From Politics of Nature to Synthetic Biology.Massimiliano Simons - 2016 - Philosophica -- Revista Do Departamento de Filosofia da Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa 47:109-124.
    In this article, two different claims about nature are discussed. On the one hand, environmental philosophy has forced us to reflect on our position within nature. We are not the masters of nature as was claimed before. On the other hand there are the recent developments within synthetic biology. It claims that, now at last, we can be the masters of nature we have never been before. The question is then raised how these two claims must be related to one (...)
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  10. Beyond Ideology Althusser, Foucault and French Epistemology.Massimiliano Simons - 2015 - Pulse: A Journal of History, Sociology and Philosophy of Science 3:62-77.
    The philosophy of Louis Althusser is often contrasted with the ideas of Michel Foucault. At first sight, the disagreement seems to be about the concept of ideology: while Althusser seem to be huge advocate of the use of the concept, Foucault apparently dislikes and avoids the concept altogether. However, I argue in this article that this reading is only superficial and that it obscures the real debate between these two authors. Althusser, especially in his recently posthumously published Sur la reproduction (...)
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  11. De nieuwe poortwachters van de waarheid.Massimiliano Simons - 2020 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 1 (82):33-56.
    The central claim of this article is that post-truth requires a political and socio-economical perspective, rather than a moral or epistemological one. The article consists of two parts. The first part offers a critical examination of the dominant analyses of post-truth in terms of shifting standards of the origin and the evaluation of facts. Moreover, the claim that postmodernism is the cause of post-truth is examined and refuted. In the second part an alternative perspective is developed, centring around the notion (...)
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  12.  12
    Een inleiding in de Franse historische epistemologie.Massimiliano Simons & Hannes Van Engeland - 2021 - de Uil van Minerva: Tijdschrift Voor Geschiedenis En Wijsbegeerte van de Cultuur 34 (2):104-118.
    Verrassend misschien voor filosofen buiten Frankrijk, maar in Parijs is wetenschap altijd een object van filosofische reflectie geweest – niet in de vorm van de analytische wetenschapsfilosofie zoals die buiten Frankrijk wordt onderwezen, maar onder de noemer van historische epistemologie, of soms ook wel kortweg épistémologie genoemd. Dit themanummer wil een inleiding zijn op deze traditie in haar denkers.
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  13. Gaston Bachelard and Contemporary Philosophy.Massimiliano Simons, Jonas Rutgeerts, Anneleen Masschelein & Paul Cortois - 2019 - Parrhesia 31:1-16.
    This special issue aims to redress the balance and to open up Gaston Bachelard's work beyond a small in-crowd of experts and aficionado’s in France. It aims to stimulate the discovery of new and understudied aspects of Bachelard’s work, including aspects of the intellectual milieu he was working in. Fortunately, for this purpose we were able to rely both on renowned Bachelard specialists, such as Hans-Jörg Rheinberg-er, Cristina Chimisso and Dominique Lecourt, as well as on a number of younger scholars (...)
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  14.  77
    Were Experiments Ever Neglected? Ian Hacking and the History of Philosophy of Experiment.Massimiliano Simons & Matteo Vagelli - 2021 - Philosophical Inquiries 9 (1):167-188.
    Ian Hacking’s Representing and Intervening is often credited as being one of the first works to focus on the role of experimentation in philosophy of science, catalyzing a movement which is sometimes called the “philosophy of experiment” or “new experimentalism”. In the 1980s, a number of other movements and scholars also began focusing on the role of experimentation and instruments in science. Philosophical study of experimentation has thus seemed to be an invention of the 1980s whose central figure is Hacking. (...)
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