In late September, October, or November this Fall I hope to teach a New Centre course entitled “The Archeology of Matter” inaugurating and outlining a project that might be referred to as “hyletics”. It is often suggested that Descartes is responsible for mind/body dualism; however, philosophy has had a tendency towards idealism and dualism since its inception. Indeed, while it takes different forms, the tendency towards idealism and the erasure of matter is not unique to Western philosophy, but appears to be a cross-cultural phenomenon. Similar in ambition to deconstruction, hyletics explores the conceptual mechanisms and motivations by which materiality is repressed so as to open a space of thought proper to materiality. Far from a scientistic orientation of thought seeking to assert the primacy of the sciences over all other forms of cultural production, hyletics explores the repression of material labor, the living and lived body, the desiring body, the body that hungers, ages, that falls prey to sickness, that is tormented by desire, and the world of things throughout the world of thought. It seeks to determine what imperatives led to the primacy of the concept over the body and thing, the word over materiality, and how these inversions prepared the way for the rise of capital and the anthropocene.
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