Read e-book online Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, PDF

By Elizabeth Grosz

ISBN-10: 0822350718

ISBN-13: 9780822350712

In changing into Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses 3 comparable concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the consequences of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. not easy characterizations of Darwin’s paintings as a kind of genetic determinism, Grosz exhibits that his writing unearths an insistence at the distinction among typical choice and sexual choice, the rules that control survival and reputation, respectively. Sexual choice complicates usual choice by way of introducing aesthetic components and the expression of person will, hope, or excitement. Grosz explores how Darwin’s thought of sexual choice transforms philosophy, our knowing of humanity in its female and male kinds, our rules of political family members, and our strategies of artwork. Connecting the naturalist’s paintings to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that knows all of lifestyles as types of competing and coordinating modes of openness. even if feminists were suspicious of the suggestions of nature and biology significant to Darwin’s paintings, Grosz proposes that his writings are a wealthy source for constructing a extra politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist figuring out of subject, nature, biology, time, and becoming.

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Extra info for Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art

Sample text

He speculates that we cannot assume that the kinds of morality that we as humans find ‘‘natural’’ or conducive to our well-being (as widely conflicting as these are among di√erent categories of the human) are of the same kind that would regulate other species. —were rightfully attributed a sense of beauty, morality, or well-being, a very different type of ethics, aesthetics, and technics would come into existence, just as a language of a very di√erent kind than the human’s has now been elaborated as the masterful and complex language of bees: I do not wish to maintain that any strictly social animal, if its intellectual faculties were to become as active and as highly developed as in man, would acquire exactly the same moral sense as ours.

What is it that all forms of life share? What di√erentiates the living from the nonliving? What constitutes the élan vital? How can it be distinguished from the order that structures relations within material systems? In other words, how can life be di√erentiated from matter, opposed to matter, specified as di√erent in kind from matter? What is the relation between life and matter, perhaps the central concern of contemporary philosophies of life? This is a Darwinian question, a question possible only after Darwin’s revolution, which assumes the emergence of life from some kind of perhaps peculiar or perhaps common chemical and material arrangements.

Here I want to focus only on the curious entwinement of matter and life that Bergson formulates in Creative Evolution and The Creative Mind. Bergson’s primary question concerns what constitutes organic life. What is it that all forms of life share? What di√erentiates the living from the nonliving? What constitutes the élan vital? How can it be distinguished from the order that structures relations within material systems? In other words, how can life be di√erentiated from matter, opposed to matter, specified as di√erent in kind from matter?

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Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art by Elizabeth Grosz


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