Bartosz Kuźniarz (Université de Bialystok, Pologne) donnera deux conférences lors de son passage à l’Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense...
Mardi 3 mars
(17h-19h, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, bâtiment L, salle 212).
I start with the thesis that liberalism had to create biopolitics and biopower as the main means of coordinating human actions. Moreover, the whole tradition of psychoanalysis is proof of much the same pattern. “We are tips of the iceberg of ourselves, what drives is not what we see and consciously sign up for” etc. We are unconsciously controlled. Philosophers put it succinctly: we are constructed as subjects (or, alternatively, man is dead, there is no such thing as a man, we are just an accidental play, intersection of coercive powers). That, in turn, spoils all the basic liberal assumptions. Liberals assume that there is a hard core of our personality where we are essentially free. Twentieth century social theory, that curious mixture of Marxian and Freudian insights, shows us that we are not doing what we want, even when we are acting exactly according to our own will. How are we to escape this existential deadlock? In ordr to do so, the lecture draws on the tradition of Aristotelian ethics, where authentic human life is conditional upon gaining true influence on one’s social environment (polis). I intend to show that contrary to much of today’s leftist thought, attached to the bombastic “collective” rhetoric, the search for the lost political agency is best to be conducted at the level of human subject. To criticize liberalism, it is enough to treat its claims seriously – something, as the lecture argues, entirely in line with the largely neglected tradition of existentialism. The psychopolitical basis, or agency, for socialism is provided by a true – vice versa shallow or “liberal” – search of one’s self..
Jeudi 5 mars
(17h-19h, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, bâtiment D, salle 201b).
A Devil of a System: Money as a Medium of Communication in Niklas Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory.
Conférence donnée dans le cadre des activités du laboratoire Sophiapol.
The lecture provides a general outline of Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. Luhmann’s theory is one of the most fruitful and adequate – yet still rarely recognized as such outside of Germany – perspectives on our today’s postmodern condition. It is by no means accidental that Jürgen Habermas, in his renowned The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity from 1985, treats Luhmann’s theory as the ultimate achievement of contemporary social theory. The aim of the lecture is to give listeners basic understanding and „feel” of Luhmann’s concepts, supplementing this theoretical background with concrete analysis of the social meaning of money in today’s economy. Money, using Luhmann’s categories, is at the same time “symbolic” and “diabolic”. The very features that make it economically useful have detrimental social upshots. Moreover, as I argue, Luhmann’s perspective, for all its merits, needs to be corrected. Money is not just one of many media of communication of modern social systems. It is the medium that undergirds operations of all other systems and as such works as their tacit and diabolic “double”..