Deleuzian Intersections. Science, Technology, Anthropology (review)


Relations between science and the humanities have not uniformly improved since C. P. Snow’s famous 1959 diagnosis of their “two cultures.” The Frankfurt School fostered a global suspicion of “technology and science as ideology,” as Habermas’s title had it. Simplistic versions of “social constructivism” (preached mostly in English departments), wherein any reference to science was dismissed out of hand as “essentialist,” hardly helped. On the other side of the fence, Alan Sokal’s 1996 parody of this went hand-in-hand with an equally global dismissal of any understanding of science by post-structuralists; in film studies, the “cognitive turn” has usually been accompanied by sweeping disavowals of so-called “grand theory.” N. Katherine Hayles’ work on the boundaries of science and humanities, Niklas Luhmann’s borrowings from cybernetics, or Friedrich Kittler’s histories of technology have remained exceptional; a great many humanities scholars still prefer a now very conventional culturalism. Since references to science and mathematics are frequent in Deleuze’s work, and more substantial than mere passing metaphors, he makes a logical point of departure for exploring a philosophy of science that would neither reduce the latter to mere “construction,” nor dismiss humanities methodologies as unprovable castles in the air.

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