Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

Subject Area

Philosophy

Description

This presentation examines the philosophy of Georges Bataille on three fronts: Part I deals with an examination of Claude Levi-Strauss’ theory on the prohibition of incest, which links the formation of political systems of patrilineal genealogy to the economic reduction of feminine identity at the level of proprietary wealth, defining an exchange "fundamental to the movement from nature to society." Bataille disagrees, arguing that the exchange of women is ceremonial, based in giving without expectation of return, claiming that political power is maintained through the sacrifice of wealth. Part II discusses the geopolitical implication of Levi-Strauss’ suggestion that at the opposite end of incest is extreme exogamy, using the example of the South African Apartheid as a case-study in miniature to discuss the “inhibited synthesis” of modern colonial progress in the development of a global order. I critique how the adoption of neoliberal capitalism as a progressive ideology vis-à-vis its promises of national sovereignty and economic partnership fails to recognize the historical entrenchment of political power and wealth accumulation of post-industrial Eurocentric regimes, which systematically exploit new players for their own ends. Bataille assesses this geopolitical deadlock of power by reconsidering the purpose of wealth, arguing that the purpose of wealth is not realized through the capitalist system of profit-investment-accumulation, but rather through acts of useless expenditure, which generate cultural “ecstasies” conducive to synthesis. Part III deals with the critical shift in philosophy and the problem of real access for post-Kantian epistemology, which remains caught in a state of inhibited synthesis between the real and the apparent. Bataille critiques the “failure” of Hegelian idealism to reconstruct the real in the wake of Kant, namely because Hegel still detaches matter, as a unified concept, situating it below the ends of rationality. Bataille argues that matter must be abstracted from conceptual-rational thought, re-constituting thought as matter, and thus allowing for a return of the epistemic access to the real. I argue that Bataille’s work encompasses a major framework that allows for a new kind of speculative realism, envisioning social, geopolitical, and epistemic boundaries.

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May 15th, 12:15 PM May 15th, 1:30 PM

Inhibited Synthesis and Erotic Transgression: Georges Bataille in Three Movements

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

This presentation examines the philosophy of Georges Bataille on three fronts: Part I deals with an examination of Claude Levi-Strauss’ theory on the prohibition of incest, which links the formation of political systems of patrilineal genealogy to the economic reduction of feminine identity at the level of proprietary wealth, defining an exchange "fundamental to the movement from nature to society." Bataille disagrees, arguing that the exchange of women is ceremonial, based in giving without expectation of return, claiming that political power is maintained through the sacrifice of wealth. Part II discusses the geopolitical implication of Levi-Strauss’ suggestion that at the opposite end of incest is extreme exogamy, using the example of the South African Apartheid as a case-study in miniature to discuss the “inhibited synthesis” of modern colonial progress in the development of a global order. I critique how the adoption of neoliberal capitalism as a progressive ideology vis-à-vis its promises of national sovereignty and economic partnership fails to recognize the historical entrenchment of political power and wealth accumulation of post-industrial Eurocentric regimes, which systematically exploit new players for their own ends. Bataille assesses this geopolitical deadlock of power by reconsidering the purpose of wealth, arguing that the purpose of wealth is not realized through the capitalist system of profit-investment-accumulation, but rather through acts of useless expenditure, which generate cultural “ecstasies” conducive to synthesis. Part III deals with the critical shift in philosophy and the problem of real access for post-Kantian epistemology, which remains caught in a state of inhibited synthesis between the real and the apparent. Bataille critiques the “failure” of Hegelian idealism to reconstruct the real in the wake of Kant, namely because Hegel still detaches matter, as a unified concept, situating it below the ends of rationality. Bataille argues that matter must be abstracted from conceptual-rational thought, re-constituting thought as matter, and thus allowing for a return of the epistemic access to the real. I argue that Bataille’s work encompasses a major framework that allows for a new kind of speculative realism, envisioning social, geopolitical, and epistemic boundaries.

 

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