September 14th – Canguilhem and Simondon & September 15th Philosophical Anthropology

September 14th-15th, workshops on Canguilhem-Simondon and Philosophical Anthropology, Durham and Newcastle Universities

Two events may be of interest, running on consecutive days in Durham and Newcastle.

1) Sept 14th, Durham University, Centre for Cultural Ecologies, Canguilhem-Simondon: Epistemology and Ontology of the Milieu

To date, the intellectual legacies of Georges Canguilhem (1904-1995) and Gilbert Simondon (1925-1989) have largely been recognised through their impact on others, with Canguilhem known as an influence on Michel Foucault and Simondon influencing Gilles Deleuze and, latterly, Bruno Latour and Bernard Stiegler. With the shift of research in continental philosophy towards biology, technology and the medical humanities, plus the importance of their concept of ‘milieu’ to the environmental sciences, both are now increasingly seen as major philosophers in their own right. It is this concept of milieu that links Canguilhem and Simondon together. The former defined health and pathology in terms of the ability to withstand environmental perturbation, or ‘inconsistencies in the milieu’, and ultimately saw knowledge and technology as extensions of the norms through which biological organisms create their own environment. The latter sought to update the work of his supervisor to account for the constitutive role of technical environments (‘associated milieus’) in the ‘individuation’, or ontogenesis, of the tool-user, which led in turn to a fundamental revision of Marx’s theory of alienation. This workshop will provide a forum for discussing all aspects of the work of Canguilhem and Simondon, taken both in their own right and in relation to others. Discussions will start with the milieu, but range beyond it to broach topics including epistemology and ontology; pathology and disindividuation; biological and technical normativity; science and work, among others.
Confirmed speakers include: Andrea Bardin (Brunel)—Stuart Elden (Warwick)—Anaïs Nony (Florida State)—Mauro Senatore (Durham)

There are still a couple of spaces available to give a paper. For further information, or to register your participation (free of charge), email

2) Sept 15th, Newcastle University, Philosophy
Philosophical Anthropology and Contemporary Continental Philosophy

What is the relation between the empirical species, homo sapiens and the symbolic cultural institutions and structures to which it must accommodate itself in order to become fully ‘human’? How are we to understand the transition between the ‘human animal’ and the transcendental subject, ‘Dasein’, or however we choose to describe the human being’s philosophical double? What sort of natural character must the human animal possess if it is to be capable of the role that philosophy has assigned it? And what effects if any should this natural character have on this role and on the political and institutional arrangements which we ultimately advocate?

With the turn of continental philosophy towards the natural sciences, including, in particular, evolutionary theory and biology, and the increasingly theoretical inclinations of Cultural Anthropology, it seems that a reconsideration of the idea of a ‘philosophical anthropology’ might prove to be fruitful in indicating a way out of certain of the impasses of contemporary thought.

This workshop attempts a preliminary gathering together of perspectives on the question of man in contemporary continental philosophy with a view to clarifying the problem and identifying possible solutions. Figures to be addressed include Martin Heidegger, Gilbert Simondon, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Catherine Malabou, Bernard Stiegler, and Paolo Virno.

Confirmed speakers for that event are Anne Alombert (Nanterre); Lorenzo Chiesa (Genoa School of Humanities/European University at St. Petersburg); Elizabeth Cykowski (Oxford); Michael Lewis (Newcastle); Nina Power (Roehampton). For information and (free) registration, email or

Workshop on Philosophical Anthropology and Contemporary Continental Philosophy

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