Organization : Anne Alombert (Université Paris 8, Laboratoire d’études et de recherches sur les logiques contemporaines de la philosophie), Chiara Giaccardi and Mauro Magatti (Universita Cattolica Milano, Centre for the Anthropology of Religion and Cultural Change), Gaël Giraud (Georgetown University, Environmental Justice Program), Michał Krzykawski (University of Silesia in Katowice, Centre for Critical Technology Studies), Yuk Hui (City University of Hong Kong, School of Creative Media), Mark Swilling (Stellenbosch University, Sustainability Institute), Daniel Ross.
The Anthropocene is a new geological epoch in which human disturbances are having an impact, not only on the biosphere, but on the whole Earth, understood as a complex system (Hamilton 2014; Hamilton, Grinevald 2015). Confronted with the Anthropocene, modern humans, who have through their exosomatic (and now hyper-industrial) activities transformed and harmed the biosphere, are certainly no longer “masters and possessors of nature” as famously described by Descartes: on the contrary, it is now the technosphere itself, as a planetary network of technical systems, that seems to occupy the driver’s seat, and on many interrelated scales.
In Bifurcate: “There is No Alternative”, a book edited by philosopher Bernard Stiegler with the Internation Collective (2021), it is claimed that the Anthropocene can be termed an Entropocene, as it corresponds to increasing rates of entropy production in all its forms: thermodynamic entropy (the degradation of energy), biological entropy (the reduction of biodiversity), informational entropy (the reduction of knowledge to information, the incalculable to the calculable, which incidentally gives rise to negative effects that can themselves be defined as psychic and social entropies). Departing from the opposition between technological humankind and nature, Stiegler’s diagnosis encourages us to reconsider the relationship between various phenomena found in the technosphere: on the one hand, the depletion of resources, the destruction of ecosystems and the reduction of biodiversity under the effect of extractivist capitalism based on the exploitation of fossil fuels; on the other hand, the disruption of institutions, the destruction of cultures and the reduction of noodiversity under the effect of computational capitalism based on the exploitation of data.
In such a context, the challenges of achieving ecological and technological transitions can no longer be addressed separately. Instead, a transversal approach to these overlapping phenomena is required: different modes of understanding must be brought together, beyond the rift between “hard” and “soft” sciences, in order to bring the question of entropy into focus in the context of the Anthropocene-cum-Entropocene. Since the beginning of the 20th century, “that eminently abstract concept of entropy” has proved to be problematic and posed many theoretical difficulties: from thermodynamics in physics, as well as in biology, information theory and economics, and up to complex systems science, a series of misunderstandings seems to have shaped the interpretation and understanding of this concept. Given our current situation, an interscientific understanding of entropy should be adopted, aiming at a reconsideration of its meaning and significance, not only from a thermodynamic viewpoint grounded in physics, but also in relation to perspectives emerging from ecology, theoretical biology, anthropology, technology, sociology, economics and political theory.
This seminar series seeks to encourage an interscientific debate on entropy with the aim of :
- shedding new light on the underlying epistemic issues related to the interpretation of this concept,
- offering a transdisciplinary understanding of the multidimensional ecological
- opening new perspectives for the future of/in the “entropocenic”
The seminar will take place online one’s a month at 4 pm (CET).
. 20 September 2022 – Contributory Economy in the Entropocene
– Anne Alombert and Michal Krzykawski
. 10 October 2022 – Entropy, Anti-entropy and the Living
– Giuseppe Longo
. 22 November 2022 – Supersociety and Social Generativity
– Chiara Giaccardi an Mauro Magatti
. 20 December 2023 – Challenges of Ecological Economics : Towards a Sustainable Growth ?
– Mario Giampietro and Robert Ayres (to be confirmed)
. 24 January 2023 – Flow economy and economy of the commons in the Age of Sustainability
– Gaël Giraud and Mark Swilling
. 21 February 2023 – Carbon and Silicon. Reframing the Technosphere and the Noosphere
– Dan Ross and Pieter Lemmens
. 21 March 2023 – Energetic Transition : Matter and Energy Flows in the Anthropocene
Olivier Vidal and Marina Fisher-Kovalski
. 18 April 2023 – Entropy and Information in Cybernetics and AI
Yuk Hui and David Bates
. 23 May 2023 – Economics as a « Cyborg Science » : Neoclassical Economy and Cybernetics
Philip Mirowski (to be confirmed)
. 20 June 2023 – Towards « Sustainable Selves » : Libidinal Energy and Psychic Entropy
Morten Nissen and Gerald Moore
. 11 July 2023 – Towards a Pharmacological Critique of the Capitalocene
Paolo Vignola et Sara Baranzoni