The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism

Hardcover | March 14, 2017

byElizabeth Grosz

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Philosophy has inherited a powerful impulse to embrace either dualism or a reductive monism-either a radical separation of mind and body or the reduction of mind to body. From its origins in the writings of the Stoics, the first thoroughgoing materialists, there is an acknowledgment that no forms of materialism can be completely self-inclusive-space, time, the void, and sense are the incorporeal conditions of all that is corporeal or material. In The Incorporeal, Elizabeth Grosz argues that the ideal is inherent in the material and the material in the ideal, and, by tracing its development over time, she makes the case that this same idea reasserts itself in different intellectual contexts.

Grosz shows that not only are idealism and materialism inextricably linked but that this "belonging together" of the entirety of ideality and the entirety of materiality is not mediated or created by human consciousness. Instead, it is an ontological condition for the development of human consciousness. Grosz draws from Spinoza's material and ideal concept of substance, Nietzsche's amor fati, Deleuze and Guattari's plane of immanence, Simondon's preindividual, and Raymond Ruyer's self-survey or autoaffection to show that the world preexists the evolution of the human and that its material and incorporeal forces are the conditions for all forms of life, including the human. A masterwork by an eminent theoretician, The Incorporeal offers profound new insight into the mind-body problem.

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Philosophy has inherited a powerful impulse to embrace either dualism or a reductive monism-either a radical separation of mind and body or the reduction of mind to body. From its origins in the writings of the Stoics, the first thoroughgoing materialists, there is an acknowledgment that no forms of materialism can be completely self-...

Elizabeth Grosz is Distinguished Professor in the Programs in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies and Literature at Duke University. She is the author of Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (Columbia, 2008).

other books by Elizabeth Grosz

Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art
Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politic...

Kobo ebook|Aug 22 2011

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see all books by Elizabeth Grosz
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:March 14, 2017Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231181620

ISBN - 13:9780231181624

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsIntroduction1. The Stoics2. Spinoza3. Nietzsche and Amor Fati4. Deleuze and the Plane of Immanence5. Simondon and the Preindividual6. Ruyer and an Embryogenesis of the WorldConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Philosophy, and in its wake cultural theory, has long made periodic pendulum swings between two poles, the materialist and the idealist. and their associated dichotomies: body or mind, object or subject, concrete versus abstract Any movement to one pole almost inevitably ends up transporting toward it all that is attributed to its opposite, in an embarrassed attempt to avoid eliminating from the real entire swathes of what we so intuitively understand as actively factoring into it. It's time to refuse the alternative, to stop the swing, recognizing that such oppositional categories are simply operating at the wrong level of abstraction. What is needed is a move through the middle: an incorporeal materialism, or a materialist idealism. This is the important and timely project Elizabeth Grosz undertakes in this book, with the help of a diversity of judiciously chosen philosophical guides, from the Stoics to Simondon.