Skip to page Content.

Photo: Renaud Monfourny

Kant in the Land of the Extraterrestrials: Cosmetics and Cosmopolitics

Peter Szendy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

New French Philosophy

“… as though capitalism were riding a vector taking it to the moon,” Deleuze and Guattari wrote in A Thousand Plateaus. A phrase echoed by Lyotard, when he declared that “the general perspective of techno-scientific development […] is aimed at the emigration of humankind from the earth”.

This is neither cheap sci-fi nor naïve prophecy. Letting our interplanetary tour be guided by excerpts from Alien and The Twilight Zone, we will sound out the extraterrestrial dimension that is inherent to cosmopolitics since Kant gave it its modern turn. And what will we find out there, in outer space? Very likely the resonances of Benjamin’s comment on Blanqui’s cosmology: “The thought of eternal recurrence makes a mass article out of historical occurrence itself.”

Peter Szendy
is Professor of philosophy at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre and musicological advisor for the concert programs at the Cité de la musique. He has also taught in the Music Department at the University of Strasbourg from 1998 to 2005 and was Visiting Fellow in the Council of Humanities at Princeton University. He has been the senior editor of the journal and book series published by Ircam. He is the author of: A Coups de points. La ponctuation comme expérience; L’Apocalypse-cinéma. 2012 et autres fins du monde; Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials. Cosmopolitical Philosofictions (translated by Will Bishop); Hits: Philosophy in the Jukebox (translated by Will Bishop); Sur écoute. Esthétique de l’espionnage; Prophecies of Leviathan: Reading Past Melville (translated by Gil Anidjar); Membres fantômes. Des corps musiciens; Listen: A History of Our Ears (translated by Charlotte Mandell, foreword by Jean-Luc Nancy).