In this first session, we will be joined by the philosopher Frédéric Worms, who will discuss his recent work around the concept of a “critical vitalism.” Largely occulted in the wake of the Second World War, “vitalism” today connotes an unsettling rhetoric of power, virility, and domination, undergirded by an often mystical vital energy. Worms’ writings work to rescue vitalism from the dustbin of history, replacing its arche with a secularized confluence of relations (biological, social, psychological) that drives life. In this session we will discuss the usefulness and future of a “critical vitalism” as a philosophical lens at our present moment in history.
Frédéric Worms is a philosopher and professor of contemporary philosophy and moral philosophy at the École normale supérieure, France, where he also serves as Directeur-adjoint Lettres and director of the Centre International d’Etudes de la Philosophie Française. He is a member of the Comité consultatif national d’éthique. A specialist in the thought of Henri Bergson, his recent work concerns questions of ethics and politics, focusing on issues of human rights, care and violence, which he considers from the perspective of the living (le vivant). He has published a number of important books on these questions and, most recently, Pour une vitalisme critique and Le nouveau problème du vivant in the review Esprit.
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Organized by Critical Theory D.E. students Patrick Lyons and Mathew Evans. Click here to read more about the Critical Vitalisms Working Group.