1st Edition

The Thought of Bernard Stiegler
Capitalism, Technology and the Politics of Spirit

ISBN 9780367193027
Published January 8, 2019 by Routledge
196 Pages

USD $51.95

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Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive account of the work of Bernard Stiegler, one of the most influential living social and political philosophers of the twenty-first century. Focusing on Stiegler’s thought on hyperindustrial society and the development of technological systems through which the social, economic and political life of human beings has been transformed, the author examines Stiegler’s claim that the human species is ‘originally technological’ and that to understand the evolution of human society, we must first understand the interface between human beings and technology.

A study of the reciprocal development of technical instruments and human faculties, that offers a chapter-by-chapter account of how this relationship is played out in the digital, informatic and biotechnological programmes of hyperindustrial society, The Thought of Bernard Stiegler develops Stiegler’s idea of technology as a pharmakon: a network of systems that provoke both existential despair and unprecedented modes of aesthetic, literary and philosophical creativity that can potentially revitalize the political culture of human beings.

As such, it will appeal to social and political theorists and philosophers concerned with our postmodern inheritance.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Originary Technicity

Chapter 2. The Evolution of the Arche-Programme

Chapter 3. The Capitalization of Life

Chapter 4. Transhumanist Networks

Chapter 5. Crises of the Aesthetic

Chapter 6. A Planetary Pharmacology?

Conclusion: The Internation and the University


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Ross Abbinnett is Senior Lecturer in Social and Political Theory and Programme Director of the BA in Sociology at the University of Birmingham, UK.


‘Bernard Stiegler is one of the most interesting philosophers of technology writing today and the student of Derrida of greatest relevance to the contemporary cultural scene. However, Stiegler's work has been so far available in English only in piecemeal form. Ross Abbinnett remedies that problem in this book, which provides a patient and thoughtful reconstruction of Stiegler's entire intellectual trajectory. Here readers will acquire a deep and systematic sense of Stiegler's broad conception of 'technology', which ranges from Plato's extended dream state, through the accelerated pace of modern industrial society, to the potential eclipse of the human spirit in the name of digital dexterity. Those who seek a middle way between embracing and refusing this 'transhumanizing' trajectory will find much insight in this book.’ - Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick, UK