Still in the process of gradually publishing a number of the objections (or 'doléances'in French) composed during the Diplomatic Writing Week, which took place July 2014 at the École des Mines in Paris. Today, we are posting another one written collectively by the members of GECo (Isabelle Stengers, Didier Debaise, Aline Wiame et Nicolas Prignot), entitled Avoiding the Cunning of Reason Trick and the temptation of a modern philosophical anthropology (A question concerning the 'distribution of beings' with other cultures and the temptations of comparative anthropology):
The book is clear in its ambition: it is a matter of producing an anthropology of the moderns. Nevertheless, a temptation remains inscribed at certain moments in the text, that of comparing anthropologies on the basis of the manner in which different “cultures” might address themselves to different “beings”. For example, one can find the “beings of [met]” in other non-modern cultures and what’s more they are instaured in a better manner. So we run the risk of claiming to better understand the others than they themselves do, of asking them to agree with our definitions. Philosophy certainly needs anthropology, but the disaster of a philosophical anthropology must be avoided. This would be a remake of the cunning of Reason: we have committed many crimes against beings, but in the process we have now gained the capacity to understand better than you yourself how best to express what it is you hold dear. It is not up to you to “tell your story”, we know how to listen to you.
Please click the following link to access the complete contribution on the English version of the site.
(Kindly translated by Michael Thomas, Timothy Howles and Stephen Muecke)