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The Different Modes of Existence by Étienne Souriau (translated by Howles and Beranek)

30 December 2015
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The Different Modes of Existence

Etienne Souriau amazingly difficult book translated into English by our friend Timothy Howles & Erik Beranek just out (Univocal)!

The Different Modes of Existence by Étienne Souriau
translated by Erik Beranek and Tim Howles
introduction by Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Latour
December 14th, 2015
Exploring the aesthetic depths of the various modes of existence by one of France’s most heralded but forgotten thinkers of existential pluralism.

What relation is there between the existence of a work of art and that of a living being? Between the existence of an atom and that of a value like solidarity? These questions become our own each time a reality is established—whether it is a piece of music, someone we love, or a fictional character—and begins to take on an importance in our lives. Like William James or Gilles Deleuze, Souriau methodically defends the thesis of an existential pluralism. There are indeed different manners of existing and even different degrees or intensities of existence: from pure phenomena to objectivized things, by way of the virtual and the surexistent, to which works of art and the intellect, and even the very fact of morality, bear witness. Existence is polyphonic and, as a result, the world is considerably enriched and enlarged. Beyond all that exists in the ordinary sense of the term, it is necessary to allow for all sorts of virtual and ephemeral states, transitional realms, and barely begun realities, still in the making, all of which constitute so many “inter-worlds.”

Etienne Souriau was one of France’s most influential post-war thinkers. From Gilles Deleuze to Bruno Latour, Souriau’s philosophy of aesthetics has begun to be re-discovered by a variety of thinkers in contemporary discussions on art and life.

Erik Beranek is a doctoral candidate in the Dept. of Philosophy at Depaul University.

Tim Howles is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford.

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