Radical Philosophy #155 by Radical Philosophy

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But this turns in on itself, since what makes ‘life’ unique is entelechy, and entelechy is simply defined as the manifestation of final causality in the living. Elsewhere, Aristotle appears to accord human consciousness – as a manifestation of nous or Intellect – a special place as that which makes ‘life’ distinct from ‘being’. But this runs into the problem of confusing the exemplar for the ideal form: the lifeprinciple psukhē does double duty, at once the most basic and fundamental aspect of life, and also the most developed or highest form of life.

2. A long tradition of science fiction poses this question, 40 from Camille Flammarion’s Lumen to Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. 3. ’ books, though these often remain rooted in a biological epistemology. For more on this, see my book Biomedia (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis 2004), pp. 37ff. as well as the important historical work of Lily Kay. 4. It should be noted that this reading of the De anima departs from the two dominant modern interpretations of the work: that of psychology and cognition, on the one hand, and that of the history of biology, on the other.

This is, perhaps, a world ‘without us’, the life sans soi. The problem, of course, is how one should think this life-without-us politically. ‘Life’ – as the unexamined and empty principle – casts into question the inescapable anthropomorphism of the political, the exemplary instance of the life-for-us. The dilemma, then, is that if ‘life’ is as much a question of the unhuman as it is of the ethical, the social and the political, then to what degree is it possible to conceive of something like an unhuman politics?

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