Biography[ edit ] Stengers is the daughter of the historian Jean Stengers. Her research interests include the philosophy of science and the history of science. Stengers has also collaborated with psychiatrist Leon Chertok ,  and the sociologist of science Bruno Latour. That writing operates, that words act, that stories, and the way they are told, matter, is always the case for Haraway — including when textual rhetoric aims at situating the reader in the position of having to follow an argumentation with no way around, to share a point of view presented as fundamentally anonymous.
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Hence to think with Whitehead is to think alternatives in which we "sign on in advance to an adventure that will leave none of the terms we normally use as they were. The other is more spatial, since it circles around the excluded middle between the philosophy of science excluding mind and a general metaphysics of all worlds , namely, a cosmology of our real universe.
In an interesting twist, not so common today in any of the standard fields of discourse, we could also agree with Bruno Latour, who in his introduction suggests that both developments, the temporal -- how to overcome the bifurcation of nature -- and the spatial -- how to understand a cosmos of creative organisms -- are again and further de-centered by the unusual Whiteheadian reintroduction of "God.
One section consists of what science finds to be real, but valueless, and the other of that which constitutes mind -- a setup that reduces the first section to senseless motion and the second to mere "psychic additions. This is the moment where, as Stengers shows, Whitehead finds himself in a place where he needs to introduce the concept of God.
This move is, however, not motivated by a "preliminary affirmation of His existence," but by a fundamental experience of humanity. The second part "Cosmology" features mainly Process and Reality. Stengers probes the uniqueness and necessity of speculative philosophy and its "intellectual intuition" by exploring its criterion of reciprocal presupposition. Therefore, she introduces the meaning and function of the Whiteheadian organization of organisms -- each event being a "social effort, employing the whole universe" -- and the organization of thought the obligations of speculative philosophy -- correcting the initial surplus of chaotic subjectivity Both these forms of organization lead to "the most risky interpretation" of empiricism as that which makes things hold together, neither crushed nor torn apart.
Further investigating how occasions and philosophies function together by dealing with what has been excluded , Stengers presents us with the fundamental importance of how "feeling" or the transformation of scars can offer new ways for concepts of life that testify to that which has been eliminated or neglected: how decisions can reduce the cost and victims they require and, in actual and conceptual becoming, transform the status quo.
In chapters 21 and 22, God again enters the picture, not as rule of generality metaphysically, aesthetically, or ethically , but as "divine endowment [that] thus corresponds to an individual possibility, not to what individuals should accomplish in the name of interest that transcend them.
Instead of viewing this as a lack, she conceives his philosophy as ethos, ethos as habit, and habit as aesthetics, "celebrating the adventure of impermanent syntheses. Anyone who has some knowledge of the history and development of the reception of, and scholarship on, Whitehead will not fail to discover that Stengers is not the only one who has rediscovered this Whitehead, the Whitehead of the alternative adventure, at least within the last twenty years. Her sporadic recourse to Deleuze functions only as a fleeting spark of light that, if slowed down, would highlight the philosophic background on which current thinkers including Stengers have begun to view Whitehead.
Originality creativity must not suppress the traditions on which it stands; in particular, a hundred years of Whiteheadian scholarship in process theology that is left in silence.
It is sad that a rediscovery of Whitehead should narrow the creative synthesis down by being dominated by such a negative prehension. It is also a gift for addressing urgent questions of survival and the "good and better life," the envisioning of which Whitehead sees as a function of philosophy.
Thinking with Whitehead
Isabelle Stengers - Thinking With Whitehead (Foreword & Introduction)
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