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The Care of the Possible: Isabelle Stengers interviewed by Erik Bordeleau

Isabelle Stengers is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting figures in the panorama of contemporary philosophy. A mobilized scientist who chose desertion, a free electron of thought, she has finally found refuge in the philosophy department at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where she initiates students into the abstract charms of Alfred North Whitehead’s speculative philosophy on the one hand, and the political practices of neo-pagan witches borne from the anti-globalization movement on the other. Her prolific theoretical output is both open and original. One dimension of her thought has initiated a renewal of the relationship between the sciences and philosophy, particularly in The New Alliance (1979), written with Nobel Prize wining chemist Ilya Prygogine, and in The Invention of Modern Science (1993), winner of the Prix Quinquennal de L’essai (1996). A second key aspect of Stengers’ philosophy has developed into a constructivist-inspired cosmopolitical reflection around the concept of an ecology of practices, as in Cosmopolitics I and II (1997/2003), Capitalist Sorcery (2005), and Au temps des catastrophes (2009). Between these two poles, there is one question that cuts across all of her work: “What has rendered us so vulnerable, so ready to justify the destruction committed in the name of progress?” This decisive problematic is animated by a vital exigency long ago articulated by William James and relayed by Gilles Deleuze: To believe in the world. It is with remarkable generosity that she agreed to this interview, which took place in July 2010, at her ULB office. —Erik Bordeleau

Read Interview HERE

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