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Against the Humiliation of Thought: The university as a space of dystopic destruction and utopian potential




My objective in this paper is to write a pharmacology of the university by thinking about its relationship to systemic stupidity, intelligence, and the possibility of becoming. Starting with an exploration of the contemporary dystopia of drive-based stupidity imagined by the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, which I seek to capture through the idea of the humiliation of thought, I look to deepen his response to this situation by suggesting a return to the work of two of his key sources, Martin Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze. My objective here is to use their work in relation to Stiegler’s in order to suggest a utopia of educational becoming. Following my exploration of Stiegler’s dystopia, in the second part of the article I read Heidegger’s philosophy in order to formulate a utopian theory of education becoming, which is sensitive to the possibility of authoritarianism contained in his catastrophic decision to become a member of the Nazi party. Against the dystopic humiliation of thought Heidegger’s turn to Nazism can be seen to represent, I turn to Deleuze in the name of a model of educational becoming that recognises difference in itself, before noting that this philosophical approach has similarly found humiliation in the contemporary neoliberal university dominated by a form of rhizomatic power. Finally, I look to develop a fusion of Heideggerian and Deleuzean approaches to deepen Stiegler’s pharmacological critique of the contemporary dystopia of systemic stupidity and its potential resolution in an educational utopia of invention on the other side of the humiliation of thought.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2018
Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Journal Educational Philosophy and Theory
Print ISSN 0013-1857
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 3
Pages 297-309
Keywords Stiegler, Heidegger, Deleuze, dystopia, utopia
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