Entropocene Research Seminar

Reconsidering the Biosphere and the Technosphere in the Entropocene

Entropies, Economies, Ecologies, Technologies

Transdisciplinary Research Seminar Series

September 2022 – July 2023 (online)

Paris 8 University – University of Silesia- Georgetown University – Universita Cattolica Milano  – City Univerity of Hong Kong – Stellenbosh University

Organisation : Anne Alombert, Chiara Giaccardi, Gaël Giraud, Michał Krzykawski, Mauro Magatti, Yuk Hui, Daniel Ross, MarK Swilling.

Contacts : anne.alombert@univ-paris8.fr / michal.krzykawski@us.edu.pl

“Welcome to the Anthropocene” https://vimeo.com/anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a new geological epoch in which human disturbances are having an impact, on the whole Earth, understood as a complex system. Confronted with the Anthropocene, modern humans, who have through their exosomatic (and now hyper-industrial) activities transformed and harmed the biosphere, are certainly no longer “masters and possessors of nature” : on the contrary, it is now the technosphere itself, as a planetary network of technical systems, that seems to occupy the driver’s seat on many interrelated scales.

In Bifurcate: “There is No Alternative”, a book edited by philosopher Bernard Stiegler with the Internation Collective in 2021, it is claimed that the Anthropocene can be termed an Entropocene, as it corresponds to increasing rates of entropy production in all its forms: thermodynamic entropy (the degradation of energy), biological entropy (the reduction of biodiversity), informational entropy (the reduction of knowledge to information and computation, which incidentally gives rise to negative effects that can themselves be defined as psychic and social entropies).

Departing from the opposition between technological humankind and nature, Stiegler’s diagnosis encourages us to reconsider the relationship between various phenomena found in the technosphere: on the one hand, the depletion of resources, the destruction of ecosystems and the reduction of biodiversity under the effect of extractivist capitalism based on the exploitation of fossil fuels; on the other hand, the disruption of institutions, the destruction of cultures and the reduction of noodiversity under the effect of computational capitalism based on the exploitation of data.

In such a context, the challenges of achieving ecological and technological transitions can no longer be addressed separately. Instead, a transversal approach to these overlapping phenomena is required: different modes of understanding must be brought together, beyond the rift between “hard” and “soft” sciences, in order to bring the question of entropy into focus in the context of the Entropocene.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, “that eminently abstract concept of entropy” has proved to be problematic and posed many theoretical difficulties: from thermodynamics in physics, as well as in biology, information theory and economics, and up to complex systems science, a series of misunderstandings seems to have shaped the interpretation and understanding of this concept.

Given our current situation, an interscientific understanding of entropy should be adopted, aiming at a reconsideration of its meaning and significance, not only from a thermodynamic viewpoint grounded in physics, but also in relation to perspectives emerging from ecology, theoretical biology, anthropology, technology, sociology, economics and political theory.

This seminar series seeks to encourage an interscientific debate on entropy with the aim of :

1. shedding new light on the underlying epistemic issues related to the interpretation of this concept,

2. offering a transdisciplinary understanding of the multidimensional disorder now under way,

3. opening new perspectives for the future of/in the “entropocenic” technosphere.

PROVISIONAL PROGRAM

. 20 September 2022 – Contributory Economy in the Entropocene

Anne Alombert and Michal Krzykawski

. 10 October 2022 – Entropy, Anti-entropy and the Living

Giuseppe Longo

. 22 November 2022 – Supersociety and Social Generativity

Chiara Giaccardi and Mauro Magatti

. 20 December 2023 – Challenges of Ecological Economics : Towards a Sustainable Growth ?

Mario Giampietro and Robert Ayres (to be confirmed)

. 24 January 2023 – Flow economy and economy of the commons in the Age of Sustainability

Gaël Giraud and Mark Swilling

. 21 February 2023 – Carbon and Silicon. Reframing the Technosphere and the Noosphere

Dan Ross and Pieter Lemmens

. 21 March 2023 – Energetic Transition : Matter and Energy Flows in the Anthropocene

Olivier Vidal and Marina Fisher-Kowalski

. 18 April 2023 – Entropy and Information in Cybernetics and AI

Yuk Hui and David Bates

. 15 May 2023 – The politics of energy : fossil fuels and petro-masculinity

Cara Daggett 

. 23 May 2023 – Economics as a « Cyborg Science » : Neoclassical Economy and Cybernetics

Philip Mirowski (to be confirmed)

. 20 June 2023- Towards « Sustainable Selves » : Libidinal Energy and Psychic Entropy

Morten Nissen and Gerald Moore

. 11 July 2023 – Towards a Pharmacological Critique of the Capitalocene

Paolo Vignola and Sara Baranzoni