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Ana María Guzmán Olmos: Absolute Difference. The Nature of Organization (Symposium: IU)

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Sunday, November 19th & November 26th, 10 am Pacific Time

Absolute Difference. The Nature of Organization

November 19th, 2023

Abstract: Is the thesis of an unbounded subjectivity contradictory with the idea of the embodiment of political struggle? In this presentation, I will unpack this question by looking at some discourses of the politics of the unboundedness of intelligence and the locality of nature. After Deleuze's critique of the idea of the organism, the organic has become the subject of critique because of its teleological form of organization - that is, the idea that all living things have an aim towards which they strive. Teleology is allegedly a biological form of determination and an imperialist form of thought. Organic came to mean that which is given and should be preserved. But are there any other forms of thinking of the organism and teleology? This presentation will work on the idea that we can affirm freedom of subjectivity without negating the organism. How can a political organization benefit from a discussion on the organism?

List of suggested readings:

  • Grant, I. H. (2009). Prospects for a post-Copernican dogmatism: On the antinomies of transcendental naturalism. Collapse, Volume 5; pp. 415-451.

  • Deleuze, Gilles. Thousand Plateaus. The University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis; 2005.

  • Galloway, Alexander. Uncomputable. Play and Politics in the Long Digital Age. Verso: London, Brooklyn; 2021.

  • Gambarotto, A. Teleology and mechanism: a dialectical approach. Synthese 201, 155 (2023).

Absolute Difference. The Space of Utopia

November 26th, 2023

Ideality is that towards which something strives. It is the direction, the aim. Natural things are differentiated by that which they strive for. Therefore, there is a certain degree of ideality in nature. If this is so, what distinguishes humans from other natural things? In the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences, Hegel defines nature as a contradiction. A contradiction caused by the contingency of particular natural things and the necessity of our thinking of nature. When we think about nature, we transform it into something that it is not: thoughts. This means, that while nature remains the particularity of the many different things that are in it, it also transforms into something that is not itself. We can thus distinguish between two forms of difference. Difference as it appears in nature, that is, as the difference of the particular natural things striving to follow their ideality. Relative difference. And the difference opened up by our thinking of nature. Since our thinking of nature is at the same time nature and it is not, this opens the space for absolute difference. Absolute difference is that which emerges from the contradiction of nature. That is, that which it is when it is transformed into what it is not. Absolute difference is that which enables humans to radically transform what they could be.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore understands politics as the making of a place. She criticizes abstraction since it is this mechanism that produces institutionalized forms of violence. Instead, Gilmore proposes to think of the struggle for justice as embodied. Therefore, political struggle is a spatial one. Does embodiment then contradict the ideality of nature? Is the embodiment of struggle opposed to the striving towards utopia? In my talk, I will discuss the concept of utopia in the light of the notion of absolute difference. The idea is to question the dichotomy between the materiality of the forms in which nature strives to be what it is, and the ideality of its radical transformation. I will propose that utopia must be thought as absolute difference, that is, as the difference that emerges from the differentiation of nature through its aims and from the differentiation of human thought through thought. I propose to rethink the space of utopia.

List of suggested readings:

  • Hegel, G.W.F. Second Part. Naturphilosophie. Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften, GW Volume 20.

  • Hegel, G.W.F. Vorlessungen über die Philosophie der Natur. Meiner: Hamburg; GW Volume 24,1.

  • Wilson Gilmore, Ruth. Fatal Couplings of Power and Difference. In Wilson Gilmore, R. Abolition Geography.Verso: London, Brooklyn; 2022.

  • Galloway, Alexander. Uncomputable. Play and Politics in the Long Digital Age. Verso: London, Brooklyn; 2021.


Ana María Guzmán Olmos is a research associate at c:o/re Aachen, lecturer at the Chair for Theory of Science and Philosophy of Technology at RWTH Aachen, and PhD Candidate at the University of Bonn. In 2017 she completed her studies in Philosophy at the UNAM, Mexico (BA) and the Freie Universität Berlin (MA). Since 2013 she has been collaborating with the Project Seminario de Tecnologías Filosóficas. She was Research Assistant for the project Technosphere at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Her Dissertation “Within Nature: Hegel’s Local Determination of Thought” deals with the conditions for the intelligibility of nature within Hegel’s Logic and Philosophy of Nature. Her research interests are (German) Idealism (Schelling / Hegel), Theories of Political Action (Rancière, Butler, Arendt), (Techno)Feminism, technologies of desire, and Philosophy of Technology (Gilbert Simondon & Gotthard Günther

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