The Incorporeal

Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism

Elizabeth Grosz

Columbia University Press

The Incorporeal

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Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231181624

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.95

Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231543675

336 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.95

The Incorporeal

Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism

Elizabeth Grosz

Columbia University Press

Philosophy has inherited a powerful impulse to embrace either dualism or a reductive monism—either a radical separation of mind and body or the reduction of mind to body. But from its origins in the writings of the Stoics, the first thoroughgoing materialists, another view has acknowledged that no forms of materialism can be completely self-inclusive—space, time, the void, and sense are the incorporeal conditions of all that is corporeal or material. In The Incorporeal Elizabeth Grosz argues that the ideal is inherent in the material and the material in the ideal, and, by tracing its development over time, she makes the case that this same idea reasserts itself in different intellectual contexts.

Grosz shows that not only are idealism and materialism inextricably linked but that this "belonging together" of the entirety of ideality and the entirety of materiality is not mediated or created by human consciousness. Instead, it is an ontological condition for the development of human consciousness. Grosz draws from Spinoza's material and ideal concept of substance, Nietzsche's amor fati, Deleuze and Guattari's plane of immanence, Simondon's preindividual, and Raymond Ruyer's self-survey or autoaffection to show that the world preexists the evolution of the human and that its material and incorporeal forces are the conditions for all forms of life, human and nonhuman alike. A masterwork by an eminent theoretician, The Incorporeal offers profound new insight into the mind-body problem
The Incorporeal might seem to be a departure for Elizabeth Grosz, whose work has provided one of the most profound and sustained theorizations of matter, embodiment and sexual difference. Rather than a refusal of corporeal feminism, this book is a powerful exploration of corporeality and its possibilities. A remarkable and groundbreaking work, The Incorporeal intensifies Grosz's already complex and nuanced account of bodies and difference: incorporeality is not to be equated with mind, ideality or the disembodied. It is, rather, part of the volatility that Grosz has always discerned in bodies, human and nonhuman. Claire Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University
In this new book, Elizabeth Grosz continues her investigations of role of the body in thinking in art and science, as in politics and philosophy. Through a fresh engagement with the work of Deleuze and the thinkers he admired, she extracts a vital new ethics, itself part of a philosophy of nature beyond the limits of 'the new materialism'. A stimulating and rigorous journey towards a new philosophy for our times. John Rajchman, author of The Deleuze Connections
In this rich and deeply rewarding book, Elizabeth Grosz traces the hidden genealogy—centered on but not reducible to Gilles Deleuze—of a philosophy that makes room for both body and mind, without reductionism, but also without mysticism. Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University
Philosophy, and in its wake cultural theory, has long made periodic pendulum swings between two poles, the materialist and the idealist. What is needed is a move through the middle: an incorporeal materialism, or a materialist idealism. This is the important and timely project Elizabeth Grosz undertakes in this book, with the help of judiciously chosen philosophical guides, from the Stoics to Simondon. Brian Massumi, University of Montreal
This is a bold, brilliant, and fascinating study of an alternative philosophical tradition. The treatments of Simondon and Ruyer are especially welcome, and a new and highly challenging conception of materialism is offered. Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction
1. The Stoics, Materialism, and the Incorporeal
2. Spinoza, Substance, and Attributes
3. Nietzsche and Amor Fati
4. Deleuze and the Plane of Immanence
5. Simondon and the Preindividual
6. Ruyer and an Embryogenesis of the World
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Elizabeth Grosz is the Jean Fox O'Barr Professor in the Programs in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and Literature at Duke University. She is the author of Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (Columbia, 2008).