Epigenetic Paradigm of Critical Rationality in BeforeTomorrow by Catherine Malabou

Paweł Korzeb


Recent tendencies in theory aim at overcoming the Kantian conception of rationality, questioning identification of rationality with critique and the autonomy of thinking subject. Speculative realism attempts to eliminate the transcendental level of thinking that is constitutive for critique, by showing its inconsistency with the contingency of the world discovered through modern science. The development of neurobiology provides a perspective of reduction of the independent level of thinking to the neurobiological activity. Both demand a change in the concept of subjectivity and rationality. However, Catherine Malabou, in her book Being Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality, claims that neither speculative realism nor neurobiology can provide a conception of “another rationality” sufficient for current demands. In counterpart to the philosophical atmosphere of the 21st century, Being Tomorrow urges us to construct a new paradigm of critical rationality not against Kant, but through a dialogue with his philosophy. This paper examines Malabou’s proposition of the “epigenetic paradigm of rationality”, which connects “epigenetic turn” in neurobiology with the interpretation of Critique of Judgement. Before presenting this paradigm, the article describes the context of the book: the importance of the transcendental for continental philosophy, the speculative realist critique of Kantian rationality and tensions between reductive neuroscience and humanities.

Słowa kluczowe: the transcendental, speculative realism, epigenetics, neuroscience, rationality, critical theory

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