2017-11-25 (Trouw) Hoe ik bijna boeddhist werd

2017-11-25 (Trouw) Hoe ik bijna boeddhist werd

Jos de Mul. Hoe ik bijna boeddhist werd. Trouw. Bijlage Letter en Geest, 25 november 2017, 14-18. Het gastenverblijf van…

Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects

Jos de Mul. ( ed.), Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology. Perspectives and Prospects. Amsterdam/Chicago: Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2014. Helmut Plessner (1892–1985)…

PedoBot® is niet boos, maar wel verdrietig (en soms opgewonden)

PedoBot® is niet boos, maar wel verdrietig (en soms opgewonden)

Jos de Mul, PedoBot® is niet boos, maar wel verdrietig (en soms opgewonden). Over intelligente robots, emoties en sociale interactie. In…

Essay Maand van de Filosofie 2014: Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0

Essay Maand van de Filosofie 2014: Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0

Jos de Mul, Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0. Essay Maand van de Filosofie. Rotterdam: Lemiscaat, 2014. In…

Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology

Jos de Mul. Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Technology. State University of New York (SUNY)…

Horizons of Hermeneutics

Horizons of Hermeneutics

Jos de Mul. Horizons of Hermeneutics: Intercultural Hermeneutics in a Globalizing World.  Frontiers of Philosophy in China. Vol. 6, No.…

Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn

Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn

Jos de Mul. Wittgenstein 2.0: Philosophical reading and writing after the mediatic turn. In: A. Pichler & H. Hrachovec (eds.) Wittgenstein and…


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Menu van de dag - Jos de Mul
Jos de Mul. Turkish Delight. In: Ayşen Savaş & Sevin Osmay (eds.), Jale Erzen Testimonial. Middle East  Technical University (METU) Press, 2017, 146-152.

Of all the times I met with Jale Erzen over the last couple of decades, our meeting in May 2002 was perhaps the most memorable. Jale had invited me to take part in the 6th International Symposium of SANART about Art and Social Engagement, held at the Middle East Technical University (METU). The Symposium took place shortly after 9/11, a time when many heated discussions were held in Turkey, just as in other countries, about the political Islam, the role of religion in society, and the separation of church and state, and in Ankara the tension was running high between the Kemalists and the politicians inspired by the Islam.  

Following the conference, I went on a short trip with Jale and about ten other philosophers, from five different continents, to the east of Turkey, which was planned by Jale. We flew to Diyarbakir and then travelled on by bus and later by jeep through the northern part of the virtual state of Kurdistan. It was a memorable trip because of several reasons. In the first place because of the awe-inspiring endless bleak mountains around us, in which the only humans living there seem to be goatherds herding their flocks in search of the last remnants of vegetation. It was difficult to imagine a bigger contrast with the polders in Zeeland where I grew up.  The impression the vast and rugged landscape made on me was intensified by the realisation that we were surrounded by thousands of years of history. This vast region situated 'between the rivers', the Euphrates and the Tigris, used to be called Mesopotamia in ancient times and was full of fig-, olive-, walnut- and pomegranate trees, vines and oleander bushes. According to tradition here was once the Biblical Garden of Eden.

Gepubliceerd in: Book chapters
Jos de Mul. Preface. In: Zha Changping. World Relational Aesthetics. A History of Ideas in Pioneering Contemporary Chinese Art. Volume One. Shanghai: Sanlian, 2017, xiv-xvi, xvii-xx.

In 2006, as part of a lecture tour through China, which brought me to cities as different as Urumqi and Shanghai, I also participated in a conference of the International Association of Aesthetics in Chengdu. It was on this occasion that I met Zha Changping for the first time. I was introduced to him by a common friend of us, the Shanghai-based historian Chen Xin. During my stay in Chengdu, Changping and I had several conversations, and I especially remember one hot evening in June, whenwe, together with museum sculptor Zhu Cheng and my wife Gerry, were sitting on a terrace near the Fu river, discussing the state of contemporary art, religion and politics in China and Europe, meanwhile enjoying the delicious Sichuan food and cool beers and watching the joyful play of the little children on the terrace. It was a wonderful evening, to which my memories often return.

Since that first meeting more than ten years have passed, in which Changping and I kept in touch. I followed his publications (unfortunately only being able to read the English ones, as I am not able to read Chinese) and was impressed by his productivity andthe broad scope of his publications, ranging from art criticism and art history – such as the very informative Up-On Chengdu, Somatic Aesthetics and Scene Connection (2013) - to studies in the logic of history, Japanese history, New Testament studies, and a series of translations. What moreover impressed me was his profound familiarity with Western art theories and the creative way he applied them within a Chinese context. Changping proved to be all-round humanities scholar with an inspiring intercultural approach.

Gepubliceerd in: Book chapters
zondag, 15 oktober 2017 17:12

Human nature after Neo-Darwinism

Jos de Mul. Human nature after Neo-Darwinism. in: Eidos .A Journal for Philosophy of Culture.Special issue: Is the Category of Human Nature Still Relevant? Vol 1 (2017), 1: 5-17. 



In the course of the 20th century the so-called Modern Synthesis of Neo-Darwinism has become the dominant paradigm in modern biology. First, it is explained how and why Darwin’s broad definition of evolution, in which the environment plays an important role, was narrowed down by Neo-Darwinism to a radical gene-centric view.  Next, the paradigm shift taking place today in ‘postgenomic’ evolutionary biology and genetics is discussed. It is argued that this shift opens the way to a more humane conception of evolution, more in line with Darwin’s view. Finally, I will discuss some of the implications of this paradigm shift for human self-reflection, taking The Music of Life. Biology Beyond Genes of systems biologist Denis Noble as a starting point.


Neo-Darwinism, Dennis Noble, gene-centrism, postgenomics, agency, human self-reflection

约斯·德·穆尔:《从开放设计到元设计——3D打印数据库本体的冲击》,《社会科学战线》2014年第10期。[Jos de Mul, From open design to metadesign. Social Science Front, no.10, 2014, 248-254]

国外社会科学从开放设计到元设计(metadesign)  ——3D打印数据库本体的冲击


(伊拉斯谟大学哲学系,荷兰鹿特丹 3062PA)



3D打印作为一项备受关注的技术,其令人咋舌的功能在医疗、工业、生活领域内引起的巨大变革已经使我们不得不持续对其关注和思考。3D 技术在法律、监管、社会、政治以及经济模型创新等方面都已经有了不同理论维度的探讨。在这篇文章里,我将不同于以往的讨论,从另外一个角度——设计,特别是开放设计(open design)的角度来讨论3D打印的问题。

在Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing[1]这本书中,Lipson和Kurman认为“3D技术是我们设计和制作东西的方式的一场革命”,因为它把一个物体的软件设计和它的实物显示(physical manifestation)之间的关系变得异常紧密。[2]尽管我认为在信息与通讯技术(ICT)世界里,当说起革命一词,我们应该多少有所怀疑,但是,很明显,3D技术在很多领域都有前途,而且,因其开放的特点(至少在一些方面是)而对传统设计实践提出了挑战。

接下来,我将讨论数据库本体(database ontology)的蕴意,这种数据库本体表征着我们当今设计界。我将要强调,为了发展开放设计的积极一面而不落陷阱,设计者不应该轻易放弃作为设计者的活动,而且更应该重新设计这些活动。未来的设计者不得不成为一个数据设计者,一个元设计者,他们不是设计一种客体对象,而是设计一个空间,在这个空间里,没有技巧的使用者可以通过使用者友好界面(user-friendly)设计自己的东西。

3D打印可以看作设计界的一个发展,它使设计行为的重新定义成为必要。2010年阿姆斯特丹重新定义设计大会[3]的宣传词中对开放设计的状况描述道:“设计工业正在经历着根本性的改变。开放设计、可下载的设计和分散的设计使得设计工业民主化,也意味着任何人都可以成为设计者和制造者。”这则消息的潜在意思似乎是说,开放设计,本质上是好的,我们应该发展它。(为了简略,我用open design 这个词来总括之前提到的那些设计界的发展,包括了可下载的、分散的设计以及重组模块使设计变得个性化,并用3D在家里或街角的专业商店打印出来)。尽管我对开放设计(或者任你管它叫什么)总体上持积极的态度,但是我认为还是应该注意这进程中的困难和陷阱,以避免我们会犯那种将孩子和洗澡水一起泼出去的错误。


正像“开放运动”(open movement)的其他成员一样,开放设计在很大程度上与个人电脑和互联网紧密相关(我们将会看到,开放运动包括多个运动,比如开放软件资源、开放科学、开放科技等。特别是开放生物学运动,是开放运动中一个很有意思的例子)。由于这个原因,为了能够对开放设计的机遇和陷阱都看得更清楚,我们应该研究一下数字领域(digital domain)的基本特点。因此,在论文第二部分,我会简要描述数据库本体,它是计算机的基础(ABCD of computing),也是数字领域的基础。



Geert Maarse. Is de parlementaire democratie in crisis? Interview met Jos de Mul. Studio Erasmus. Rotterdamse Schouwburg, 7 maart 2017, 20:00 uur.

Filosoof Jos de Mul presenteert zijn boek ‘Paniek in de Polder: Polytiek in tijden van Populisme’, waarin hij de zogenaamde strijd tussen volk en elite analyseert, het succes van Trump en Wilders verklaart en uitlegt hoe het wél verder moet.

Gepubliceerd in: Interviews / tv
woensdag, 17 augustus 2016 10:06

Wat wil je nou? De authenticiteitsparadox

Hans Geluk & Joshua Maldonado, Wat wil je nou? De authenticiteitsparadox.Film, interviews, essays. 2016

We doen er alles aan om authentiek te zijn. We kijken reality TV met echte mensen, we laten op Facebook zien hoe uniek we zijn en willen boven alles vooral onszelf zijn.  We denken hierbij volledig vrij te zijn, maar is dat wel zo? Kunnen we spreken van authenticiteit als iedereen het nastreeft? ‘Wat wil je nou?’ onderzoekt met film, interviews en essays de obsessie naar één van de meest uitgeholde begrippen van deze tijd: Authenticiteit.

‘Wat wil je nou?’ onderzoekt met film, interviews en essays de obsessie naar authenticiteit. Onder anderen de filosofen Hans Kennephol, Maarten Doorman en Jos de Mul hebben zich aan dit project verbonden en komen aan het woord in de film. Website: http://watwiljenou.nl/

Gepubliceerd in: Interviews / tv
maandag, 18 april 2016 08:56

The modular body

The Modular Body is an online science fiction story about the creation of OSCAR, a living organism built from human cells. The protagonist is Cornelis Vlasman, a versatile biologist for whom the path well-travelled is the most uninteresting one by definition. Together with a few like-minded people he therefore starts an independent laboratory in which he experiments with organic materials, on his own initiative, with his own resources and his own team.

After many years of hard work, Vlasman’s team succeeds in creating new life from cells taken from his own body. Under his supervision the world’s first living organism is built: OSCAR.

OSCAR is a prototype (the size of a human hand) consisting of clickable organ modules grown from human cells.

What makes OSCAR special is the thought process preceding the organism, which comes down to this: (human) life can be regarded as a closed system but when it is approached as a modular system this may lead to innovative applications and solutions.

In a closed system the parts are designed in such a way that they can only function in one specific configuration, which makes repairs and adaptations very complex. An example of such a closed system is the first Apple Macintosh from 1988.

In a modular system, independent modules – similar to building blocks – make up a transformable and therefore flexible configuration. In 2013, Dave Hakkens produced a Modular Phone that consists of separate parts that can be individually replaced and improved.

With the organism OSCAR Vlasman demonstrates that it is possible to create modular life. Stem cells can be reprogrammed, grown and printed as any type of human tissue. The line separating humans from machines is gradually becoming thinner.

The OSCAR prototype opens up possibilities for the human body, for example when it comes to replacing or improving worn out organs in a possibly ‘clickable’ system. Think of Lego as a metaphor.

In biotechnology many experiments are conducted nowadays with printed organs, regenerated tissue and synthetic blood. Organovo, one of the world’s largest biotech companies, expects to be able to print a functional liver by 2014. Taking the entire human body as a possibly modular system is not (or not yet) possible.

Vlasman develops the OSCAR organism – made up from ‘blocks’ – in his lab. This independent and somewhat obscure laboratory is run by a group of people with various expertise: IT specialists, biologists and designers, working with handmade and sometimes second-hand equipment. They operate outside of official channels, thereby avoiding moratoria, scientific protocols or objections of ethical committees, which perhaps enables them to arrive at this seminal breakthrough.

The primitive, vulnerable organism that finally results from Vlasman’s endeavours is kept alive with blood taken from Vlasman and is continually vaccinated against infections, as it has no immune system. The story refers to various similar narratives in world literature and film history, notably Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Gepubliceerd in: Art
Jos de Mul, Database Identity: Personal and Cultural Identity in the Age of Global Datafication. in: Wouter de Been, Payal Aurora and Mireille Hildebrandt (Eds.), Crossroads in New Media, Identity and Law. The Shape of Diversity to Come. Personal and Cultural Identity in the Age of Global Datafication. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 97-118. 

This volume brings together a number of timely contributions at the nexus of new media, politics and law. The central intuition that ties these essays together is that information and communication technology, cultural identity, and legal and political institutions are spheres that co-evolve and interpenetrate in myriad ways. Discussing these shifting relationships, the contributions all probe the question of what shape diversity will take as a result of the changes in the way we communicate and spread information: that is, are we heading to the disintegration and fragmentation of national and cultural identity, or is society moving towards more consolidation, standardization and centralization at a transnational level? In an age of digitization and globalization, this book addresses the question of whether this calls for a new civility fit for the 21st century.

Jos de Mul, to begin with, takes the issue of identity head-on in his contribution. He argues that new networked communication technologies are leading to a datafication of identity. New ICTs are transforming traditional ‘narrative identity’ into a more plastic form of ‘database identity.’ Identity as the product of a linear development, as an outgrowth of a particular personal or group history – the bread and butter of the imagined community – is on the wane. Increasingly identity is broken up into machine-readable elements and stored in digital memory banks. This allows for an endless combination and re-combination of features. By itself this process does not necessarily result in a world of freedom and play, however. Although database identities allow for an extraordinary range of choice and are well suited to the freedom and flexibility of postmodern culture, there is a great deal of uniformity in the forms that database identities actually take. Hence, De Mul also addresses the standardization of identity in the prefabricated formats of social media, underlining the new entrapments of the digital age.


Gepubliceerd in: Book chapters
Jos de Mul. Het doemscenario van Stephen Hawking. Interview met Paul Witteman. Buitenhof. Nederland 1, 12:00 tot 13:10.

2014-12-07 Buitenhof
Gaat de mens het verliezen van de robot? Stephen Hawking, wereldberoemd natuurkundige, is daar bang voor. Is zijn angst terecht? Wat zullen robots en slimme computers allemaal kunnen en wat doen ze met ons mensbeeld? In Buitenhof een gesprek met filosoof Jos de Mul die gespecialiseerd is in de relatie tussen mens en machine. Zie ook de boeken Kunstmatig van nature en De domesticatie van het noodlot van Jos de Mul.


Gepubliceerd in: Interviews / tv
Jos de Mul. 后)现代艺术与哲学中的浪漫之欲。Chinese translation of Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy. Wuhan: Wuhan University Press, 2010, 306p.

ISBN 978-7-307-08019-5
RMB 42.00

An erudite and wide-ranging discussion of postmodernism and romanticism in twentieth-century art and philosophy.


In this erudite and wide-ranging discussion of postmodernism and romanticism in twentieth-century art and philosophy, Jos de Mul sheds a fascinating light on the ambivalent character of our present culture, which oscillates between modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony. Along the way, he engages the work of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Habermas, Lacan, Barthes, and Derrida; visual artists Magritte and Stella; poets George and Coleridge; and composers Schonberg, Cage, and Reich, among others, providing a sort of intellectual history of Romantic, Modernist, and Postmodernist "tempers."

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Gepubliceerd in: Books
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