Paniek in de Polder. Polytiek in tijden van populisme

Paniek in de Polder. Polytiek in tijden van populisme

Jos de Mul. Paniek in de Polder. Polytiek in tijden van populisme. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, februari 2017. Uitgebreide en geactualiseerde editie met twee extra hoofdstukken en…

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Kunstmatig van nature. Onderweg naar Homo sapiens 3.0

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, 2014.1ste druk: 2014; 2de druk: 2016.  In…

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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) Press, 2014.  Destiny Domesticated investigates…

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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 the Philosophy of Information. Proceedings…

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The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility

Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens and Jos de Mul, The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility. Heinrich Böll Stiftung. European Union. December…

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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. 4 (2011), 628-655. DOI: 10.1007/s11466-011-0159-x (DOI) 10.1007/s11466-011-0159-x…

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《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》

《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》

约斯·德·穆尔 (Jos de Mul),里斯贝思·努尔德格拉芙 (Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens):《主权债务危机还是苏菲的抉择:论欧洲的悲剧、罪恶与责任》(The sovereign debt crisis or Sophie’s choice. On European tragedies, guilt and responsibility),《社会科学战线》2012年第4期(Social Science Front no.4 2012),《新华文摘》2012年第13期全文转载(Xinhua Digest ,no13 2012).

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The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Recombination

Jos de Mul. The work of art in the age of digital recombination. In J. Raessens, M. Schäfer, M. v. d. Boomen, Lehmann and S. A.-S.…

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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 J.B. de Jong (red.),…

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The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games

Jos de Mul. The game of life. Narrative and ludic identity formation in computer games. In: J. Goldstein and J. Raessens,Handbook of Computer Games Studies. Cambridge MA…

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Possible printings.  On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design

Possible printings. On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design

Jos de Mul. Possible printings. On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design. In: B. van den Berg, S. van der Hof & E. Kosta…

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Possible printings.  On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design

Possible printings. On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design

Jos de Mul. Possible printings. On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design. In: B. van den Berg, S. van der Hof & E. Kosta…

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Boeken: beschrijving en recensies

English publications (Engelse publicaties)
maandag, 23 oktober 2017 14:22

Meeting OSCAR and Erica

Jos de Mul. Meeting OSCAR and Erica. On almost living bodies, new media aesthetics, and the East-West divide. In Aesthetics and Mass Culture. Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Aesthetics. Seoul: Seoul National University, Invited Round Table, 64-69.

Abstract In this paper OSCAR, the protagonist of the online science fiction project The Modular Body of Dutch media artist Floris Kaayk, meets Erica, an android robot, functioning as an autonomous conversation partner, and designed by the Japanese robotic engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro. It will be argued that these two cultural artifacts, despite striking similarities (both are advanced products of reductionist converging technologies, balancing between fiction and reality, and embedded in the mass medium environment of the Internet), from an ontological perspective they embody two different attitudes towards robots and artificial intelligences. Whereas The Modular Body is prototypical for the Christian Western worldview in which android robots are under taboo, the Asian love for android robots like Erica, which mimic human appearance and behavior as close as possible, is connected with the reflective anthropomorphism that characterizes Eastern religions like Buddhism and Shintoism.  Although we should be aware of a digital revival of orientalism (the more because in our globalizing world we increasingly exchange and share cultural forms, information and communication technologies being obvious examples), Westerners may learn something from Eastern robotics. Because of their religious traditions Asian people may be better prepared for the conceptualization and design of a society in which humans and artificial lifeforms harmoniously live together.  

Gepubliceerd in: Boekbijdragen
Jos de Mul. The Earth Garden: Going Back or Going Forward to Nature? Frontiers of Philosophy in China. Vol.12 (2017) 2: 237-248.

Abstract Against the background of a short meditation on the contrasting ways in which landscape has been represented and idealized in Eastern and Western painting traditions, the article will try to show, using some striking examples, that the development of landscape painting in the last two centuries reflects the changing relationship of humanity and nature, leading in both the East and in the West to either the expression of a nostalgic longing for nature to be back as it once was, or to a gloomy expression of the vanishing of nature amidst the modern, technological world. Connecting to both the concept of “harmony,” which is a key concept in Eastern aesthetics, and to some recent reflections in Western philosophy on the relationship of nature and technology, a post-nostalgic conception of nature and natural beauty is defended, in which nature and technology are no longer seen as opposing categories, but rather as poles that are intertwined in an ever-lasting process of co-evolution. It is argued that we should not so much strive to go “back to nature,” but rather to go “forward to nature” and establish a new harmony between human and non-human nature and technology. The article ends with some reflections on the role artists and aestheticians may play in this transformation.

Keywords environmental pollution, environmental aesthetics, philosophy of nature, comparative aesthetics, philosophy of technology

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: Boekbijdragen
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: Boekbijdragen
Jos de Mul. From Yijing to Hypermedia: Some Notes on Computer-mediated Literary Theory and Criticism. In: Peng Feng (ed.), Aesthetics and Contemporary Art. International Yearbook of Aesthetics. Volume 16. Beijing University: 2016, 114-125.

The development and global dissemination of computers - from the mainframe computers in the middle of the 20th century up to the smart phones that enable us to be online everywhere at any time - has an enormous impact on virtually every domain in human life, including art and literature. In the past decades, we have witnessed the emergence of different kinds of new media, that – among many other things – also have given birth to new art forms and genres, such as computer animations, hypertext, and interactive netart. All these new (that is: computer-mediated) media can be called “hypermedia”, because they share two fundamental characteristics: they are media that are both multimedial and non-linear.

In this contribution I will discuss the impact of hypermedia on literary theory and criticism. More particularly, the question I will focus on in my lecture is: how to write about hypermedia? In what ways do hypermedia affect literary theory and literary criticism. However, when writing about hypermedia, literature can only be a point of departure of our examination. After all, hypermedia are media that absorb and thereby re-mediate the other “old media”, literature included.[1] And this, as I will argue, also applies to literary theory and literary criticism, which at least partly is going to be transformed into hypermedial criticism.

Gepubliceerd in: Boekbijdragen
Geert Maarse. Panic in the Polder. Interview with Jos de Mul. Erasmus Today, March 28, 2017.

Panic in the Polder or how the Netherlands can survive populism. Days before the Dutch elections professor Jos de Mul spoke on Erasmus Studio, presenting his book ‘Paniek in de polder’ (Panic in the Polder) in which he analyses the so called fight between ‘the people’ and ‘the elites’. He also explains the popularity of Donald Trump and Geert Wilders among populist voters. The question is: who are these populists? And is our democracy in crisis?

Gepubliceerd in: Online publicaties
Jos de Mul. Possible printings. On 3D printing, database ontology and open (meta)design. In: B. van den Berg, S. van der Hof & E. Kosta (eds.) 3D Printing: Legal, Philosophical and Economic Dimensions - Information Technology and Law Series. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press, 2016, 87-98.

3D printing can be approached from a number of different disciplinary angels, as it has possible implications for a great variety of human practices, ranging from the organization of economic production to the domain of legal and regulatory issues. In my talk I will focus on 3D printing from yet another angle: design, more particularly the perspective of open design. In Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing, Lipson and Kurman claim no less than that 3D will  cause “a revolution in the way we make and design things, because of the close connection between the software design of an object […] and its physical manifestation”.[2] Although we should be somewhat skeptical when the word “revolution” in the often hyperbolic discourse on information and communication technologies, it is obvious that 3D printing has the potential to bring about important changes in many domains, including the  world of design. Especially because of its open character, 3D printing challenges traditional design practices. In this chapter, I will investigate some of the implications of the database ontology, which characterizes the open design of 3D printing.

In the announcement of the 2010 Amsterdam conference Redesigning Design, which was organized by Creative Commons Netherlands, Premsela, Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, and Waag Society, and which resulted in the book Open Design Now. Why design cannot remain exclusive[3]  the present situation in the world of design was described as follows:  “The design industry is going through fundamental changes. Open design, downloadable design and distributed design democratize the design industry, and imply that anyone can be a designer or a producer”. The subtext of this message seems to be that open design - for reasons of brevity I will use this term as an umbrella for the aforementioned developments, thus including downloadable, distributed design and the possibility to  recombine modules to personalized designs and to 3D print them at home or in a specialized shop around the corner– is something intrinsically good, something we should promote. Though my general attitude towards open design is a positive one, I think we should keep an open eye for the obstacles and pitfalls, in order to avoid that we will throw out the designer baby along with the bath water.

This chapter consists of three sections. First I will present a short sketch of open design. As this concept has quite some different connotations and, for that reason, is prone to conceptual confusion, it might be useful to illuminate this tag cloud of connotations. In this first part, I will also summarize some of the objections that can be (and has been) directed against open design.

Gepubliceerd in: Boekbijdragen
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: Boekbijdragen
maandag, 05 januari 2015 14:29

The game of life

Jos de Mul. The Game of Life: Narrative and Ludic Identity Formation in Computer Games.  In: Lori Way (ed.), Representations of Internarrative Identity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Representations of Internarrative Identity is based upon Ajit Maan's breakthrough theory of Internarrative Identity, which deals with one's sense of self as expressed in personal narrative, connecting the formation of identity with life experiences. This book is the first extensive examination of the adaptive qualities of Maan's work within diverse areas of scholarship and practice, including cultural studies, gender studies, computer gaming, and veterinary medicine. United by their research application of Maan's theory, these scholars demonstrate the far-reaching implications of Internarrative Identity.



Gepubliceerd in: Boekbijdragen
Jos de Mul, The possibility of an island. Michel Houellebecq's tragic humanism. Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, Vol. 1 (2014), Issue 1, pp. 91–110.

 

The Possibility of an Island: Michel Houellebecq’s Tragic Humanism1

Jos de Mul

Abstract

Various authors, including Friedrich Nietzsche and George Steiner, have argued that the tragic worldview, as we find it expressed in Greek tragedy, has become an entirely incomprehensible phenomenon for (post)modern man. The claim defended in this article radically opposes this view. It is argued that tragedy can still teach us something today, and maybe even more so now than in the many intervening centuries that separate us from her days of glory in the fifth century bce. The tragic reveals itself once more in (post)modern society, and nowhere more clearly than in technology, the domain in which we believed the tragic had been domesticated or even eliminated. Referring to the tragic humanism in Michel Houellebecq’s novels The Elementary Particles and The Possibility of an Island it is argued that it is precisely in (post)modern (bio)technologies that we experience the rebirth of the tragic.

Keywords: tragedy, technology, humanism, transhumanism, Michel Houellebecq, Friedrich Nietzsche

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