The forgetting of aesthetics: individuation, technology, and aesthetics in the work of Bernard Stiegler

Autumn 2012

This essay discusses the role of aesthetics in Bernard Stiegler’s work in its relation to individuation and technology. It argues that Stiegler understands aesthetics as the sensuous experience of space and time, which he sees as the ground for the individuation of individuals and groups. The article shows how Stiegler’s particular understanding of aesthetics is based in his reading of Immanuel Kant’s ‘transcendental aesthetics’ in the Critique of Pure Reason. However, by making this aesthetics dependent on technology Stiegler undermines the transcendental nature of Kant’s aesthetics. As a result, technology now intervenes directly into the organisation of our sensuous experience of space and time. This in turn has dire consequences for the process of individuation. This article discusses these consequences (aesthetic malaise, hyper-synchronization and a loss of individuation) and concludes by questioning Stiegler’s take on aesthetics.

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NF 77 Bernard Stiegler: Technics, Politics, Individuation