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Lecture

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Lecture given by Marcello Vitali-Rosati online, January 18, 2022 at 6 p.m. (CET), or noon (EST), here.

For some years now, there has been talk of a "new materialism". Criticizing the idea of Aristotelian metaphysics which opposes form to matter, this current - if it is one - tries to return to the materiality of thinking: there is no form without matter, matter makes form, or even better, matter is form. To say it with Karen Barad: "matter matters". This means in particular that text is also always an inscribed text. A certain ideality of the notion of text such as it has circulated in the post-structuralist tradition is thus put to shame. Thinking is always an inscription, a text is always an inscription. There are therefore no neutral tools in the hands of a thinking mind. Tools, protocols, algorithms, formats… think. How do they think? What do they think?

Based in particular on the example of textual writing formats, I will try to show this fusion between technique and thinking and its cultural and political consequences. In particular I will analyze the format docx and the implications of writing with Microsoft Word, and I will present in contrast the text editor Stylo which was created in order to propose an alternative way of writing in the field of Human and Social sciences.

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