Technology and Biology in the Anthropocene: Overcoming the Stasis

Tuesday Seminar
Maël Montévil
Date and Time: 
Tue, 13/09/2022 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
08:10 PM to 09:10 PM
HSS Committee Room (MS 610)

Tuesday Seminar



Technology and sciences, notably biology, have entered a stasis whereby the nature of the answers provided are remarkably unchanging. For example, most of biological technoscientific research aims to fix problem by finding a molecule that would interact with an intended target. We argue that this stasis is the result of a decline in theoretical work, and notably a weak relationship with philosophy. Then theoretical shortcomings and contradiction are no longer overcome by renewed perspectives, instead outdated frameworks remain undead leading to inconsistent discourses. To overcome this stasis, we propose to introduce a bastardized epistemology, both in biology and technology, that would articulate both systemic and historical reasoning.




Maël Montévil is a CNRS Chargé de Recherche at the Centre Cavaillès centre, République des savoirs, at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris). He works at the intersection of science and philosophy, and on theoretical biology.  He has developed the framework of constraint closure and theorised biological historicity and its implications for the theory and modelling with which to study current issues such as endocrine disruptors and, more generally, the disturbances of the Anthropocene and our response to them. Montévil is the author of more than twenty-five peer-reviewed articles and a monograph with Giuseppe Longo Perspectives on organisms. In his recent research he is investigating how, in biology, it is necessary to go beyond the epistemology of physics, based on the causal and mathematical closure of the structure of determination, a closure that gives the identity of the scientific object. His latest publications include "Vaccines, Germs, and Knowledge" (Philosophy Word Democracy 2.4, April 2021), "Measurement in biology is methodized by theory" (Biology & Philosophy 34.3, April, 2019), "Possibility Spaces and the Notion of Novelty: From Music to Biology" (Synthese 196.11, November, 2019).