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University of Disaster

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4504-9
160 pages
December 2009, Polity
University of Disaster (0745645046) cover image


"The world of the future will be a tighter and tighter struggle against the limits of our intelligence", announced Norbert Wiener... On top of such confinement, today we are faced not only with the greenhouse effect of global warming but also that of incarceration within the tighter and tighter limits of an accelerating sphere, a dromosphere, where depletion of the time distances involved in the geodiversity of the Globe rounds off the depletion of the substances produced by biodiversity. An unanticipated victim of this geophysical foreclosure is science - not only biology but also physics, the "Big Science" now confronted by the space-time contraction of the known world and of knowledge once acquired here below.

Whence the threat, still unnoticed, of an accident in knowledge which will double the accident of polluted substances and put paid to this crisis of reason denounced by Husserl, with the extravagant quest for a substitute exoplanet, a new "Promised Land" to be colonised as swiftly as possible; the climate necessary to the life of our minds, as much as to the life of our bodies, from then on, on this old Earth of ours, being like the fatal consequences of a long illness requiring hospitalisation.

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Table of Contents



I The Sublime and The Abject

II Sade Pro and Contra Sade

III Dark Enlightenment or Barbaric Science?

IV The Auschwitz Confessions

V The Perverse Society


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Author Information

Paul Virilio is former Director of the École spéciale d'architecture in Paris.
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'Whether analyzing anthropology or philosophy, architecture, poetry, war, or geopolitics, Paul Virilio's The University of Disaster employs a razor-sharp intellect and remarkable scholarship. It reveals contemporary French critical cultural theory to be a startling yet insightful field for anybody concerned with the global debates on technoscience, subjectivity, reality, and temporality.'
John Armitage, Northumbria University

'Paul Virilio has long been one of the most fascinating and provocative thinkers of our contemporary moment. In The University of Disaster, Virilio advances his thinking on the crises of the present age, and continues developing his original thinking on time, space, speed, technology, politics and the human sciences mixed in with reflections on contemporary events and thought. Once again, Virilio reveals himself to be a major theorist of our era whose thought continues to develop novel positions and provocations in the new millennium.'
Douglas Kellner, UCLA
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