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Title: The genealogy of Nick Land's anti-anthropocentric philosophy: a psychoanalytic conception of machinic desire.
Authors: Overy, Stephen
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In recent years the philosophical texts of Nick Land have begun to attract increasing attention, yet no systematic treatment of his work exists. This thesis considers one significant and distinctive aspect of Land's work: his use of a psychoanalytic vocabulary, which is deployed to try and avoid several problems associated with metaphysical discourse. Land's larger project of responding to the Kantian settlement in philosophy is sketched in the introduction, as is his avowed distaste for thought which is conditioned by anthropocentricism. This thesis then goes on to provide a genealogical reading of the concepts which Land will borrow from psychoanalytic discourse, tracing the history of drive and desire in the major psychoanalytic thinkers of the twentieth century. Chapter one considers Freud, his model of the unconscious, and the extent to which it is anthropocentric. Chapter two contrasts Freud's materialism to Lacan's idealism. Chapter three returns to materialism, as depicted by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus. This chapter also goes on to consider the implications of their 'schizoanalysis', and contrasts 'left' and 'right' interpretations of Deleuze, showing how they have appropriated his work. Chapter four considers Lyotard's works from his 'libidinal period' of the late sixties to early seventies. These four readings, and the various theories of drive and desire they contain, are then contextualised in relation to Land's work in chapter five. This final chapter considers Land's theory of 'machinic-desire', and evaluates if his construction of the concept, via psychoanalysis, offers a superior approach to anti-anthropocentric positions constructed in metaphysics. The role of psychoanalytic thought in constructing Land's cosmological theory of thermodynamic entropy and extropy is also considered.
Description: Ph.D thesis
Appears in Collections:Philosophical Studies

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