Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 16, No 1 (2020)

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On Plasticity’s Own Conceptual Epigenesis: Malabou on the Origin and History of Plasticity

Thomas Wormald

Abstract


This paper proposes an immanent critique of Catherine Malabou’s account of the origin of plasticity, arguing that Malabou’s account of plasticity—as a philosophical concept or form—does not meet the standard of her own conception of the epigenetic development of form. Using Malabou’s Before Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality, this paper argues that Malabou’s own account of plasticity hews closer to theories of formation Malabou explicitly abjures: spontaneous generation and preformationism. Accordingly, Malabou’s articulation of plasticity lacks an account of its conceptual epigenesis that would fulfill the epigenetic standards of her own thinking.


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