Bernard Stiegler  

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'One day Zeus said to Prometheus, "the time has come for you, for us gods, to bring into the day the non-immortals." The non-immortals being animals and men. Prometheus, who is put in charge of this task, has a twin brother named Epimetheus. Epimetheus resembles Prometheus; he is his double. But in fact Epimetheus is his brother’s opposite. Epimetheus is the god of the fault of forgetting. Prometheus is a figure of knowledge, of absolute mastery, total memory. Prometheus forgets nothing, Epimetheus forgets everything. Epimetheus says to his brother: "Zeus has given you this task - I want to do it! Me me me! I’ll take care of it." Epimetheus is a rather simple-minded brother, and Prometheus is fond of him. He dares not refuse and says, "OK, you take care of it." So Epimetheus distributes the qualities. He will give the gazelle its speed, for example. [...] He distributes the qualities in equilibrium. Epimetheus’ distribution of the qualities describes the ecological balance of nature. [...] Now, as Epimetheus is distributing the qualities, he suddenly notices something... [...] "There are no qualities left! I forgot to save a quality for man!" [...] "I still have to bring mankind, mortals, into the day." [...] but there are no qualities left to give him a form. So Prometheus goes to the workshop of the god Hephaestus, to steal fire. Fire, which is obviously the symbol of technics, but which is also the symbol of the power of god. Zeus.'--Bernard Stiegler retelling the creation myth of Protagoras in The Ister (2004)

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Bernard Stiegler (1 April 1952 – 6 August 2020) was a French philosopher. His best known work is Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus. He was extensively interviewed in the film The Ister (2004).


Influences and themes

Stiegler's work is influenced by, among others, Sigmund Freud, André Leroi-Gourhan, Gilbert Simondon, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Valéry, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Karl Marx, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida.

Key themes are technology, time, individuation, consumerism, consumer capitalism, technological convergence, digitization, Americanization, education and the future of politics and human society.


Between 1978 and 1983 Stiegler was incarcerated for armed robbery, first at the Prison Saint-Michel in Toulouse, and then at the Centre de détention in Muret. It was during this period that he became interested in philosophy, studying it by correspondence with Gérard Granel at the Université de Toulouse-Le-Mirail. His transformation in prison is recounted in his book, Passer à l'acte (2003; the English translation of this work is included in the 2009 volume, Acting Out).


In 1987–88, with Catherine Counot, Stiegler commissioned an exhibition at the Centre Georges-Pompidou, entitled Mémoires du futur: bibliothèques et technologies. Stiegler defended his thesis at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in 1992. He has been a Director at the Collège international de philosophie, and a Professor at the Université de Technologie at Compiègne, as well as a visiting professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has held the positions of Director General at the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA), and Director General at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM).

On 1 January 2006 he commenced as Director of the Department of Cultural Development at the Centre Georges-Pompidou. He was Director of the Institut de recherche et d'innovation (IRI), which was created at his initiative in April 2006.


Stiegler has been prolifically publishing books, articles and interviews since 1994. His works include several ongoing series of books:

  • La technique et le temps (3 vols.). The Technics and Time series outlines the heart of Stiegler's philosophical project, and in particular his theses that the role of technics has been repressed throughout the history of philosophy, and that technics, as organised inorganic matter, and as essentially a form of memory, is constitutive of human temporality. The series contains extensive readings of the works of André Leroi-Gourhan, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, and Immanuel Kant. It also contains his explication of the "cinematic constitution of consciousness," as well as his thesis that human beings are essentially "adoptive" and "prosthetic" creatures. Stiegler has at times mentioned further volumes of this series, but these have yet to appear. All three extant volumes have been published in English translation by Stanford University Press.
  • De la misère symbolique (2 vols.). This series is concerned in particular with the ways in which cultural, symbolic and informational technologies have become a means of industrialising the formation of desire in the service of production, with destructive consequences for psychic and collective individuation. Stiegler outlines his concepts of "general organology" (a way of thinking the co-individuation of human organs, technical organs, and social organisations) and "genealogy of the sensible" (a way of thinking the historicity of human desire and aesthetics). It contains extensive readings of Sigmund Freud and Gilles Deleuze, as well as of the works of Alain Resnais, Bertrand Bonello, Andy Warhol, and Joseph Beuys. Both volumes have been published in English translation.
  • Mécréance et Discrédit (3 vols.). The Disbelief and Discredit series is concerned with the way in which the industrial organisation of production and then consumption has had destructive consequences for the modes of life of human beings, in particular with the way in which the loss of savoir-faire and savoir-vivre (that is, the loss of the knowledge of how to do and how to live), has resulted in what Stiegler calls "generalised proletarianisation." In this series Stiegler makes clear his view that, in the light of the present state of the global technical system, it is not a matter of overcoming capitalism but rather of transforming its industrial basis to prevent the loss of spirit from which it increasingly suffers. In the second volume Stiegler introduces the concept of the "Antigone complex," to describe the psychosocial effects of the destruction of authority—that is, the destruction of the superego—on politics and youth. The series contains extensive readings of Paul Valéry, Max Weber, Aristotle, and Herbert Marcuse, as well as analyses of the crisis of May 1968 and the crime of Patricia and Emmanuel Cartier. The first volume was published in English translation by Polity Press in 2011, the second in 2012 and the third in 2014.
  • Constituer l'Europe (2 vols.). In this series Stiegler is concerned with the effects of the destruction of psychic and collective individuation on Europe. He argues for the necessity of inaugurating a new individuation process at the continental level, itself embedded in an individuation process operating at a global level. At stake, he says, is the creation of a new European "motive" which will enable the reinvention of industrial civilisation.

Ars Industrialis

On 18 June 2005 Stiegler founded a political and cultural group, Ars Industrialis, the manifesto of which calls for an "industrial politics of spirit." The manifesto was signed by Stiegler and the other co-founders of the group, George Collins, Marc Crépon, Catherine Perret and Caroline Stiegler. An updated manifesto was released in 2010.


On 18 September 2010 Stiegler opened his own philosophy school (called in the small French town of Épineuil-le-Fleuriel, in the department of Cher. The school runs a course for lycée students in the region, a doctoral program conducted by videoconference, and a summer academy that involves both groups of students as well as interested inhabitants from the surrounding area. The context and themes of the school lie in Stiegler's argument that we are entering a period of post-consumerism and post-globalization. At a philosophical level, the school is engaged in research, critique and analysis in line with Stiegler's pharmacological approach.

Cinema and television

Stiegler features prominently in a number of works of film and television, and has appeared on French television numerous times. Among his most significant appearances are the following:

  • The Ister (2004), directed by Daniel Ross and David Barison, a feature documentary about Heidegger in which Stiegler plays an important part.
  • An Organization of Dreams (2009), directed by Ken McMullen, an experimental thriller inspired by Stiegler's work, and in which he appears.
  • Le temps de cerveau disponible (2010), directed by Jean-Robert Viallet, a documentary about television in which Stiegler is the main participant.
  • Après la gauche (2011), directed by Jeremy Forny, a documentary about the problems of the political Left, featuring Stiegler.


Stiegler's daughter Barbara (born 1971) is also a philosopher. She attended the École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay-St-Cloud, and in 2003 obtained her doctorate from the University of Paris IV: Paris-Sorbonne. Barbara Stiegler is the author of Nietzsche et la biologie (2001) and Nietzsche et la critique de la chair: Dionysos, Ariane, le Christ (2005). She is not to be confused with the German sociologist of the same name.



Books in French

  • (1994) La technique et le temps. Tome 1, La faute d'Epiméthée. Template:ISBN
  • (1996) Échographies de la télévision. Entretiens filmés (with Jacques Derrida). Template:ISBN
  • (1996) La technique et le temps. Tome 2, La désorientation. Template:ISBN
  • (2001) La technique et le temps. Tome 3, Le temps du cinéma et la question du mal-être. Template:ISBN
  • (2003) Aimer, s'aimer, nous aimer. Du 11 septembre au 21 avril. Template:ISBN
  • (2003) Passer à l'acte. Template:ISBN
  • (2004) Mécréance et Discrédit. Tome 1, La décadence des démocraties industrielles. Template:ISBN
  • (2004) Philosopher par accident. Entretiens avec Elie During. Template:ISBN
  • (2004) De la misère symbolique. Tome 2, La Catastrophè du sensible. Template:ISBN
  • (2004) De la misère symbolique. Tome 1, L'époque hyperindustrielle. Template:ISBN
  • (2005) L'attente de l'inattendu. Template:ISBN
  • (2005) Constituer l'Europe. Tome 2, Le motif européen. Template:ISBN
  • (2005) Constituer l'Europe. Tome 1, Dans un monde sans vergogne. Template:ISBN
  • (2006) Réenchanter le monde. La valeur esprit contre le populisme industriel (with Marc Crépon, George Collins & Catherine Perret). Template:ISBN
  • (2006) La télécratie contre la Démocratie. Template:ISBN
  • (2006) Le théâtre, le peuple, la passion (with Jean-Christophe Bailly & Denis Guénoun). Template:ISBN
  • (2006) Des pieds et des mains. Petite conférence sur l'homme et son désir de grandir. Template:ISBN
  • (2006) Mécréance et Discrédit. Tome 3, L'esprit perdu du capitalisme. Template:ISBN
  • (2006) Mécréance et Discrédit. Tome 2, Les sociétés incontrolables d'individus désaffectés. Template:ISBN
  • (2007) Avril-22. Ceux qui préfèrent ne pas (with Alain Jugnon, Alain Badiou & Michel Surya). Template:ISBN
  • (2007) De la démocratie participative. Fondements et limites (with Marc Crépon). Template:ISBN
  • (2008) Prendre Soin. Tome 1, De la jeunesse et des générations. Template:ISBN
  • (2008) Economie de l'hypermatériel et psychopouvoir. Template:ISBN
  • (2009) Faut-il interdire les écrans aux enfants? (with Serge Tisseron). Template:ISBN
  • (2009) Pour en Finir avec la Mécroissance. Template:ISBN
  • (2009) Pour une nouvelle critique de l'économie politique Template:ISBN
  • (2010) Ce qui fait que la vie vaut la peine d'être vécue. De la pharmacologie. Template:ISBN
  • (2012) L'école, le numérique et la société qui vient (with Philippe Meirieu & Denis Kambouchner). Template:ISBN
  • (2012) Etats de choc. Bêtise et savoir au XXIe siècle. Template:ISBN
  • (2013) Pharmacologie du Front national. Template:ISBN
  • (2015) La société automatique. Tome 1, L'avenir du travail. Template:ISBN.
  • (2015) L'emploi est mort, vive le travail! (with Ariel Kyrou). Template:ISBN.
  • (2016) Dans la disruption. Comment ne pas devenir fou?
  • (2018) Qu'appelle-t-on panser? 1. L'immense régression
  • (2020) Qu'appelle-t-on panser? 2. La leçon de Greta Thunberg
  • (2020) Bifurquer: Il n-y a pas d'alternative (with the Collectif Internation)

Books in English

Online texts

Other English translations

  • (1993) "Questioning Technology and Time," Tekhnema 1: 31–44.
  • (1996) "Persephone, Oedipus, Epimetheus," Tekhnema 3: 69-112.
  • (1998) "The Time of Cinema. On the 'New World' and 'Cultural Exception'," Tekhnema 4: 62–114.
  • (2001) "New Industrial Temporal Objects," in Rae Earnshaw, Richard Guedj, Andries van Dam, & John Vince (eds.), Frontiers of Human-Centred Computing, Online Communities and Virtual Environments (London: Springer-Verlag). Template:ISBN
  • (2001) "Derrida and Technology: Fidelity at the Limits of Deconstruction and the Prosthesis of Faith," in Tom Cohen (ed.), Jacques Derrida and the Humanities (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press). Template:ISBN
  • (2002) "Transcendental Imagination in a Thousand Points," New Formations 46: 7–22.
  • (2003) "Technics of Decision: An Interview," Angelaki 8: 151–67.
  • (2006) "Philosophising By Accident," Public 33: 98–107, an extract from Passer à l'acte.
  • (2006) "Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: The Memories of Desire," in Louis Armand & Arthur Bradley (eds.), Technicity (Prague: Litteraria Pragensia): 15–41.
  • (2007) "The True Price of Towering Capitalism: Bernard Stiegler Interviewed," Queen's Quarterly 114: 340–350.
  • (2007) "Technoscience and Reproduction," Parallax 13 (4): 29–45.
  • (2007) "Technics, Media, Teleology: Interview with Bernard Stiegler," Theory, Culture & Society 24 (7–8): 334–41.
  • (2009) "The Carnival of the New Screen: From Hegemony to Isonomy," in Pelle Snickars & Patrick Vonderau (eds.), The YouTube Reader (Stockholm: National Library of Sweden): 40–59.
  • (2009) "Teleologics of the Snail: The Errant Self Wired to a WiMax Network," Theory, Culture & Society 26 (2–3): 33–45.
  • (2009) "The Magic Skin; or, The Franco-European Accident of Philosophy after Jacques Derrida," Qui Parle 18: 97–110.
  • (2010) "Telecracy Against Democracy," Cultural Politics 6: 171–80.
  • (2010) "Memory," in W. J. T. Mitchell & Mark B. N. Hansen (eds.), Critical Terms for Media Studies (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press): 66–87.
  • (2010) "Knowledge, Care, and Trans-Individuation: An Interview with Bernard Stiegler," Cultural Politics 6: 150–70.
  • (2010) "Bernard Stiegler's Pharmacy: A Conversation," Configurations 18 (3): 459–76.
  • (2011) "The Tongue of the Eye: What 'Art History' Means," in Jacques Khalip & Robert Mitchell (eds.), Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011): 222–36.
  • (2011) "The Pharmacology of the Spirit," in Jane Elliott & Derek Attridge (eds.), Theory After 'Theory' (New York: Routledge): 294–310.
  • (2012) "Five Hundred Million Friends: The Pharmacology of Friendship," in Umbr(a): Technology, No. 1: 59-75.
  • (2013) "Doing and Saying Stupid Things in the Twentieth Century: Bêtise and Animality in Deleuze and Derrida," Angelaki 18: 159–74.
  • (2013) "The Indexing of Things," in Ulrik Ekman (ed.), Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing (Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press): 493–502.
  • (2013) "Teleologics of the Snail, or the Errancies of the Equipped Self in a WiMax Network," in Ulrik Ekman (ed.), Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing (Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press): 479–92.
  • (2014) "Programs of the Improbable, Short Circuits of the Unheard-of," Diacritics 42: 70–108.
  • (2015) Ars and Organological Inventions in Societies of Hyper-Control", Leonardo (forthcoming: doi:10.1162/LEON_a_01080).

See also

Further reading

Secondary literature (English)

Secondary literature (French)

  • Jean-Hugues Barthélémy, "De la finitude rétentionnelle. Sur La technique et le temps de Bernard Stiegler", in P-E. Schmit et P-A. Chardel (dir.), Phénoménologie et technique(s), Le Cercle Herméneutique Editeur (2008).
  • Jean-Hugues Barthélémy, « Memoria, Immaginazione e Tecnica nell'opera di B. Stiegler » (trad. M. Feyles), in Martino Feyles (dir.), Memoria, Immaginazione e tecnica, Rome, NEU, 2010; pp. 189–198.
  • Jean-Hugues Barthélémy, "Penser après Simondon et par-delà Deleuze", Cahiers Simondon N°2, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2010.
  • Online paper about Stiegler's link to Simondon, by Jean-Hugues Barthélémy et Vincent Bontems
  • Pierre-Antoine Chardel, "De l'écriture aux téle-technologies (ou le jeu de la difference en question)", in P-E Schmit et P-A Chardel (dir.), Phénoménologie et technique(s), Le Cercle Herméneutique Editeur (2008).
  • Benoit Dillet & Alain Jugnon (eds.), Technologiques: La Pharmacie de Bernard Stiegler (Nantes: Cécile Defaut, 2013).

Pages linking in August 2020

Deconstruction, Edmund Husserl, Epictetus, Gilles Deleuze, Individualism, Post-structuralism, Technology, Television, Time, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Digital art, Epimetheus, Individuation, Goldsmiths, University of London, IRCAM, Donald Winnicott, Science and technology studies, Information art, Jean-Luc Nancy, Différance, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, The European Dream, Technoscience, Theories of technology, Jacques Derrida bibliography, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Michel Bauwens, Gilbert Simondon, Philosophy of technology, Religion and agriculture, Anti-consumerism, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, University of Technology of Compiègne, List of philosophers born in the 20th century, Consumer capitalism, Mécanosphère, Narcissism, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Tiresia, The Ister (film), Daniel Ross (philosopher), André Leroi-Gourhan, List of thinkers influenced by deconstruction, Technics and Time, 1, Nanterre massacre, Charlie Gere, Technogenesis, Ecotechnics, Gérard Granel, Bertrand Bonello, Bertrand Gille (historian), Patricia and Emmanuel Cartier, 1952 in France, Philosophy of design, Echographies of Television, Acting Out (book), List of French philosophers, For a New Critique of Political Economy, Artmedia, The Decadence of Industrial Democracies, Subversive Festival, List of philosophers of technology, Conseil national du numérique, Poietic Generator, Sorbonne University Association, Institut de recherche et d'innovation, Bibliography of anthropology, Herbert Marcuse, Soy Cámara, Marc Crépon, Pharmakon (philosophy), Divya Dwivedi, Éditions Galilée, Shaj Mohan, Gandhi and Philosophy: On Theological Anti-politics

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