Rhythmic nootechnics : Stiegler, Whitehead, and noetic life

Heaney, Conor (2020) Rhythmic nootechnics : Stiegler, Whitehead, and noetic life. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 52 (4). pp. 397-408. ISSN 0013-1857 (https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2019.1625768)

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In Taking Care of Youth and the Generations, Bernard Stiegler develops an account of the pedagogical responsibilities which follow from rhythmic intergenerational flows, involving the creation of milieus which care for and pay attention to the future, toward the creation of nootechnical milieus. Such milieus are defined by their objects of attention: intellectual life, spiritual life, and political life; taken together: noetic life. Such is the claim Alfred North Whitehead makes when arguing that the sole object of education is life and the creation of an art of life which is itself a rhythmic adventure. The purpose of this paper is three-fold. First, to clarify the importance of Stiegler’s reading of Aristotle's notion of the noetic soul in our thinking about the role, purpose, and function of educational institutions in relation to intellective, spiritual, and political life. In this paper, I will fuse this discussion with a Whiteheadian approach to rhythm, developing what I call a 'rhythmic nootechnics' in the service of 'nootechnical evolution' as, I argue, Whitehead's approach to rhythm allows to clarify and enrich Stiegler's reading of Aristotle. Second, and as indicated, to explore the relationship between Whitehead and Stiegler, insofar as the former has become an increasing reference point for the latter, but this relationship remains unexplored in the literature. Third, to apply this concept of 'rhythmic nootechnics' to think about what transformations at the level of pedagogy and politics are necessary to reinvent the university from this Stieglerian and Whiteheadian perspective.