If capitalism entails instrumental or means-ends action, and moral conduct (Kant) bequeaths the kingdom of pure ends, then what is at stake in a culture of pure means? Benjamin gives us a language and a politics of pure means in his ‘Critique of Violence’ that has been an inspiration for anarchism and Occupy. For Agamben and Hannah Arendt there is, on the one hand, the instrumental means-ends action of the oikos (economy, private) and governmentality; and, on the other, the political activity of pure means of the polis and sovereignty. Here Arendt explicitly draws on the aesthetics and technics of Kant’s thirds critique, the Critique of Judgment: on judgment’s Zweckmäßigkeit ohne Zweck, or means without ends. Kant was influenced by contemporaneous biology in which organic life is a means not to an external end but to its own thriving and surviving. Thus Kant’s third critique is based on organic life as a self-technics. Foucault also develops a technology of the self – that is neither governmentality nor sovereignty (polis) - in the construction of our subjectivities. Yet here at stake is subjectivity as a closed system. Asian thought, with its Confucian and Daoist background and its fundamental dyad, may offer a way out from this closed subjectivity. But so can today’s co-evolutionary media - in which flows of information, images, data may lead to radical opening and communicational connectivity.
講者簡介：Scott Lash教授現為英國倫敦大學Goldsmith College文化研究中心主任，並於2015年於香港中文大學擔任訪問教授，研究興趣專長為資訊社會、全球化與科技文化等相關議題。代表作品有The End of Organized Capitalism（1987）、 Another Modernity: A Different Rationality（1999） 、China Constructing Capitalism （2014）等。