Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Life beyond bounds : experiments in transcendental empiricism
Author: Roberts, Thomas M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 9467
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
In recent years, geography and the wider social sciences have been animated by a conceptually reinvigorated concern for materialist thought. Within cultural geography, this emerging movement - which is often referred to as a 'new' or 'vital' materialism - has sought to understand the materiality of human life in relation to the lively capacities of a more-than-human world. Contrary to entrenched humanist narratives, these new materialist trajectories refute the anthropocentric assumption that humans are metaphysically exceptional beings, defined by their capacity to transcend nonhuman nature. The following thesis contributes to these debates through an experimental engagement with the notion of a 'transcendental empiricism,' as defined in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. My contention is that, whilst current materialist trajectories accept the critique of anthropocentrism at a superficial level, they often do not go far enough in considering the implications of this critique for social science; the most radical of which is that we can no longer approach human life from the Kantian position of a transcendental subject. With Deleuze, I argue that a materialism worthy of the name must begin from the supposition of a transcendental field, that is, a plane of nature that admits of neither subject nor object. My concern, then, is to explore the implications of transcendental empiricism for contemporary materialist thought. Venturing beyond Deleuze, I find resonances of this strange empiricism in the conceptual landscapes of A.N. Whitehead, Gilbert Simondon and Felix Guattari. Taking each in turn, I show how these three renditions of nature's transcendental field generate new kinds of questions regarding the materiality of human life. I achieve this task through a range of empirical lenses, which include singular objects, technical ecologies and aesthetic encounters. I conclude the thesis by affirming the capacity for transcendental empiricism to radicalise materialist thought through its commitment to immanence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available