Death of the philosopher Bernard Stiegler, thinker of the consequences of digital technology on society

Bernard Stiegler facing prisoners in Douai, in 2003. FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP

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Director of the Institute for Research and Innovation, he had discovered philosophy during a stay in prison. Bernard Stiegler died at the age of 68.


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Bernard Stiegler, a very critical philosopher of the capitalist system who had devoted his research to the changes caused in society by digital technology, died Thursday at the age of 68, announced the International College of Philosophy.

A committed thinker on the left, who took a stand against the liberal excesses of society, Bernard Stiegler had focused his reflection on the challenges of changes - social, political, economic, psychological - brought about by technological development.

In particular, he analyzed the risks posed by these changes on traditional employment, predicting its disappearance.

Prison renaissance

Bernard Stiegler's career is atypical. Born in Villebon-sur-Yvette (Essonne) in 1952, he discovered philosophy in prison. Imprisoned in 1978 for five years, following several armed robberies, the young prisoner immersed himself in the reading of the great philosophers - Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Heidegger -, then discovered contemporary thought with Jacques Derrida.

Stiegler would say it later: confinement, the cell allowed its intellectual rebirth, thanks to the discovery of the immense fields of philosophy.

On his release from prison, he meets Derrida and asks him to become his thesis supervisor. From then on, fully immersing himself in the world of contemporary philosophy, Bernard Stiegler experienced a dazzling journey: he wrote his thesis on Heidegger and immersed himself in the questions that fascinate him: technological evolution, the notion of connected network, the digitization of uses of society.

Known for having created the philosophical think tank Ars industrialis, in which he encourages us to renew the way of thinking our relationship to technique, Bernard Stiegler was also at the head of IRCAM, the Institute for research and innovation at Centre Pompidou.

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