Giuseppe Bianco has been a Research Assistant at the University of Warwick and a fellow in the Research in Paris programme at École Normale Supérieure. He won the Fondation Singer-Polignac’s prize for his project on the field of philosophy in the 1950s. Bianco’s research focuses on the history of philosophy in relation with social and human sciences in France in the 19th and 20th centuries.
He has published articles about authors, currents and concepts, as well as on the conditions of exchange and intellectual production. He recently finished a book on Bergson’s influence on 20th century philosophy, focusing on the problem of conceptual legacy (Après Bergson. Portrait de groupe avec philosophe, Presses Universitaires de France, to be published January 2015), a volume on biopolitical and bioethical problems (The Care of Life, Rowman, 2014), and a collection about Georges Politzer (La signification du concret. Psychologie et philosophie chez Georges Politzer, Hermann, to be published in early 2015). His current research is twofold: the history of the relationship between social and life sciences, on the one hand, and the impact of social sciences in research on the history of philosophy and intellectuals, on the other.
During the 19th century, with Auguste Comte, Alfred Espinas and especially Émile Durkheim, French sociology sought to assert itself as a positive science (in opposition to moral philosophy) that could provide a foundation for political action. To do so, sociology incorporated a specific epistemological position, involving first the use of a series of analogies between social phenomena and vital phenomena, second a biology based on a mechanist physiology, and third the idea of a correspondence between illness and health. Georges Canguilhem’s philosophy of life – and especially his concept of vital normativity, which he sketched out during the Interwar period – is the result of a confrontation with the human and social sciences. Canguilhem’s theoretical position and his political commitments are thus understandable if they are resituated in the more general context of the interconnection between social sciences and life sciences. This research project aims at analysing the relationship between Canguilhem’s critique of the foundations of social sciences and the development of his philosophy of life.