DIAMAT

Western philosophy has identified nature with “realm of necessity”; only unbinding from it could she release herself form the burden of materiality. However, in the twilight of human exclusivity, the denigrated man and dignified nature now have to occupy the same plane of being. Thus in 1990, reacting to the climate change, French thinker Michel Serres has declared, that for the first time “global history enters nature; global nature enters history.” Earth, understood now in its planetary totality, jeopardized the human existence as a species. When we can no longer separate the biological agency of humans from their geological affects, the environment must be accepted as an equal-right political actor. Finally, after the long decades nature, this structural “Other” of philosophy, becomes at the centre of attention, and the old a priori distinction between scientific and ethical values should be abolished.

Both continental and analytic philosophy of the second half of the 20th century was obsessed with the problems of language, consciousness, subjectivity. But as one philosopher has wittingly argued, “it is not language which has a hole in the ozone layer”. Behind linguistic idealism and social constructivism, we could hear a call to find more materialist methods, new understanding of matter and materialization. These new editions of materialism we could arguably divide into two camps. The first tradition, that follows western-European Marxism, continues to treat nature as a product of the social, where the natural and objective is understood as determined by social relations. But even within this school of thought, we could witness a growing attention to previously excluded categories such as “cheap nature”, “dead land”, etc. The second approach, that develops monist and immanent line of philosophy, and on the contrary insists on the nature-history continuum. It emphasizes vital, creative and emergent aspects not only of living, but also inorganic matter.

However, in contrast to the western thought, Russian and Soviet tradition of philosophy does not need the figure of “return” — over seven decades it attributed to natures high significance. Despite the fact that this abbreviation “Diamat” is inevitably associated with orthodoxy of party Marxism, in opinion of historian Loren Graham, the system of dialectical materialism in terms of its universality and degree of development, has no other competitors but Aristotelian scheme of natural order or Cartesian mechanical philosophy. In its highest achievements, it was a brave collective attempt to develop a systematic knowledge on objective reality in all its diversity, revealing general laws on the different levels of being, but simultaneously not falling into reductionism, determinism or scholasticism. Appropriating DIAMAT as a title, we do not want to fetishize or mourn the bygone tradition. Rather we refer to its heuristic potential and wide range of suggested subjects. By doing this, we welcome  other traditions of modern Naturphilosophie, epistemology of science, old and new materialists world views.

Aside from auteur lectures by established philosophers, an important part of the program will be a kind of “reenactment” of panel discussions that that took place in the USSR, where philosophers and natural scientists tried to establish more tight relationships between their fields. The participants will raise such crucial questions, discussed in the framework of Diamat: the nature of information, origins of life, reality of matter, limits of the species, the application of abstract laws, nature/nurture dualism. These disputes will be enacted as if they were happening today — beyond isolationism, ideological pressure and in the light of recent scientific knowledge and new philosophical optics. Thus, Quentin Meillassoux will shake hands with Vladimir Lenin, while Friedrich Schelling will engage with Timothy Morton.

Discussion by Armen Avanesyan and Karen Sarkisov “Meta-Physics of Post-Contemporeneity”

Lecture by Boris Klyushnikov "Organon of Philosophy: Art and Nature in Schelling"

The discussion of Lina Medvedeva, Alla Mitrofanova and Marina Simakova “Is it possible to go crazy in materialism?”

Discussion of Alexander Vetushinsky, Ekaterina Nikitina, Nikita Sazonov and Polina Khanova “Alien versus Hogweed: existence on the ruins of otherness”

Discussion of Magdalena Kozhevnikova and Victoria Ginanova “Hybrid zones: ethics of interspecies”

Lecture by Ana T. Pinto “Feedback as an Anti-Policy”

Lecture by Denis Sivkov “On the scale and things: ontology (for) space”

Discussion by Keti Chukhrov, Alexander Pisarev, Maxim Miroshnichenko and Nikita Vasilenko “The Secret of the Black Box: Philosophy in the Age of Computational Intelligence”

Lecture by Maria Chekhonadsky “Reflexive reflex: a criticism of vitalism in the social ontology of Lev Vygotsky”