All that Matters is Invisible: How Latency Dominates our Present

“In this wide-ranging talk Professor Gumbrecht argues that the ideas of presence, evidence, and latency are interconnected in distinct ways at different moments in history. His argument proceeds by delimiting distinct chronotopes in history that have structured our relationship to time and the objects we experience within it. He begins by describing the heightened self-reflexivity of Cartesian dualism in the seventeenth century, a philosophy that put the self between the world and evidence of it. Gumbrecht posits that after Descartes we can discern a number of competing ways of conceiving of the world, from historicism, to what he calls Diderot’s “prose of the world,” to an era of the “broad present” that arose in the mid-twentieth century. Each of these moments in intellectual history rearranges the relationship among Gumbrecht’s key concepts of evidence, the present, latency, atmosphere, and desire. Gumbrecht maps these trends onto the shift in Martin Heidegger’s views on being. He ends his talk with a discussion of our virtually mediated world in terms of latency and evidence.”

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