Call for Papers: Exteriorization. Actuality and history of a theoretical paradigm (Extended Deadline: 15/04/23

N. XXXVI, 2023
edited by Emanuele Clarizio and Martino Feyles

Italiano | Français

Jacques Derrida is one of the philosophers who, in the last century, worked more systematically on the concept of “exteriorization”. By reinterpreting the myth of the origin of writing (as told in Plato’s Phaedrus), Derrida showed how old and, in a sense, inevitable the problem of the relationship between interiority and exteriority is. At the same time, by linking exteriorization to technique, Derrida’s grammatology opens up fertile perspectives for the investigation of actuality. History and actuality are the two directions along which this issue of Lo Sguardo intends to develop the question of exteriorization.

Surprisingly, the roots of this concept can be found in Hegel’s idealistic philosophy: the term “Entäußerung” indeed plays a prominent role in The Phenomenology of Spirit, and although its translation has been controversial, since it was initially translated into Italian and French as “alienation”, now the latter word preferably translates the German term “Entfremdung”, whereas “Entäußerung” actually indicates a process of exteriorization. However, the ambiguity and proximity between these two concepts persisted after Hegel, as evidenced for instance by the almost interchangeable use of them by Marx in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts.

Indeed, it is through the Hegelian left that the term “exteriorization” makes its appearance in philosophy of technology, in particular with Ernst Kapp’s Grundlinien Einer Philosophie der Technik, the first book to carry the expression “philosophy of technology” in its title, in 1877. Exteriorization is raised by Kapp to a general scheme of functioning of the spirit; its most significant form is that of organic projection, which coincides with the process of technical creation. Kapp’s theory thus appears as a central junction for the fortunes of the concept of exteriorization, insofar as it serves as a point of articulation between idealism and philosophy of technology.

Through Alfred Espinas, Kapp’s thought then reached France, where the notion of exteriorization was originally developed in Henri Bergson’s philosophy, who in The Creative Evolution conceived it as one of the ways of life and consciousness externalization.

Then, André Leroi-Gourhan picks up and powerfully reactivates Bergson’s and Kapp’s double inheritance, systematically using the concept of exteriorization and including it in an evolutionist theoretical framework: the history of the human species thus appears as a history of successive technical exteriorizations. In this way, exteriorization rises to the rank of a true epistemological category, providing a base for philosophies of technology in search of scientific legitimacy and generating controversies, still relevant today, about its suitability as a heuristic tool for understanding technical phenomena.

Leroi-Gourhan is also a reference for Derrida when he deals with exteriorization, and both of them abundantly feed Bernard Stiegler’s thought, for whom, as a process of exteriorization, technique “is the prosecution of life by other means”.

In the light of the theoretical events briefly evoked here, it is possible to perceive the density of the history of the concept of exteriorization and its capacity to spread in many areas of philosophy (transcendentalism, idealism, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of life, philosophy of technology, deconstruction). Moreover, if on the one hand the paradigm of exteriorization is mainly rooted in German and French philosophy, it is also possible, by extension or analogy, to relate these traditions to philosophical theories that can be defined, in a broad sense, as externalist. Recently, some theoretical positions have been affirmed and developed, based on the assumption that human mind and action are, more or less immediately, located outside the body. In this sense, philosophical currents such as post-phenomenology, enactivism, the theory of the extended mind or even the Material Engagement Theory show significant connections with the theoretical paradigm of exteriorization.

In order to analyze the historical and theoretical relevance of the concept of exteriorization and to test its present-day fruitfulness, researchers are invited to contribute to the issue by sending proposals concerning the following issues:

  • the historical genesis of the concept of exteriorization, its development in German philosophy (in the authors mentioned above, but also in other currents), its relation to the concept of alienation;
  • the dispersion and expansion of the concept of exteriorization in contemporary philosophies, and in particular in French philosophy (Bergson, Derrida, Leroi-Gourhan, Stiegler, etc.);
  • the anthropological, cognitive and aesthetic aspects of the theme of exteriorization, when referring to the externalization of mental faculties (for example, writing as exteriorization of thought or the archive as exteriorization of memory) or to the transcendental meaning of exteriorization (for example, in relation to the Kantian problem of schematism);
  • the possible contemporary uses of the concept of exteriorization as a category useful for the understanding of technical or aesthetic objects (prostheses, archives, databases, algorithms and the different forms of artificial intelligence, new media, etc.), as well as the possible heuristic limits or criticisms of such uses (i.e. in what sense technique in general or some techniques in particular would not be subsumable under the category of exteriorization).
  • the possible points of connection and dialogue between the theoretical paradigm outlined above and the most recent trends in the development of externalist theories in the broadest sense: post-phenomenology, theory of the extended mind, enactivism, material engagement theory, etc.



Process: Please send the paper, complete in all of its parts including an abstract in English (900-1000 characters), to, by the deadline indicated above. Please carefully follow the journal’s guidelines. All the papers will undergo a double-blind review.

Emanuele Clarizio and Martino Feyles | |


Lo Sguardo è un progetto full open access. Puoi scaricare gratuitamente tutto il nostro archivio, ma saremmo lieti di ricevere un piccolo contributo tramite PayPal.
Sostieni Lo Sguardo
Support Lo Sguardo
Lo Sguardo is a full open access project. You can download all the articles for free, but we will be glad to receive a little support through PayPal.
Lo Sguardo è un progetto full open access. Puoi scaricare gratuitamente tutto il nostro archivio, ma saremmo lieti di ricevere un piccolo contributo tramite PayPal.
Sostieni Lo Sguardo
Support Lo Sguardo
Lo Sguardo is a full open access project. You can download all the articles for free, but we will be glad to receive a little support through PayPal.
Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter
Lasciaci il tuo indirizzo email per rimanere aggiornato sulle nostre novità.