From Closed Need to Infinite Greed: Marx’s Drive Theory

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University of Canterbury
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Johnston, Adrian

Repeating Freudo-Marxism: Drives Between Historical Materialism and Psychoanalysis The title of my piece obviously makes reference to Alexandre Koyré’s 1957 book From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. Therein, Koyré unfurls a narrative in which modern science is born in and through Galileo Galilei’s insistence that the great book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.1 On the Koyréan account, the Galilean mathematization of all things natural brings about, as one of its several momentous consequences, a leap “from the closed world to the infinite universe” precisely by rupturing the finite sphere of the qualitative cosmos and replacing it with the centerless expanse of a quantitative limitlessness. Along with the capitalism and Protestantism arising in the sixteenth century, the natural science originating in the early seventeenth century is a foundational component and key catalyst of modernity as such. Hence, by Koyré’s lights, the historical transition from the pre-modern to the modern involves the shift designated by his influential book’s title.

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