Raymond Ruyer & The Autosubjective Domain of Absolute Survey

Dr Thomas Keating1

1UNSW Canberra


In his book Neo-finalism, the French philosopher Raymond Ruyer (1952 [2016]) describes a crisis of contemporary thought – a moment brought about by a false analogy between the ‘thinking’ computer and the ‘thinking’ human brain, as well as the subordination of all behavioural processes to the finalist activity of the organismic subject. Today, against a backdrop of nootropic modifications to human life and industrial-scale integration of artificial intelligence, elements of this same crisis gain expression through the reductionism of the conscious humanist subject – a subject that would need ‘saving’ from the onslaught of this technological change. By way of response, in this paper I explore how Ruyer’s concept of “absolute survey” provides avenues for thinking about a specific kind of autosubjectivity – one that positions the human as an outcome of a range of different processes of transpatial ‘thought’ that need not be reduced to the unconscious frames of the humanist subject.


Thomas P Keating is a lecturer in human geography at UNSW Canberra. His research interests include the philosophy of technology, ‘new’ technological interfaces with the body, and non-representational geographies.

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