Short-Circuits at the Speed of Anaphylaxis

Politics, Law and the Fourth Kind of Memory


  • Daniel Ross



Canguilhem, Stiegler, entropy, law, immune system, paranoia


If, as Canguilhem argues, the emergence of exosomatic life involves the introduction of a new inconstancy into life’s environment, then both juridical and scientific law can be understood as a response that aims at a new constancy or fidelity, but one that always requires interpretation. Today, however, there is a crisis of law, due to a speed differential between the speed of legal change and the speed of digital network technology. This crisis can be understood in relation to Stiegler’s account of exosomatic life as involving three kinds of memory that struggle against the entropic tendency, but here we argue that there is also a fourth memory: the immune system. Taking this into account can further elucidate Stiegler’s claim that the pharmakon has a third, psychosocial dimension: the pharmakos. By understanding immune function not just as discriminating proper and foreign elements, or friend and enemy, but rather as a retentional and interpretive system, we can understand phenomena such as the designation of a scapegoat as a fault of interpretation that can be compared with accounts of the onset of paranoia. This in turn makes it possible to understand the crisis of contemporary experience as an anaphylactic reaction resulting from a collapse of resonance that amounts to a loss of the knowledge and desire required to live in tension, where the latter is the only meaningful definition of peace.






Entropies (Edited by Joel White and Gerald Moore)

How to Cite

“Short-Circuits at the Speed of Anaphylaxis: Politics, Law and the Fourth Kind of Memory”. 2024. Technophany, A Journal for Philosophy and Technology 2 (1): 1-21.