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The Art of Questioning 2020-21

The Art of Questioning

PhD seminar on methodologies and contemporary thinking organized and run by Dr Daniel Rubinstein

Dr Daniel Rubinstein
Contact me with any questions about the seminar.

Seminars are online via Zoom, please contact me with any questions about the seminars:

Dr Daniel Rubinstein The Zoom link is:


Wednesday 14 October 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 28 October 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 11 November 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 25 November 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 9 December 16.30-19.00

Wednesday 20 January 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 3 February 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 17 February 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 3 March 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 17 March 16.30-19.00

Wednesday 21 April 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 5 May 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 19 May 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 2 June 16.30-19.00
Wednesday 16 June 16.30-19.00

The Art of Questioning research seminar at Central Saint Martins (CSM), London, UK is dedicated to a rigorous and playful engagement with the multidimensional fabrics of our post-contemporary world. For the artists, philosophers, designers, scientists and explorers that comprise the seminar, The Art of Questioning explores the question/s of method, and in particular the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ (not to mention the ‘who’, ‘where’ and ‘when’) of art based research, and more specifically, how art-led approach to research can try to ‘make sense’ of the augmented reality we inhabiting; multiple dimensions of distributed and artificial intelligence, curved time, pandemic lockdowns, populist politics, climate emergencies and Instagram accidents.

In this series of seminars for doctoral students, we will attend to the question of method. What does it mean to have a method? How can the methodology of your project be developed and brought to light? We will approach this question by looking at a number of radical, critical and provocative writers who have different and often contradictory approaches to method. From the highly methodological to knowingly avoiding the entrapments of a system. In each case we will be asking how the limits of one’s own language contort and determine the tasks of thinking. This condition of questioning the basic assumptions of one’s discipline or technique can be called ‘art’. This also forms the research questions of one’s thesis.

Big thanks to Central Saint Martins for supporting this seminar.


For all of you who are new to doing ‘proper’ philosophy or theory: no previous knowledge of philosophy is required. This is a seminar that will help you learn how to think (as distinct from ‘what’ to think). Eventually it will make some kind of sense in relation to the project you are working on (whatever it is).

14 October - Introduction

Basic principles of thinking
No reading. Refreshments will be provided.

28 October – My cave is bigger than yours

Plato – ‘The parable of the cave’ & Lucy Irigary’s critique of Plato phallocentrism
The Republic, Book VII 514-518 NB the numbers in Plato refer to section numbers not to pages.
NB: Budding philosophers may want to read the whole of The Republic

  • Plato, 1997. Complete works. Hackett Pub, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Irigaray, Lucy, 1985. Speculum of the other woman. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y. pp. 243-256

11 November – Why (and how) matter matters

Marx, Karl

The German Ideology. The premises of the materialist method

Theses on Feuerbach

25 November ‘What love (and pleasure) has to do with ‘it’

Freud, Sigmund

9 December - God is dead, should we care?

Nietzsche, Fredrich

  • Nietzsche, F., translated by Hollingdale, R.J., 2003. A Nietzsche Reader.

Gay Science 110, 112, 276, 341, 354, 355, 374
NB. The numbers in Gay Science refer to sections, not to pages.
These sections can  be found in Hollingdale’s excellent Nietzsche Reader, or in Gay Science
Nietzsche, F.W., Nauckhoff, J., Del Caro, A., 2001. The gay science. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. ; New York.
Dostoyevsky Fyodor,  Notes from the underground, Part 1.

  • Dostoyevsky, F., 2011. Notes from underground. Penguin, Cambridge;.

20 January – tell me again, why matter matters?

  • Karen Barad, Transmaterialities; Trans/matter/realities and queer political Imagings

In: Journal of lesbian and Gay studies 21.2-3 (2015)

  • Stephanie Anne Shelton, The influence of Barad’s ‘Transmaterialities’ on Queer theories and methodologies. In Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 25.1, 2019 pp. 119-124

NB both readings available on dropbox

3 February – introduction to sensual logic(s) of difference

  • Deleuze Gilles, Difference and repetition ‘image of thought’ & ‘conclusion’ in:

Deleuze, G., Patton, P., 2004. Difference and repetition. Continuum, London.

  • Lorde, Audre, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (crossing press feminist series), Penguin, 2019

NB specifically the essay ‘Scratching the Surface: Some notes on barriers to women and loving’ on p.106

17 February – introduction to sensual logic (s) continued.

  • Haynes, Patrice, 2014. Immanent transcendence: reconfiguring materialism in continental philosophy, Continuum.
  • Henry, Paget., 2002. Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy. Routledge.

3 March – Why technology is nothing technological

Heidegger, Martin – the question concerning technology

  • Heidegger, M., Lovitt, W., 1977. The question concerning technology, and other essays. Harper and Row, New York.

Yuk, Hui – technology in China

  • Hui, Y., 2016. The question concerning technology in China: an essay in cosmotechnics. Urbanomic Media Ltd, Falmouth.

17 March – how to make yourself a body without organs

Deleuze and Guattari: Bodies without organs

  • Deleuze, G., Guattari, 1996. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. The Athlone Press, London. Pp. 9-16
  • Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Massumi, B., 2003. A Thousand Plateaus. Continuum, London.

21 April – Speaking truth to power, Parrhesia, cynicism.

Foucault, Michel, Courage of Truth

  • Foucault, M. 2011. The courage of truth : the government of self and others II : lectures at the Collège de France 1983-1984. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York.
  • Gilroy, P., 1993. The black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

5 May – Imagination, justice, terror

Lyotard, jean François, Just Gaming

  • Lyotard, J.-F., Thébaud, J. 1985. Just gaming. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
  • Taylor, P.C., 2016. Black is beautiful: a philosophy of black aesthetics, Foundations of the philosophy of the arts. Wiley, Hoboken.

19 May – time, temporality and consciousness

Husserl, Edmund

  • Husserl, E.,  2019. The phenomenology of internal time-consciousness. Indiana UP
  • Gordon, L.R., 2000. Existentia Africana: understanding Africana existential thought, Africana thought. Routledge, New York.

2 June - how to practice science responsibly; towards an ecology of knowledge.

  • Stengers, Isabel.,., 2010. Cosmopolitics I. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London.
  • McKenzie Wark, 2015, Molecular Red, Theory for the Anthropocene, Verso.

16 June - posthuman trouble

  • Colebrook, Claire., 2014. Death of the PostHuman. Open Humanities Press, University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor.
  • Colebrook, Claire, Images without Words in: Rubinstein, D. (Ed.), 2019. The Fragmentation of the Photographic Image in the Digital Age, Routledge, London, New York.