Study group COMET – Metaphysics in Contemporary Continental Philosophy

COMET III: Catherine Malabou – Ontology of the Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity

Who: Researchers and (research) master students in philosophy or adjacent fields.

When: 15:00-17:00 on June 16, June 30, and July 14

Where: On campus at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Precise location is shared upon registration.

How: Each session discusses two of the six book sections, which participants read before convening.

Register by sending an email to arjen.kleinherenbrink [at] There is room for 14 participants (first come, first served)

Publisher’s blurb Ontology of the Accident:

In the usual order of things, lives run their course and eventually one becomes who one is. Bodily and psychic transformations do nothing but reinforce the permanence of identity. But as a result of serious trauma, or sometimes for no reason at all, a subject’s history splits and a new, unprecedented persona comes to live with the former person – an unrecognizable persona whose present comes from no past and whose future harbors nothing to come; an existential improvisation, a form born of the accident and by accident. Out of a deep cut opened in a biography, a new being comes into the world for a second time.

What is this form? A face? A psychological profile? What ontology can it account for, if ontology has always been attached to the essential, forever blind to the aléa of transformations? What history of being can the plastic power of destruction explain? What can it tell us about the explosive tendency of existence that secretly threatens each one of us? Continuing her reflections on destructive plasticity, split identities and the psychic consequences experienced by those who have suffered brain injury or have been traumatized by war and other catastrophes, Catherine Malabou invites us to join her in a philosophic and literary adventure in which Spinoza, Deleuze and Freud cross paths with Proust and Duras.


The COMET study group is convened by the Center for Contemporary European Philosophy (CCEP) at Radboud University.

To register for this group, please contact the study group coordinator through the e-mail below.


Dr. Arjen Kleinherenbrink (
Associate professor in metaphysics and philosophical anthropology| Program coordinator ‘Philosophy, Politics and Society’ | Radboud University Nijmegen

Upcoming activities of this group

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Past activities of this group

Topic & aim

Serious interest in metaphysics has surged among continental philosophers since the turn of the millennium. There is now a rich and growing body of literature –  often associated with labels such as Speculative Realism, New Materialism, and New Realism – dedicated to classical as well as new metaphysical questions.

This study group aims to explore that literature, one book at a time.

Set-up & practicalities

When            Biweekly on Fridays, 15:00-17:00, starting April 14.

Where          On campus at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Exact location t.b.a.

How              Each session discusses two chapters that participants read in advance.

Who              Researchers and (research) master students in philosophy or adjacent fields.

Register          To participate, register by sending an email to arjen.kleinherenbrink [at] There is room for 14 participants. First come, first serve.

OZSW members who belong to this group

Member Affiliation
Westerink, HermanRadboud University Nijmegen
Kleinherenbrink, ArjenRadboud University Nijmegen
Al-Bayaty de Ridder, JuléeRadboud University Nijmegen
Govers, LauraRadboud University Nijmegen
Guven, IremLeiden University
Pompstra, CoenRadboud University Nijmegen
Kappé, SuzanneUniversity of Amsterdam
Pulles, RikRadboud University Nijmegen

Other people who belong to this group

Anna Ernst, Annelies Kleinherenbrink, Nino Babutsidze, Davi de Vor, Marleen van Haalen, Ties van Daal, Max Schmermbeck, Tom den Uijl, Kelly Janssen, Esmee van den Wildenberg

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