Luciana Parisi on Machine Philosophy: Instrumentality and Critique

In this lecture, Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths University) will present a critique of technology that, originating from within computational media, makes it possible to discover forms of machine thinking that cannot simply be conflated with machine functions.  

Machine Philosophy: Instrumentality and Critique My attempt at theorizing machine philosophy is to re-open the political dimension of instrumentality and expand the critique of technology to include an experimental logic by which machines think beyond what they do. My talk today takes inspiration from Kittler’s claim that philosophy has neglected the means used for its production. Kittler’s argument for media ontology will be compared to the post-Kantian project of re-inventing philosophy through the medium of thought (in particular Deleuze’s Spiritual Automaton). I will discuss these views in the context of the automation of logical thinking where procedures, tasks, and functions are part of the instrumental processing of new ends evolving a new mode of reasoning. By following John Dewey’s argument for instrumentality, it will be argued that the task of thinking today needs to re-invent a logic of techne away from the teleological view of ends or the crisis of finality. If the post-Kantian preoccupations about the task of thinking already announced that the medium of thought could offer possibilities for a non-human philosophy (or a philosophy beyond truth), my discussion today aims to theorize a machine philosophy originating from within computational media.


Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies, and co-director of the Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths University of London. Her research draws on continental philosophy to investigate  ontological and epistemological transformations driven by the function of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. Her writing aims to develop a naturalistic approach to thinking and technology. She is interested in cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories. Her writing addresses the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology. She has written extensively within the field of Media Philosophy and Computational Design. In 2004, she published 'Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire' (Continuum Press). In 2013, she published 'Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space' (MIT Press). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.

Published Mar. 30, 2019 11:02 AM - Last modified Apr. 3, 2019 2:10 PM