Alain Badiou: Metapolitics (1998/2005)

30 September 2011, dusan

Metapolitics argues that one of the main tasks of contemporary thought is to abolish the idea that politics is merely an object for philosophical reflection.

Badiou indicts this approach, which reduces politics to a matter of opinion, thus eliminating any of its truly radical and emancipatory possibilities. Against this intellectual tradition, Badiou proposes instead the consideration of politics in terms of the production of truth and the affirmation of equality. He demands that the question of a possible “political truth” be separated from any notion of consensus or public opinion, and that political action be rethought in terms of the complex process that binds discussion to decision. Starting from this analysis, Badiou critically examines the thought of anthropologist and political theorist Sylvain Lazarus, Jacques Ranciere’s writings on workers’ history and democratic dissensus, the role of the subject in Althusser, as well as the concept of democracy and the link between truth and justice.

First published in French as Abrégé de métapolitique by Éditions du Seuil, 1998
Translated and with an Introduction by Jason Barker
Publisher Verso, 2005
ISBN 184467035X, 9781844670352
159 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-15)

Norbert Wiener: Cybernetics, or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 2nd ed. (1948/1961)

30 September 2011, dusan

“Acclaimed as one of the ‘seminal books … comparable in ultimate importance to … Galileo or Malthus or Rousseau or Mill’, Cybernetics was judged by twenty-seven historians, economists, educators, and philosophers to be one of those books published during the ‘past four decades,’ which may have a substantial impact on public thought and action in the years ahead.”—Saturday Review

Publisher MIT Press, 1961
Fourth printing, 1985
ISBN 026273009X, 9780262730099
212 pages

Wikipedia
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PDF (8 MB, added on 2015-12-6)
DJVU (2 MB, updated on 2012-8-1)

See also Monoskop resource on Cybernetics.

N. Katherine Hayles: How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (1999)

30 September 2011, dusan

“In this age of DNA computers and artificial intelligence, information is becoming disembodied even as the “bodies” that once carried it vanish into virtuality. While some marvel at these changes, envisioning consciousness downloaded into a computer or humans “beamed” Star Trek-style, others view them with horror, seeing monsters brooding in the machines. In How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles separates hype from fact, investigating the fate of embodiment in an information age.

Hayles relates three interwoven stories: how information lost its body, that is, how it came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms that carry it; the cultural and technological construction of the cyborg; and the dismantling of the liberal humanist “subject” in cybernetic discourse, along with the emergence of the “posthuman.”

Ranging widely across the history of technology, cultural studies, and literary criticism, Hayles shows what had to be erased, forgotten, and elided to conceive of information as a disembodied entity. Thus she moves from the post-World War II Macy Conferences on cybernetics to the 1952 novel Limbo by cybernetics aficionado Bernard Wolfe; from the concept of self-making to Philip K. Dick’s literary explorations of hallucination and reality; and from artificial life to postmodern novels exploring the implications of seeing humans as cybernetic systems.

Although becoming posthuman can be nightmarish, Hayles shows how it can also be liberating. From the birth of cybernetics to artificial life, How We Became Posthuman provides an indispensable account of how we arrived in our virtual age, and of where we might go from here.”

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 1999
ISBN 0226321460, 9780226321462
350 pages

Publisher

PDF (updated on 2012-7-24)