This book works through the notion of the alien in contemporary philosophy. The authors attempt to think through politics, posthumanism, and alienation beyond and across the circuitry of thought that would otherwise enfold the alien in its regressive and parochial trappings. The figure of the Other has held critical thought in its sway for decades, to the point that we now suffer from a surfeit of alterity. This book considers whether the figure of the alien can offer us something better. It traces the outlines, intersections, and problems of emergent vectors of thought that coalesce around a renewed relationship to alienation: left accelerationism, xenofeminism, and inhumanism. Their common thread is the embrace of alienation as a positive force, transforming our progressive exile from a series of edenic harmonies – be they economic, sociological, or biological – into an esoteric genealogy of freedom. Appeals to alien forces can mask all too familiar prejudices, repackaging old assumptions in the language of sublime strangeness or harsh reality. This book seeks to move beyond this by looking at how the notion of the alien interacts with present problems and politics. It was originally published as a special issue of Angelaki.
Intersectional Automations explores a range of situations where robotics, biotechnological enhancement, artificial intelligence (AI), and algorithmic culture collide with intersectional social justice issues such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and citizenship. As robots, machine learning applications, and human augmentics are artifacts of human culture, they sometimes carry stereotypes, biases, exclusions, and other forms of privilege into their computational logics, platforms, and/or embodiments. The essays in this multidisciplinary collection consider how questions of equity and social justice impact our understanding of these developments, analyzing not only the artifacts themselves, but also the discourses and practices surrounding them, including societal understandings, design choices, law and policy approaches, and their uses and abuses.
This book is based upon the collaborative efforts of the Ontogenetics Process Group (OPG) – an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-national research group that began meeting in 2017 to explore new and innovative ways of thinking the problem of complexity in living, physical, and social systems outside the algorithmic models that have dominated paradigms of complexity to date. For all the descriptive and predictive power that the complexity sciences offer (the ability to compute feedback systems, recursive networks, emergent dynamics, etc.), they also presume that the living world in all of its modalities (biological, semiotic, economic, affective, social) can be reduced to finite schema of description that delimits in advance all possible outcomes. What is proposed in this volume are conceptual architectures for the living that are not only irreducible to physico-mathematical frames of reference, but that are also as vital as the phenomena they wish to express. In short: life is more complex than complexity. What emerges from this engagement is not the ascendance of a new transcendental principle (or, what amounts to the same thing, a foundational bedrock) derived from the physico-mathematical sciences, but just the opposite: a domain in which the ontological and the epistemological domains enter a zone of strange (and unavoidable) entanglement. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Angelaki.