by Vera Bühlmann author’s manuscript. The mathematical notion of the equation is first documented in the 16th century, when it seems to have been introduced as what we would today call a terminus technicus for organizing the practice of equalizing mathematical expressions. It seems to have been introduced to European Renaissance science and philosophy together with algebra: … Continue reading

# Category Archives: Distinguishing the General from the Generic

# Maxwell’s Demon (Non-Anthropocentric Cognition)

by Vera Bühlmann author’s manuscript. In this article, I would like to discuss one of the key moments of reference in 20th century information science, which arose from thermodynamics and which in fact links the latter to the former in many important aspects. Maxwell’s famous thought experiment explores how to think of heat, if … Continue reading

# Negentropy

author’s manuscript, work in progress (Vera Bühlmann). “Thought interfers with the probability of events, and, in the long run, therefore, with entropy”.[1] The term “negentropy” is born from this very situation. It was introduced by Schrödinger to distinguish biological systems from physical systems, and then generalized by Léon Brillouin into the domain of information theory. … Continue reading

# A Quantum City // Book Launch

Can we find the City in today’s urban landscapes? Can we accommodate the urban in the City? How can we come to terms with the theorem central to information science, that information cannot be acquired without paying a price, that the nature of information is negentropic (Leon Brillouin, Michel Serres) ? What does that imply … Continue reading

# Incandescent materialism, literacy in quantum writing

key note lecture at the NEW MATERIALIST POLITICS AND ECONOMIES OF KNOWLEDGE conference, 2 – 4 OCTOBER 2015, MARIBOR, SLOVENIA abstract Philosophy has to reconsider how it addresses the world, Michel Serres maintains in his “materialism of the incandescent void” (L’ Incandescent, 2003). This, for him, is an issue of metaphysics: the world, as we ought to … Continue reading

# Abstract // Incandescent materialism, literacy in quantum writing

abstract for my talk at the NEW MATERIALIST POLITICS AND ECONOMIES OF KNOWLEDGE CONFERENCE, 2 – 4 OCTOBER 2015, MARIBOR, SLOVENIA Philosophy has to reconsider how it addresses the world, Michel Serres maintains in his “materialism of the incandescent void” (L’ Incandescent, 2003). This, for him, is an issue of metaphysics: the world, as we ought to … Continue reading

# Capital Bodies: Secrets of the Universe

An experiment in accelerating my own thinking about how Capital and Ciphers relate to one another. Deleuze and Guattari suggest (in “Apparatus of Capture” in Mille Plateau) to assume an axiomatics of capital. This here is an exploration towards what it might mean to pursue a taxonomy, or rather a taxonometrics of capital. * thanks to … Continue reading

# Symbolic Solids, or: exploring Architecture’s Inverse // Architecture beyond Design

This is the documentation of my talk at The Building conference Columbia University GSAPP, organized by Jose Araguez with Aaron White. The Building 15 November 2014, 9:30am to 5:30pm, Wood Auditorium, Columbia University GSAPP Ever since the theoretical turn of the 1960s, right through to the present, the status of the architectural object in the sphere of history, … Continue reading

# The reciprocal double-articulation of »sustainability« and »environmentality« or The mode of »insisting existence« proper to the circular.

abstract This text inquires how Louis Hjelmslev’s idea of »an algebra immanent to language« can help us to characterize discretized probability densities as a kind of »symbolic alphabeticity«. It is the manuscript for my talk at the 5th metalithikum colloquy in may 2014. CONTENTS (1) Introduction: The Materiality of sense, or: “capable of being … Continue reading

# Arché, Arcanum, and Articulation. What is at stake with the notion of the universal ?

CONTENTS 0 précis I Genericness as the symbolical body of reciprocity Enunciating the universal Universal text, generic code, pre-specific data Ada Lovelace, the Enchantress of Numbers Algebraic Paradigms II Lemmata in how to theorise the universal while remaining neutral on matters of believe Lemma 1: Universality in terms of objectivity Lemma 2: Universality in terms … Continue reading

# New book out: EigenArchitecture – Computability as Literacy

Medializing the generic. A path out of the technological and economical excesses in contemporary architecture. A book on research and education in architecture and information technology, conceived of as philosophical interplay between two species similar in kind: neither of them is in the least disciplinal, both affect everything, and both are arts of structuring. The … Continue reading

# “Die Empörung des Modells // models, outraged“ – abstract and slides of my talk at the Zhdk conference “David and Goliath – Models between art and architecture”

my talk will attempt to pick up the beautiful mentioning in the conference flyer of “models as mighty miniatures“, under the tentative title of: “Die Empörung des Modells // models, outraged“. The conference is organised by the Forschungsschwerpunkt Transdisciplinarity and the MAS Spatial Design: Florian Dombois, Stephan Trüby, Reinhard Wendler. website, flyer of the conference, another flyer … Continue reading

# manuscript for the gta ETH conference “universal – specific”: The question of ‘signature’ and the computational notion of ‘genericness’

“…linguistics has just provided the death of the author with a precious analytical tool, by showing that the complete utterance is an empty process that functions perfectly without the need for filling it with its individual interlocutors: linguistically speaking, the author is never anything more than he or she who writes, in the same way … Continue reading

# New book out! Sheaves – when things are whatever can be the case

by Ludger Hovestadt, Vera Bühlmann, published as Vol. II in our Applied Virtuality Book Series (ambra, Vienna/Austria) This is a book that holds the intellectual wealth of our world to be elemental. Today, the classical architectonic elements of form, quantity, units, numbers, principles, foundations are all constituted by information, and by literacy. Artefacts are things … Continue reading

# The question of ‘signature’ and the computational notion of ‘genericness’

Abstract for the Universal – specific. From analysis to intervention? conference organized by ETH Zürich, D-ARCH Department of Architecture, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), Prodoc Art and Science Keywords: Michel Serres; the algebraic quantity notion; computability; literacy ********************************** “By world-objects I mean tools with a dimension that is commensurable with one of … Continue reading

# Articulating a thing entirely in its own terms Or: what can we understand by the notion of «engendering» ?

CONTENT What is the subject of the generic? Grammatizing symbolical domains An abstract object’s integrity: political subjectivization Beyond urban comfort, in a state of expulsion Generic as an adverb, universality as an ouevre Bodies of thinking live in algebraic universality Characterizations of the subject of the generic Characterization on a grammatical level The man without … Continue reading

# Abstract: Serious stories around the fantastic dream of a mathesis universalis and the inception of Universal Algebra in the late 19th century

Proposal for The Common Denominator Conference, Universität Leipzig, March 2014. Keywords: Critical Reasoning; Symbolic Reasoning; Amphiboly, Reflection and Projection; Computability In 1898 Alfred North Whitehead published A Treatise on Universal Algebra in order to present “a comparative study of the various Systems of Symbolic Reasoning“ that had been allied to ordinary Algebra since mid 19th … Continue reading

# Primary abundance, urban philosophy – information and the form of actuality

This article argues for a radical perspectivity shift in cogitating the urban, which involves an ap-proach to infrastructures not solely in terms of functionality, but predicated on the pre-modern philosophical terms of capacities and capabilities. Characterizing infrastructures as technological means of maintaining a steady supply of existential basics poorly recognizes the peculiar space of potentiality they maintain and provide … Continue reading

# How to substantiate liminitudinality or: Gilles Deleuze and the formula of capitalism – towards an entropic economy

* manuscript of my paper at the Deleuze Conference 2013 in Lisabon, July 13th. With a few additional annotions. During this conference, we have heard many accounts and twists on a disturbing relation which Deleuze’s philosophy of capture, through the terms of what he calls the method of transcendental empiricism [1], appears to maintain with … Continue reading

# Abstract: How to substantiate liminitudinality – Taking Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism as a philosophical starting point for thinking about territoriality

***** The abstract to my upcoming lecture at the 6th International Deleuze Studies Conference “The territory in-between” (Lisboa Portugal, July 8-10 2013). Info: http://deleuze2013.fc.ul.pt Keywords: symbolic algebra, time, space, metaphysics, semiotics, articulation, glossematics, diagrammatics “Le fondement c’est donc ce qui nous donnera ou ne nous ne donnera pas le droit.” (Gilles Deleuze, Qu’est-ce que fonder?) Departing … Continue reading

# Offen ist abstrakt. Für eine Philosophie der Künstlichkeit, oder: Das Generelle lebt seine eigene Geschlechtlichkeit

Unter der Bezeichnung Open Design beginnt sich gegenwärtig das Label für eine Aufmerksamkeit herauszubilden, welches eine bestimmte Wiedererkennbarkeit, Einschätzbarkeit und Entwicklungstendenz in den aufkommenden Infrastrukturen zu indexieren sucht, in denen heutige „Produkte“ – so allgemein gesprochen wie es die Anwendbarkeit des Begriffs Design heute eben verlangt – ausgedacht, entwickelt, hergestellt, verteilt und erworben werden. Dabei … Continue reading

# Illustration of Categoricity – preliminary notes on Herman Weyl’s categorial take on the circulus vitiosus of analysis

In this new category of posts called “Distinguishing the General from the Generic” I would like to publish posts that explore a twofold line (1) of why, for an understanding of computation as a literacy, keeping the notions of generality and genericity distinct seems of crucial importance, and (2) how we might do so. The approach … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata VI: emerging fields in the synthesis and analysis of data

Contemporary technologies operative on the symbols of universal algebra and their code-based characteristics, namely information, have meanwhile spelled out three fields that begin to appear within the emerging logistically based order. I will attempt to characterize these fields (as the beginning of a to-be-continued reformulation and articulation): Quantum Activity as a kind of actuality that abstracts from … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata V: legacies of philosophical realism

The distinctions I would like to draw involve whether and how learning can be considered a private activity or a personal one, whether and how we can think of it as being achievable by realizing ones potentials or by appropriating and identifying with the role of an intellectual princeps or master, or less Aristotelean and … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata IV: algebra as an undiscovered continent, and attempts to appropriate it as the symbolic positivity of ‘pure instrumentality’

In his classic textbook The Development of Mathematics (1950), E.T. Bell describes how abstract, symbolical Algebra appeared like an ‘undiscovered continent’ on the horizon. Those who pushed the application of the symbolic method without dedicated political or economical commitment were ‘adventurers’, whom Bell calls ‘illegitimate Kings’ striving for ‘profit’: masses of young mathematicians were recruited, … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata III: an existential ‘genitality’ proper to symbolic numericalness

A resurfacing of the debate about amphiboly and concepts, and the relation of this theme to number theory, took place in the 19th century and can perhaps best be associated with an address by Arthur Cayley, a British algebraist working on variational calculus and invariance-theory, to the the British Academy for the Advancement of Science … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata II: Polynominality, and the question of structural amphiboly

“Bombelli [(1526-1572)] had given meaning to the “meaningless” by thinking the “unthinkable,” namely that square roots of negative numbers could be manipulated in a meaningful way to yield significant results. This was a very bold move on his part. As he put it: ‘it was a wild thought in the judgment of many; and I … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata I

This series of posts will focus a an old theme in philosophy, the idea that there can be a characteristics capable of expressing that of which we can say that it is a property of all things. My interest is to consider a shift in how we can relate to such universality which took place … Continue reading

# Continuing the Dedekind Legacy – Computing within the open totality of what can be the object of thought

abstract The paper presents an architectonic notion of computation in the philosophical sense, which depart from the genuinely algebraic ideas in number theory that have been articulated a.o. by Richard Dedekind. Such a perspective interprets the idea of singularity (Ray Kurzweil) as a hubris in the Fregean positivist tradition relying on some „third empire of … Continue reading

# The Integrity of Objects: Design, Information, and the Form of Actuality

[to appear in ADD METAPHYSICS, ed. by Jenna Sutela et.al. Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory, ADDLAB (forthcoming)] We are so accustomed to information that it feels strange to claim that information is not. Yet information has no weight, no extension, no body; it is reducible neither to physical matter nor energy. Nevertheless, it has impacts. We experience … Continue reading