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
Category Archives: Metalithikum
Metalithikum is the name of a series of conferences I started together with Ludger Hovestadt at the Laboratory for Applied Virtuality (CAAD ETH Zurich). Our interests are the following:
Technology is not simply technology, it changes character over time. We suggest there is a twin story to it. We call it metalithicum and postulate that it has always accompanied the story of technology since the Neolithic era. It concerns the symbolics of the forms and schemes humans are applying for accommodating themselves within their environment. We assume that the protagonists of this twin story, the symbolics of those forms and schemes, are also not simply what they are but change character over time. Through the Metalithicum Klausuren, we seek to engender a theoretical perspective on one of the central areas of today’s social dynamic, namely the link between information technology on the one side, and architecture, urbanism and the city as a life form on the other.
We hope to be granted, in the face of the authority of all the many specific and highly sophisticated expertise, a certain degree of carnival license for attempting such an abstract discourse across disciplines. We are aware that in doing so, we are calling on what might appear to be a somewhat presumptuous capacity for integration. However, we see the importance of holding on to an architectonic scope to thought as a precondition for gaining a proper understanding of todays technics and symbolics.
We invite people from contexts across many domains and disciplines: architects, engineers, mathematicians, programmers, literature and culture studies, media science and economics, among others, for two and a half days to the Werner Oechslin Foundation Library in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. The lectures, as well as edited excerpts from the discussions, are made available to an international audience in the Applied Virtuality Book Series, edited by Ludger Hovestadt and Vera Bühlmann, published in English by Springer Vienna/New York.
By now (summer 2012), we have hosted three Metalithikum Klausuren which have dealt, from different angles, with aspects of this dimension of the symbolic in our current technics, and in the societal practices it engenders.
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
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
»popularizing insistence« was the fourth Klausur in a series of events which I organize at the Laboratory for Applied Virtuality (CAAD, Institute for Information Technology in Architecture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich) in collaboration with the Stiftung Werner Oechslin in Einsiedeln, Schwitzerland. It took place from Feb. 1-3 2013, and will shortly be documented on … Continue reading
A psycho-political essay on the imagined life-form of existentialists who begin to populate the symbolic grounds of generic urbanity
In the Quantum City, it is mainly existentialists who gather. Existentialists of the symbolic. People who know they could do virtually anything, if they wanted to, and if they got organized properly. Yet they feel largely undecided. There is a sense of brute potency all around them, which at one and the same time attracts … Continue reading
One plenum? Many real infinities? Notes on the virtuality of order corresponding to polynomial grammaticality
Polynomials name terms that comprehend ever so much as the term is capable of bounding within a constellation of terms as incorporated by a formulaic system. the determinability of this so much is added separately, by the decision regarding which numerical domain is being put at the basis of the solution space. What is a quantity? It is not … 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
»printed physics« war die erste Klausur in einer Reihe von Veranstaltungen, die ich am Laboratory for Applied Virtuality (CAAD, Institute for Information Technology in Architecture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich) zusammen mit der Stiftung Werner Oechslin in Einsiedeln, Schweiz, organisiere. Technology is not simply technology, it changes character over time. We suggest there is a … Continue reading
»domesticating symbols« war die zweite Klausur in einer Reihe von Veranstaltungen, die ich am Laboratory for Applied Virtuality (CAAD, Institute for Information Technology in Architecture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich) zusammen mit der Stiftung Werner Oechslin in Einsiedeln, Schweiz, organisiere. Technology is not simply technology, it changes character over time. We suggest there is … Continue reading
»symbolizing existence« war die dritte Klausur in einer Reihe von Veranstaltungen, die ich am Laboratory for Applied Virtuality (CAAD, Institute for Information Technology in Architecture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich) zusammen mit der Stiftung Werner Oechslin in Einsiedeln, Schweiz, organisiere. Technology is not simply technology, it changes character over time. We suggest there … Continue reading