PHILOSOPHY IN THE LIGHT OF AI: hegel or leibniz

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Abstract

Philosophy already has a long history of coming to terms with artificial intelligence (AI). But if the future of the concept is indeed inseparable from artificial languages and ubiquitous computing, then philosophy must also be able to understand and rewrite its own history in this unnatural light. To this end, I distinguish two manners in which modern philosophy has pursued the artificial cultivation of intelligence. The first is Hegelian. Recently, Yuk Hui and Reza Negarestani have pointed to the affinity between the Hegelian notion of absolute spirit and the functioning of intelligence found in cybernetics and systems theory, as well as in cognitive science. As technology has become our destiny, this leads them to the problem of the continued relevance of humans to the history of a general self-authorizing intelligence. By contrast, I propose to bluntly identify intelligence itself with a rather different sense for relevance, that is, for singularity. Philosophically speaking, this identification reaches back to the proto-structuralist system of Leibniz, which aims for universal communication. Leibniz’s many inventions of formal languages, from the binary system and the universal characteristic to magic and mechanical calculating devices, constitute a proto-AI that functions as the operative code of an inclusive civility. My thesis is the following: if Hegel offered the first grand narrative of the recursive self-critique of common-sense immediacy in the form of artificial good sense, Leibnizian cosmotechnics instead bet on a proto-cybernetic reason that contributes to the distributive composition of an unnatural common sense, all the while protecting multiplicity against its collectivization by a self-naturalizing good sense.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages14
JournalAngelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2020

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