The informational motor of Michel Serres : an architectonics of algorithmic reasoning and abstraction

Authors: Doyle, Michael Robert
Abstract: Confronted by the mysteries of the world, humanity has developed various strategies of making sense of the incomprehensible—of rationalizing the real. From ritual and custom to geometry and algebra, models of religion and science have attempted to bring a world of heterogeneous entities into a common space and time. Rationalizations run the risk, however, of excluding that which is external to their model: They presume a single space of communication. Philosopher Michel Serres has worked extensively with the possibilities of a communicational space that is founded upon inclusion, rather than exclusion. The creation of such a space would require a new sort of instrument of cognition—an informational motor—which would enable us to articulate large sets of heterogeneous elements whose common order, borrowing from Information Theory, can only be foregrounded on a background of disordered noise. Looking at the work of Serres as well as of the Roman architect Vitruvius and more recent scholars, I argue that, in a similar way that the atomist physics of Ancient Greece challenged the model of a world ordered by the intentions of the Gods, quantum physics challenges our model of a world whose underlying order can be captured by a single model. With quantum mechanics, we are again thrust into a world of indeterminacy where the very act of rationalization is constitutive of our reality. With both algorithmic and abstract reasoning, however, we can build informational motors that are fueled by contingency and powered by the differences in the patterns hidden in the noise. In developing this argument, I will work mainly with symmetries between the different forms of reasoning presented here, avoiding as much as possible imposing one model of rationalization on another.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 1 September 2017
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: AM
This document was published in: Azimuth, 137-151 (2017)
Collection:Autres articles publiés

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