All posts filed under: language


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abstract machine / assemblage / becoming / code / cosmos / diagram / God / intensity / language / molecular / segmentarity / semiotics / sign / subject / truth

“Regimes of signs are not based on language, and language alone does not constitute an abstract machine, whether structural or generative. The opposite is the case. It is language that is based on regimes of signs, and regimes of signs on abstract machines, diagrammatic functions and machinic assemblages that go beyond any system of semiology, linguistics or not. There is no universal propositional logic, nor is there grammaticality in itself, any more than there is […]

For Lacan

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attention / barrier / deconstruction / lacan / language / metaphor / signifier / structure / subject / Thought / unconscious

The question of vigilance is important. It is as if a demon plays a game with your attention [lit. “watchfulness.”] Lacan To identify a “subject” is not only difficult, but truly impossible: we always only ‘nominate’ in the last instance one of its barriers; or rather, we indicate only what is barred, but we do so by signifying the barrier. How can we understand this barrier — this imaginary line of symbolic exchange? In what […]

The Language Mechanism: Notes on de Saussure

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continuity / diachrony / evolution / institution / language / linearity / linguistics / logic / sign / synchrony / time

A language thus has this curious and striking feature. It has no immediately perceptible entities. And yet one cannot doubt that they exist, or that the interplay of these units is what constitutes linguistic structure. That is undoubtedly a characteristic which distinguishes languages from all other semiological institutions. Ferdinand de Saussure (Course in General Linguistics, 105) After having investigated the physiological mechanisms of speech, Saussure turns to consider the nature of linguistic signs. In his […]

Thinking Cybernetics

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algorithm / apparatus of capture / authority / biopolitics / call for papers / code / control / cybernetics / desiring machines / einstein / ethics / humanity / language / media / metaphysics / technology

(Matt Dixon) Thinking Cybernetics: Mapping the Intersections between Metaphysics, Technology, Biopolitics (abstract for panel) The purpose of this panel is to gather together ideas, perspectives, and questions from a diverse variety of thinkers and disciplines relating to the theory and practice of cybernetics. Our goal is to raise a series of critical questions concerning the intersection between biopolitics, metaphysics, and technology. While each paper is devoted to a specific author or authors and is generally […]

Language is not a Signal: Notes on Wilhelm von Humboldt

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concept / decision / dialogue / distinction / humboldt / language / metaphysics / order word / protoype / representation / segmentation / sign / Thought

Language is not a Signal: Notes on Wilhelm von Humboldt One of the earliest and most strident critiques of the signifier, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s philosophy of language refused the even-then-canonical concept of a “sign” by questioning the universal conceptual image of a language as representation. Beneath the semiotic aspect of language — the “common sense” idea of language as utterance, signalling, communicating, “saying” — Humboldt catches sight of a more profound function of language, where […]

The Horizon of Language

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assemblage / channel / communication / diagram / forgetting / form / intensity / language / media / memory / multiplicity / parasite / Plato / signal / Thought / wisdom / writing

If men learn this [writing], it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many […]

Speaking (of) Flowers…

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breath / celan / expression / flowers / growth / heidegger / humboldt / inorganic life / intensity / language / life / light / organism / speech / spirit

The stone. The stone in the air, which I followed. Your eye, as blind as the stone. We were hands, we baled the darkness empty, we found the word that ascended summer: flower. Flower – a blind man’s word. Your eye and mine: they see to water. Growth. Heart wall upon heart wall adds petals to it. One more word like this word, and the hammers will swing over open ground. Paul Celan, “Flower”

Expression and Essence: The Metaphysics of Writing

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alterity / Aristotle / blueprint / break / essence / eyes / form / hallucination / hands / heidegger / Interpretation / language / limit / parasite / universal / univocal / writing

A verb is that which, in addition to its proper meaning, carries with it the notion of time. No part of it has any independent meaning, and it is a sign of something said of something else… Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance, for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer’s mind, and fixes his attention; but they do not, as they stand, express any judgment, either positive or negative. […]

The Thought of Language

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alterity / being / difference / expression / harmonics / history / language / memory / post-modern / radiation / science / time / transcendence / writing

The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. (Karl Marx, from the introduction to Grundrisse) Between being and language there is an interval, a purified difference articulated through individuation, a difference in time or development: language is in such a way that it always is yet to be as a being. Language becomes […]

Temporality and Power: The Politics of Absence

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alterity / concept / critique / ethics / infinity / language / metaphysics / morality / ontology / Politics / power / production / theory / time

In the relation of the human being to language, a process is reflected that extends to the relation of the human being to beings in general: The scientific knowledge has become the standard knowledge! The other: thinking, spirit of language, history, culture is still there, yet dragged along into a certain indeterminateness. It is decisive that the consciousness was lost as to where this other belongs and of what kind must the reflection be in […]

Literary Machines: Between Drama and Artificial Intelligence

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actualization / artificial intelligence / behavior / being / cinema / cybernetics / drama / existence / image / interactivity / interface / language / one / reverie / story / theory

Insofar as it tends towards a studied negation (or counter-actualization) of our numb existence, endlessly dramatizing the existential narrative of escape, contemporary cinema conveys an intense and disturbing truth about modern reality. It is not just the easy and everyday dissociation that life is a movie, but more surprisingly, that movies have become indistinguishable from our real lives. Drama is not merely a terrifying absence, simply the dissolution of the synchrony of the One, but […]

Cyborg Nietzsche: Conscience, Affect, Transvaluation

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algebra / complexity / decay / diagnosis / ethics / insanity / language / literature / machine / mathematics / Nietzsche / Politics / prejudice / psychoanalysis / schizophrenia / Science / Mathematics / Technology / society / structure / transformation / truth / unconscious

Part One: Criticism and Untruth-Machines A. Neurosis and Transcendence: the Algebra of Bad Conscience We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.  Marcel Proust For Nietzsche, uncovering the peculiar logic of the unconscious, revealing the function of this or that unobserved striving, would only form part of the analysts’ role. A rich, analytic transformation of the real space of mental (political) activity is the full meaning of diagnostic criticism. Any real […]

Nietzsche and Basho: Freedom, Morality and Awareness

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Basho / chaos / enlightenment / equilibrium / ethics / freedom / language / method / Nietzsche / unity / Zen

How very noble! One who finds awakening in the lightning-flash (Basho) It struck me lately that Nietzsche’s style is not entirely dissimilar to the strategy employed by the Zen koan. I’m thinking in particular of the haikus of Basho: short, aphoristic bursts of supersaturated feelings, pressurized information, aimed to awaken and reorient consciousness towards new directions. The author of the haiku plays a subtle game of exchanging masks. Each voice, whether of the dawn, the […]

Culture, Language, Multiplicity

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culture / language / multiplicity / silence / society

The space of a remark is not merely a site for events, but always a sort of home: it plays host to flocks of fragmentary feelings, to parasitic swarms of minimal ‘incorporeal’ entities. Language is sense only in immense assemblages. Books are mass conflagrations of innumerable pieces of inchoate noise. This is why the novel is always — unresolved. Feelings and intensities are irreconciliable because they are irreversible and contain their contradictions: words are their […]

Beyond Ontology

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abyss / bodies / Deleuze / language / machine / ontology / sense

Where are the abysses? But they are already swarming: through the lines of others’ faces and in the depths of spaces, in reflections and in distortions, flowing over one another within the black holes through which subjectivity escapes. An abyss swarms because it is always consuming: it is the earth itself, an autopoeitic unity of timeless forces and endless devourings. The terrifying abyss of nonsense is fulfilled in the floating signifier — not in the […]

Notes on Natural-Language Artificial Intelligence

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artificial intelligence / language / searle / simulation / Turing

Our first axiom must be some kind of logically justifiable affirmation that this goal is indeed reachable: (1) Linguistic competence is attainable through the appropriate programming of any universal Turing machine. In order to demonstrate this, let’s suppose that (‘artificial’) natural language agency isn’t possible. Accepting this implies at least one of the following two propositions must be true: (a) Either linguistic competence will never be attainable for machines due to some kind of ultimately […]

Lacan and The Problem of Foundations

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formalization / lacan / language / mirrors / parallax / psychoanalysis / rules

“Psychoanalysis has played a role in the direction of modern subjectivity, and it cannot sustain this role without aligning it with the movement in modern science that elucidates it. “This is the problem of the foundations that must assure our discipline its place among the sciences: a problem of formalization, which, it must be admitted, has gotten off to a very bad start. “For it seems that, possessed anew by the very shortcoming in the […]