Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity
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This book is based upon the collaborative efforts of the Ontogenetics Process Group (OPG) – an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-national research group that began meeting in 2017 to explore new and innovative ways of thinking the problem of complexity in living, physical, and social systems outside the algorithmic models that have dominated paradigms of complexity to date.
For all the descriptive and predictive power that the complexity sciences offer (the ability to compute feedback systems, recursive networks, emergent dynamics, etc.), they also presume that the living world in all of its modalities (biological, semiotic, economic, affective, social) can be reduced to finite schema of description that delimits in advance all possible outcomes. What is proposed in this volume are conceptual architectures for the living that are not only irreducible to physico-mathematical frames of reference, but that are also as vital as the phenomena they wish to express. In short: life is more complex than complexity. What emerges from this engagement is not the ascendance of a new transcendental principle (or, what amounts to the same thing, a foundational bedrock) derived from the physico-mathematical sciences, but just the opposite: a domain in which the ontological and the epistemological domains enter a zone of strange (and unavoidable) entanglement.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Angelaki.
Table of Contents
Cary Wolfe and Adam Nocek
1. Eros and Logos
2. The Epimedial Landscape
3. The Digital Sublime: Algorithmic Binds in a Living Foundry
4. Alienated Life: Toward a Goth Theory of Biology
5. The Square Root of Negative One is Imaginary
Sha Xin Wei
6. The Singularity Has Come and Gone: The Beginning of Organization
7. In-Kind Disruptions: Circadian Rhythms and Necessary Jolts in Eco-Cinema
8. Relational Realism and the Ontogenetic Universe: Subject, Object, and Ontological Process in Quantum Mechanics
9. Scientific Thought and Absolutes: For an Image of the Sciences, Between Computing and Biology
10. What "The Animal" Can Teach "The Anthropocene"
11. Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity: Conversations
Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University, USA, where he is Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory. His books and edited collections include What Is Posthumanism? and Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds. In 2007 he founded the series Posthumanities at the University of Minnesota Press.
Adam Nocek is assistant professor in the philosophy of technology in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University, USA. Nocek is the Founding Director of the Center for Philosophical Technologies at ASU and the author of Molecular Capture: The Animation of Biology.