1st Edition

Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity

Edited By Cary Wolfe, Adam Nocek Copyright 2022
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    Cary Wolfe and Adam Nocek

    1. Eros and Logos

    Stuart Kauffman

    2. The Epimedial Landscape

    Adam Nocek

    3. The Digital Sublime: Algorithmic Binds in a Living Foundry

    Gaymon Bennett

    4. Alienated Life: Toward a Goth Theory of Biology

    Phillip Thurtle

    5. The Square Root of Negative One is Imaginary

    Sha Xin Wei

    6. The Singularity Has Come and Gone: The Beginning of Organization

    Helga C. Wild

    7. In- Kind Disruptions: Circadian Rhythms and Necessary Jolts in Eco- Cinema

    Erin Espelie

    8. Relational Realism and the Ontogenetic Universe: Subject, Object, and Ontological Process in Quantum Mechanics

    Michael Epperson

    9. Scientific Thought and Absolutes: For an Image of the Sciences, Between Computing and Biology

    Giuseppe Longo (translated by David Gauthier)

    10. What “The Animal” Can Teach “The Anthropocene”

    Cary Wolfe

    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 Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies 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.