Alexander Galloway | Penn, Philadelphia/New York

Despite being the object of much discussion these days, the digital (or “digitality,” the regime of the digital) does not often appear in the writings of philosophers, except perhaps when it arrives unwittingly under the aegis of another name. The world of business consultancy has accepted it, as has the popular and folk culture, consumer society, telecommunications, medicine, the arts, and of course the spheres of industrial engineering and information processing (where it plays a special role). But is there an ontology of the digital, or even a philosophy of it?
The goal of this lecture is not so much to answer such questions, but to draw up a map for what is necessary to answer them, something like a prolegomenon for future writing on digitality and philosophy. The goal, then, is not so much to describe a “philosophy of the digital” or even a “digitization of philosophy”--the former achieving, at best, a kind of formalist checklist prescribing grammars and behaviors for new media objects, and the latter enlisting and promoting new methods for “doing” philosophy, be they online, distributed, or disestablishmentarian (of the discipline of philosophy)--not so much these things, as an exploration in which digitality and philosophy are addressed together, as two modal conditions, both in parallel as they diverge and differentiate themselves, but also in series and concurrently as they merge and intermediate. So this intervention will, if it is successful, pay attention to the conceptual requirements of the digital, and by contrast the analogue, and the strictures and affordances it grants to philosophy, without trying to reduce one to the other.

Alexander R. Galloway is a writer and computer programer working on issues in philosophy, technology, and theories of mediation. Galloway is currently a visiting professor at Penn, teaching courses on Deleuze, Godard, and games. He is author or co-author of three books on media and cultural theory. Recently, the Public School New York published “French Theory Today: An Introduction to Possible Futures,” a set of five pamphlets documenting Galloway's seminar conducted here in the fall of 2010. In his future work he intends to continue to explore French philosophy and the continental tradition.


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