Mathematics in Motion: Cartesian Mechanism and the Prospect of Intelligent Machines

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_9A3F499D3ED4
Type
PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Mathematics in Motion: Cartesian Mechanism and the Prospect of Intelligent Machines
Author(s)
Draskovic Darko
Director(s)
Poltier Hugues
Institution details
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des lettres
Publication state
Accepted
Issued date
2019
Language
english
Abstract
Descartes' dualism deflnes the scope of the present work. Descartes' doctrine of God and man, res cogitans, is understood as a metaphysical and epistemologi- cal grounding for his physics, res extensa. The lattcr is examined as a horizon for the concepts of mechanism and machine. In addition, the thesis proposes a correlative reading of Cartesian dualism via the général distinction between philosophy and mathematics. Both of these readings are grounded in two basic conceptual distinction: 1) between reflexivity (referring back to itself) and in- nerness (containing itself) of auto, and linearity and outwardness of hetero, 2) between being productive and being product. Subject is understood as reflex- ive and productive: God is ontologically productive by means of auto-causality and man is epistemologically productive by means of self-consciousness. On the other hand, nature présents us with a linear dispersion and outwardness of space (or matter). While philosophy is concerned with the paradoxes of true reflexivity (= auto), modem mathematics articulâtes its basic stance in an ef¬fort to eliminate, by means of axiomatization and formalization, paradoxes of self-containment (set tlieory) and auto-reference (mathematical logic).
Descartes' universal mathematics plays the rôle of a new logos and his physics can be understood as a locus of the new idea of physis as actualized geometrical translation (= the source of individuation of natura.1 entities). Furthermore, Descartes' philosophy of nature can be seen not only as a transformation of physis into mathematical kinesis (— mechanism) but also as a recasting of physis as techne (= machine): nature is artificial and natural phenomena are artifacts. Nature as matter (= géométrie space) in motion (= géométrie translation) is, as a technology of machine production, a self-creative power. While every machine is mechanism, not every mechanism is machine. Automation, understood as 1) internai principle of motion (engine) and 2) feedback (cybernetics), t-urns a simple mechanism into a complex (emergent) machine. One of the central tenets of the present work is that auto-mation introduces some sort of auto, i.e. reflexivity in the material reality as such.
Acknowledging that human mind is one of the principal bedrocks of reflex¬ivity, the thesis also asks a converse question whether Descartes' philosophy supplies us with means of thinking the possibility of machine mind. To answer the question, the thesis deploys the différence between (self)presentation ( cog- ito) and (self)représentation (cogitare) - understood as a distinction between pre-logical and logical as well as between pre-linguistic and linguistic, and fur- ther specifîed as the différence between consciousness (intuition) and intelli¬gence (déduction). Although Descartes does not admit of intelligence without consciousness, the thesis goes on to show that intellect understood as repré¬sentation (linguistic) and intelligence (logic) can be implemented as symbolic mechanistic system. Consequently, man's political capacity is not deposited, as in pre-modern philosophy (animal rationale), in his logic or linguistic faculties (= res cogitans), and should be, rather, looked for in cogito - a reflexive "part" that cannot be implemented b.y and in mechanism.
Keywords
subject, God, man, mechanism, machine, reflexivity, production, logos, mathe-matics, physis, physics, techne, technology, cybernetics, artificial intelligence
Create date
21/03/2019 10:50
Last modification date
29/10/2020 11:49
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