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Re: Re: <eyebeam><blast> Human=Computer

Simon's discussion of the human/computer analogy via the idea of writing
or language as a technology, I would go along with a lot that Simon has
noted.  I would add, however, that the notion of writing in Foucault,
and, perhaps more importantly, in Blanchot and Derrida after him (all of
these deriving from both an appropriation and critique of Heideggerian
techne/poesis) is far more complex than the simplistic notion of
technology that is usually batted around.  As Heidegger noted, the
essence of technology is nothing technological.  Instead of forcing or
playing accross the analogy of writing or language, it might be more
useful to think of the term language or writing as a source both of the
human and the technological in their "metaphysical" determinations.  Of
course, the idea, fundamentally modernist at its heart, of a post-human
that would be post-metaphysical is deeply metaphysical.  One doesn't get
out of metaphysics so easily.   More to the point, one doesn't get out
of metaphysics.  This has been one of the most persistent misreadings of
"post-structuralism."  The same goes for the "human" (providing even
that there is an adequate determination of that).   Often what is lost
in the "new horizon of computer intelligence" narratives that seem so
popular to either love or hate these days is the complex.  It may be
more interesting to question what constitutes the human within the way
it has been determined in the theory that seeks to surpass it.  What may
be post-human may also be profoundly human, if no longer humanist.  
Much of this can be thought about in Derrida's response to Foucault when
he asks "What authorizes Foucault to speak for madness, if from the
point of reason, it has been silenced.  That madness is the
determination of reason" in the article "Cogito and the History of

This article, to me, has the seeds of the terms that would open up the
discussion of the human/computer opposition the way it has been playing
out, since at question in it is precisely the way reason always speaks
through a cipher.  Why does reason need a cipher?   He wonders how
Foucault can claim to speak for madness at the moment of its discursive
constitution through reason. In other words, how is it possible to speak
through the position of alterity to address and critique Reason, if that
position is created and invented by reason as its own alterity.  If
madness belongs to the very constitution of reason, how then can one
critique reason from the pov of madness?   That is Derrida's question
concerning Foucault's position in 1962.  Whether or not Foucault
advanced from this position is a different story, but the question seems
applicable to the human/computer differentiation.

What authorizes the determination of the human from the point of view of
the technological?  I would start there.   I certainly wouldn't to
critique technology, but I wonder if it isn't often used in an extremely
simplistic manner, usually to speak about the human.

Anyway, that's a quick response.    Some thoughts.

Saul Anton

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