Philosophy beyond Computation. On Evald Ilyenkov’s Critique of Artificial Intelligence

Lecture by Keti Chukhrov

19.11, 19:00, The House of Cinema, Blue hall
With theoretical and technical breakthroughs in the field of natural sciences and their infiltration into the humanities, we are increasingly confronted with attempts to either “complete” philosophy or to replace it with science and technology. In this context, the critique of cybernetics and technical essentialism developed by the Soviet philosopher Evald Ilyenkov in his 1960’s pamphlet The Mystery of a Black Box is of particular relevance. Despite a certain naivety in its defiance of technological essentialism, this text nevertheless successfully exposes the principal gnoseological and epistemic faults with attempts to supersede philosophy with science.

Ilyenkov’s apology for philosophic gnoseology and dialectical logic has become even more important in the context of contemporary debates on automated rationality as a genuine realm of thought. If in cognitivism (T. Metzinger, E. Thompson) philosophy was regarded as an obsolete cognitive practice, recent research with artificial intelligence and computation (L. Parisi, R. Negarestani) calls for reclaiming philosophic thought, but confining it mainly to the body of computation. It is in this context that one may productively revisit Ilyenkov’s satirical pamphlet The Mystery of a Black Box as an important diagnosis of why technology and scientific data can neither oust philosophical thought, nor replace it.

The lecture will be held in Russian.