Thursday, December 20, 2012

Notes on Cognitive Fiction

via Joseph Tabbi, Cognitive Fictions, 2002

Agency Panic
-the panic of attributing consciousness to all kinds of systems, and about the difficulty of locating control at any one level of existence – the difficulty, in other words, in deciding what a person is. (p34, Tabbi referencing Timothy Melley’s agency panic of humanist backlash in contemporary U.S. culture)

We are at a loss to grasp how discursive social structures might impinge on individuals without depriving them of all capacity for autonomous action.

Knowledge, Fact and Contingency
Knowledge is the holding, or accumulation of facts, which in themselves exist, or are constructed anthropically, as an extension/precipitating of agreed-upon units. A fact is a product of prior facts, irreducible, infinite, like fractals. And they require a structure, held up by the beliefs of a society. And so facts are contingent upon the facts that make them up (in infinite recursion) and upon the subjects, the participants, the observers that agree upon their validity, and cement their sturdiness for further knowledge.

Programming vs Selection
Evolution is a process of selection rather than programming and thus the brain, and consciousness as well.

Reading Cognitive Fiction
-Can be thought of as interpreting/criticizing texts either analytically or psychologically
-Can stimulate a latent recognition
-Can force the question of how to represent thought and construct subjectivity

One cannot map consciousness onto cognition, or derive communication from hardware. One can only fluctuate between incompatible theories, and accommodate linear writing to multi linear thought, the conscious mind to the unreflective medial ecology. (p120)

The Imminent Mind
The imminent mind is not only in the body. It is imminent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger Mind of which the individual mind is only a subsystem.
-Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p460
-cited in Wolfe, “In Search of Posthumanist Theory”, p50
-found in Tabbi, Cognitive Fictions, p34-35


Microsoft’s Windows are opaque.

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