Theory of the Digital – Spring 2019
The digital is theoretical to its core. Digital technologies were built on speculative experiments in logic and metaphysics, and the subsequent digitization of our everyday lives confronts us with philosophical question at every turn. This course introduces students to the intertwined histories of philosophy and the digital, from cybernetics and German Idealism to postmodernism, Machine Learning, and the platform economy. We will read Claude Shannon, George Boole, and Immanuel Kant; John von Neumann, Karl Marx, and Ada Lovelace. While the seminar aspect of the course builds this theoretical-historical understanding of the digital, the lab component will serve as competence-oriented illustrations and live engagements with the theoretical materials. To live in the digital world is to engage both practically and theoretically with the processes and effects of ubiquitous computing. This course thematizes both and seeks to cultivate digital citizenry.