Florian Cramer on Tue, 21 Dec 2010 17:03:23 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange

On Monday, December 20 2010, 06:45 (-0500), John Young wrote:
> The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange
> Philip Pilkington
> [Excerpt]
> Ref: http://cryptome.org/0002/ja-conspiracies.pdf
> As already shown, Assange borrows heavily from the information sciences - 
> more specifically, cognitive neuroscience and computer science. This is 
> extremely interesting because this leads his philosophy to resemble certain 
> contemporary post-structural philosophies ? most specifically, that of the 
> 20th century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

...so we get a classical example of a false syllogism. The fact that
both Assange and Deleuze borrow from information science doesn't make
Assange a Deleuzian. 

> Deleuze, like Assange, uses complex metaphors derived from mathematics 
> and science to explain the world around him. 

Deleuze's competence in mathematics and science has been (to put it
politely) questioned by Sokal and Bricmont. 

> And like Assange, he sees 
> the solution to the problem of ?closed-systems? as to attempt to break 
> through congealed sructures and promote communication and the free 
> spread of information.

Actually, this is not a coinage by Deleuze, but classical 1960s general
system theory by Bertalanffy. Again, a false syllogism.

> I won?t pass any judgments on Assange?s politics or his philosophy other 
> than that I appreciate his freeing up certain information and recognise 
> that he is an extremely intelligent individual. 

If there is an implied philosophy in the practice of Assange and
Wikileaks, then it's most literal and straightforward enlightenment
philosophy -  with an implied categorical imperative, and with its 20th
century liberal extensions from Popper's open society to more radical
libertarian-anarchist variants thereof.  

In other words, it's simply what has been the standard political
philosophy of computer hacker cultures in the Western world for decades.
And lumping together Deleuze with enlightenment philosophy would be more
than a stretch. (In a letter to Michel Cressole, Deleuze called his 1963
book La Philosophie Critique de Kant "a book on an enemy".)

There is little reason to single out Assange here. And one should think
that all those naive Deleuzian misreadings of Internet culture and
technology were a fad of the 1990s.


(sick of the Assange personality cult, sick of such predictable
outcomes of the arts/academia machine.)

blog:     http://en.pleintekst.nl
homepage: http://cramer.pleintekst.nl:70

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