Urbanomic x Sequence Press

Sep 2018

ISBN 978-0-9975674-0-3


Intelligence and Spirit

Original Edition

£28.00Read more

£28 / $34.95
  • Paperback
  • 210×148mm
  • 592pp
  • Published with Sequence Press
  • Cover Image: Florian Hecker, Untitled.

    [D]efies classification … this dense and challenging book is well worth the time put in by the attentive and patient reader … Intelligence and Spirit sets forth a bold philosophical task in its wake.

    Benjamin Norris, PLI: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy

    Where humanists once reproached idealism for investing thought with a motive force expropriated from human thinkers, posthumanists reduce thinking to a power of prehension exercized by matter.
        Intelligence and Spirit subverts both of these reductions: it re-invents idealism as a philosophy of intelligence that is also the intelligence of philosophy. Through stunning readings of Kant, Hegel, and especially Plato, Reza Negarestani shows that the freedom proper to the subject and the power proper to the object are unintelligible if separated from the movement of an intelligence that is both unnatured and unnaturing. Just as the function of intelligence cannot be naturalized, the activity of spirit cannot be culturalized. It is spirit that cultivates the union of intelligence and intelligible, without which intelligence as formally conceived is a mere phantasm.
        Negarestani’s book is not only an unprecedented amalgam of the programs of Artificial General Intelligence and German Idealism (one he is uniquely equipped to bring about); it advances beyond both metaphysical and postmetaphysical readings of Hegel by showing that spirit can no more be sociologized than it can be substantialised. And in a gesture that identifies the Platonic ascent towards the Good as the ultimate vector of cognitive and political emancipation, Intelligence and Spirit exposes the conservatism common to humanism and posthumanism by showing how it is spirit, not the real or the other, that dissolves every totality and usurps every order.

    Ray Brassier, author of Nihil Unbound

    A computational process philosophy? A modeling of philosophical Lego? Reza Negarestani’s Intelligence and Spirit is by no means a Neo-Hegelian revival, but a provocative methodological attempt to apply some of Hegel’s critical contentions on reason and spirit to the Kantian epistemological program. The result is a philosophical tour de force that reintroduces Hegel’s Geist to Kant in order to arrive at a neutral conception of intelligence that accommodates AI and future programs of intelligence.
        Too often, philosophical treatments of the concept of intelligence willingly sacrifice complex and irreducible notions such as Spirit in favor of physicalistic reductions. In turn, it is rather ubiquitous to find continental philosophers whose account of science and analytic philosophy is either dismissive or lacking in their monocular pursuit of Being. This book is quite different, equally rigorous and difficult but nevertheless playful, it ventures into new territory with some old maps and new models, avoiding the trepidations of Kant’s demarcation of reason, and offering a philosophical grounding to computation.

    Adam Berg, author of Phenomenalism, Phenomenology, and the Question of Time: A Comparative Study of the Theories of Mach, Husserl, and Boltzmann

    The history of philosophy conceived as the elaboration of a program for artificial general intelligence; intelligence understood as the impersonal and collective evolution of a thought that constructs itself according to a view from nowhere and nowhen.

    In Intelligence and Spirit Reza Negarestani formulates the ultimate form of intelligence as a theoretical and practical thought unfettered by the temporal order of things, a real movement capable of overcoming any state of affairs that, from the perspective of the present, may appear to be the complete totality of its history.

    Building on Hegel’s account of geist as a multi-agent conception of mind and Kant’s transcendental psychology as a functional analysis of the conditions of possibility of having mind, Negarestani provides a critique of both classical humanism and dominant trends in posthumanism.

    This remarkable fusion of continental philosophy in the form of a renewal of the speculative ambitions of German Idealism, and analytic philosophy in the form of extended thought-experiments and a philosophy of artificial languages, opens up new perspectives on the meaning of human intelligence, and explores the real potential of posthuman intelligence and what it means for us to live in its prehistory.

    • 1. Between Conception and Transformation
    • 2. An Outside View of Ourselves as Experimental AGI (Problems, Concepts, and Models)
    • 3. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Forms of Intuition)
    • 4. Some Unsettling Kantian News as Delivered by Boltzmann (An Excursion Into Time)
    • 5. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Objectivity and Thought)
    • 6. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Dasein of Geist)
    • 7. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Language as Interaction as Computation)
    • 8. Philosophy of Intelligence
    • Appendix: Quandaries of Induction in Philosophy of Knowledge, Philosophy of Mind, and Artificial Intelligence
    • Acknowledgements
    • Bibliography
    • Index of Names
    • Index of Subjects