War and Machine
Yuk Hui, City University of Hong Kong
Wed, 3/22 · 5:00 pm—7:00 pm · 010 East Pyne
Department of Comparative Literature
In 1914, when Henri Bergson addressed the outbreak of the First World War, he claimed that Germany’s turn towards industrialism and mechanism was accountable for the war, because instead of “spiritualization of matter,” it produced a “mechanization of spirit.” Later in The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932), Bergson further stated that wars of the modern time are bound up with industrial characters of the civilization. Bergson’s analysis has little to do with modern military machines, but rather it concerns the relation between human and technology, or in other words, war is the result of the “conflict of organs.” In 1948, Norbert Wiener in his Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine responded to Bergson by claiming that the opposition between mechanism and vitalism belongs to a badly posed question because it is now overcome by cybernetics. How then shall we read Bergson’s critique today?
Yuk Hui wrote his doctoral thesis under the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler (1952-2020) at Goldsmiths College in London and obtained his Habilitation in philosophy from Leuphana University in Germany. Hui is author of several monographs that have been translated into a dozen languages, including On the Existence of Digital Objects (2016), The Question Concerning Technology in China:-An Essay in Cosmotechnics (2016), Recursivity and Contingency ( 2019), and Art and Cosmotechnics (2021). Hui is co-editor of 30 Years after Les Immatériaux: Art, Science and Theory (2015) and editor of Philosophy after Automation (Philosophy Today, Vol.65. No.2, 2021), among others. Since 2014, Hui has been the initiator and convenor of the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology and sits as a juror of the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture since 2020. He is currently a professor of philosophy of technology and media at the City University of Hong Kong.
Co-sponsored by the Humanities Council, the German Department, the Department of Philosophy and the Department of East Asian Studies