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ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

Machine Anthropology: a Belated Manifesto

Author: Chubarov Igor

About author:
Doctor of Philosophy, Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Address: 14/1 Volkhonka str., Bldg. 5, 119019 Moscow, Russia. E-mail:

The task of this article consists of developing a sui generis machine logic, one that might become an alternative to the traditional onto-theo-logics. This new logic claims that the pre-predicative experience of human corporeality and sensibility, along with social models, could be expressed as a machine. And it provides justifications for the notions of “simple machine” or the artistic “toy-machine,” which are primary to the other types of machines, as well as the social megamachine (Lewis Mumford), and smart technologies. This article deals with the transcendental conditions of the emergence of such a machine, and the media preconditions of transcendence itself, which are treated as the machine’s a priori and as a symbolic language structure. A thesis regarding the nonexplicit machinic character of traditional human images is based on the history of media technologies, Lacan’s symbolic order, and the media theory of Gilbert Simondon and Friedrich Kittler. On the other hand, Heidegger’s theory of technology, the “desiring-machines” of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and media theory by Gerald Raunig were thoroughly scrutinized. Heidegger’s key arguments, that “the essence of technology is itself nothing technological,” as well as his characterization of modern technology as Gestell (das Gestell), are criticized. These arguments provide an implicit assumption that the essence of “technology” is known in advance. Nevertheless, this essence is represented as no more than the ersatz of something technological, or as an anthropomorphous image of the machine. Thus, the machine cannot be placed into the hermeneutic circle without being replaced by its anthropological twin. It always slips away from any attempt to either to point to it or define it. The last part of the article considers mechanic images of the Russian Avantgarde, in comparison with western artistic projects of the time (surrealism, dadaism). However, such comparison does not lead to a simple demonstration of a common machine logic, but brings with it the crucial point of its problematic and autoreflexivity, which provides us with an understanding of the inadequate evaluation of Russian constructivism made by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.

Keywords: a machine notion; machine Utopias of the Avant-guard; Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of the technics; desiring machines by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

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