Prolegomena to a Critique of Cybernetic Reason
Em: 2021 IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century
Norbert Wiener’s neologism of Cybernetics, meaning “navigation” or “steering”, immediately resonates with the Kantian period of the three Critiques (1781–1790) book title question What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking? (1786). Besides, cognition (cognitio; erkenntnis) and knowledge (scientia; wissen) are pivotal concepts in regulatory systems and self-organization. Indeed, the regulative principle of teleology in the “Dialectic of Teleological Judgement” in the Critique of Judgment (1790) theoretically expanded but forwent the mechanistic view of nature, next scientifically redeemed by Darwin, nevertheless foreshadowing feedback teleology under subjective autonomy and control. Control theory is rooted on A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field (1865) by J. C. Maxwell, with electric and magnetic wave synthesis, thus predicting radiation energy pervasiveness in physics. Yet and before, it was Young’s double-slit interference experiment (1801), just about the time of Kant’s death (1804) and prior commissioning of the Opus Postumum (ca. 1800) that, while asserting the wave theory of light in anticipation to new interpretations of quantum mechanics, firstly dismantled the Aufklärung edifice and architectonics. It is here suggested that not only the background of natural selection and new physics inflicted a fatal blow to transcendental idealism, but also and decisively, that a coup de grâce came upon it by a series of diagonalisation arguments ever since Cantor (1891): the negative limits and aftermath results in logic (Frege, Gödel, and Tarski), computation and information (Turing, Shannon) and quantum physics (Heisenberg and Bohr). Cybernetics as a science shall arise as an inversion of Kantian architectonics.