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Regular version of the site

Article

Кибернетическое движение в перспективе различия аналогового и цифрового

Логос. 2020. Т. 30. № 3. С. 77-98.

The heterogeneity of the cybernetics movement, its blurred boundaries, its deep penetration into the scientific, cultural, political and religious institutions of different national communities — all these provide an opening for broadly different approaches to describing the cybernetics movement. Cybernetics was equally attractive to irreconcilable opponents — atheists and clerics, scientists and mystics, Communists and Liberals, cultural figures and counterculture activists. Any study, social or intellectual, of such heterogeneous movements requires simplification of that complexity. e main goal of the article is to find a basic unity that runs through the cultural, social, doctrinal, and institutional diversity of the cybernetics movement. e unifying feature had to meet three requirements: first, the starting point of the analysis should be the original problem that cybernetics addresses throughout its history to date; second, this problem must have a certain degree of universality, that is, its significance must be more than theoretical or applied so that it somehow resonates with philosophy, psychology, and with cultural, political or ideological forms of thought; third, the problem must be relevant in the context of current polemics.

The distinction between analog and digital proved to be a convenient conceptual tool for drawing a sharp outline around cybernetics. e article does not attempt to provide a coherent treatment of its history but instead consists of several fragmentary ideas that are relevant to the history of cybernetics. It is also an experiment to show the potential of that approach. e main thesis presented is that an under- standing of the history of the cybernetics movement can be systematic and productive when based on the analysis of the key cybernetic distinction between analog and digital. This approach reveals important shared problematics and genetic kinship in seemingly incompatible doctrines that make use of cybernetics (Wiener, Shannon) and post-structuralism (Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze).