Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities
2009—2010 Forum on Connections
Visiting Asst Professor, Haverford College
Connectionism and Ontological Realism
Connectionism, as an emerging paradigm in both cognitive science and artificial intelligence, has come to signal a general transition away from the traditional symbolic paradigm (symbolism) towards non-symbolic approaches to producing and manipulating information. According to William Bechtel and Adele Abrahamsen, authors of Connectionism and the Mind, the new paradigm focuses on the causal processes by which “units excite and inhibit each other,” rather than methods of storing and manipulating symbols. I propose to investigate the specific ways in which this new paradigm engages, challenges or supports Gilles Deleuze’s “ontological realism”: the investigation of how the real may be directly created through those same processes of “subjectivation,” such as language, thought and visual culture, which organize affect into representations.