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Inigo Wilkins: Phantastic Sound and the Topos of Noise

Updated: Apr 10

Workshop with Inigo Wilkins: Phantastic Sound and the Topos of Noise

Saturday April 29-- 10 am Pacific Time (Private Session)

Phantastic Sound and the Topos of Noise

Saturday May 6-- 10 am Pacific Time (Public Session)

Phantastic Sound and the Topos of Noise


Wilkins_topos of noise_preprint copy
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friston2014the brain as a phantastic organ
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Perceptual Coherence Hearing and Seeing by Stephen Handel (
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This workshop focuses on the synthetic or phantastic constitution of (auditory) perception and the significance of the concept of noise for cognition and computation. The concept of noise was massively transformed in the twentieth century with the advent of information theory, cybernetics, and computer science, all of which provide formal accounts of information and noise centrally concerned with contingency. This image of thought is also linked to a form of power, which has shifted from a model based on robustness to noise to one that is resilient to noise. We will see how the concept has changed from these classical formulations, through developments in mathematics (topology and topos theory), computing (interactive computing and univalent foundations), and cognitive science, (predictive processing and cognitive morphodynamics). I will explain cognition-perception-action as a multi-level multi-scale context-relative computational process directed towards the predictive abstraction of meaningful structure from noise, where the latter distinction is in constant question, and where deviation from expectation is the crucial driver of model adjustments. This involves some discussion of the dispute between computationalist and dynamicist or ecological models of perception over the nature of representation. It also concerns phenomenology, and here we move from Husserl, via Merleau-Ponty and Petitot, toward a computational description of the subjective phenomenological perspective. We then draw on Metzinger’s neurophenomenogical account of the self-model, and conclude by presenting Catren’s phenoumenology, Badiou’s objective phenomenology, and the use that is made of it in the Atlas of Experimental Politics. Ultimately I argue for the central importance of noise not only within a topological conception of cognition and computation, but also in the collective transcendental-empirical torsion of image schemata and the social interactive elaboration of freedom. Art and music clearly play an important role in this collective process, and I will try to show how the conceptual framework presented is fruitful for the analysis of the work of several contemporary musicians.

About the Author:

Inigo Wilkins is a philosopher working across many disciplines. He is co-director of the online journal Glass Bead, his forthcoming book is called Irreversible Noise (Urbanomic), and he has published work in Construction Site for Possible Worlds, Litteraria Pragensia, Mute Magazine, Zweikommasieben and HFT Review.

Further reading:

Stephen Handel - Perceptual Coherence. Hearing and Seeing. pp.3-25 J. Petitot et al. (eds.), Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999).pp. 1-80 Friston KJ, Stephan KE, Montague R, Dolan RJ. (2014) Computational psychiatry: the brain as a phantastic organ. Lancet Psychiatry. Jul;1(2):148-58. Wiese, W. & Metzinger T. (2017). Vanilla PP for Philosophers: A Primer on Predictive Processing. In Metzinger, T. & Wiese, W. (Eds.) (2017) Philosophy and Predictive Processing. MIND Group, Frankfurt am Main. pp.8-25

Subset of Theoretical Practice (Activist Group whose members include Allan M. Hillani, Gabriel Tupinambá, J.- P. Caron, J. Millie, Maikel da Silveira, Rafael Pedroso, Rafael Saldanha, Reza Naderi, Renzo Barbe, Tiago Guidi, Yasha Shulkin and Yuan Yao.) Atlas of Experimental Politics. ŠUM #17, 2022. articles/atlas-of-experimental-politic pp.2311-2322

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Naturalizing phenomenology issues in contemporary phenomenology and cognitive science by J
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Logics of Worlds (Being and Event, 2) (Alain Badiou) (
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