Lecture Series

25 November 2022


Leibniz' Teleology,
Or A Pre-history of Cybernetics


media lab

My research on Leibniz aims at developing cybernetician Norbert Wiener’s suggestion that Leibniz should be considered a proto-cybernetic thinker. Leibniz’ attempt to recognize the importance of automation on the levels of epistemology and ontology disentangles his philosophy from the rationalistic tradition. In turn, the cybernetic automation of teleological machines casts light on the theory of monads, in which both mechanism and vitalism are overcome by auto-poietic teleology. From this perspective, Leibniz becomes a pathfinder not only of cybernetics but also of connectionism, systems theory, and organology.

Brunella Antomarini teaches Aesthetics and Contemporary philosophy at John Cabot University, Rome. She lives in Rome and has a pluri-disciplinary education in contemporary epistemology, aesthetics, anthropology, and post-humanism. Her current research concerns the analysis of the common functions of the organic body and the retroactive machine through an epistemological convergence of different views, such as pragmatism, cybernetics, and systems theory.

Among her recent publications: Le macchine nubili (Castelvecchi, Rome 2020). “The Xenobots as Thought-Experiment: Teleology Within the Paradigm of Natural Selection,” (Studi di Estetica n. 23 (2/2022) Fascicolo Sensibilia 15 Emergence / Emergency). “Contact in Absentia: Toward a Cybertouch,” (in The Covid Spectrum. Theoretical and Experiential Reflections from India and Beyond, edited by K. Mahadevan et al., intro by S. Zizek, New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2021). Peirce and Cybernetics: Retroduction, Error and Auto-Poiesis in Future Thinking. (“Cognitio,” São Paulo, v. 18, n. 2, 2017). The Maiden Machine: Philosophy in the Age of the Unborn Woman (Edgewise, New York 2013); Thinking Through Error. The Moving Target of Knowledge (Lexington Books Lanham 2012).

As a co-editor with Adam Berg, Aesthetics in Present Future. The Arts in the Technological Horizon (Lexington Books, Lanham 2013). La preistoria acustica della poesia (Aragno Editore, Milano 2013); L'errore del maestro. Una lettura laica dei Vangeli (Derive&Approdi, Rome 2006); La percezione della forma. Trascendenza e finitezza in Hans Urs von Balthasar (Aesthetica Edizioni, Palermo 2004). As a co-author with A. Berg, Vladimir D'Amora, Alessandro De Francesco, Miltos Manetas, Haephestus Re-Loaded, (Punctum, LA 2019). She is the editor of Yuk Hui's book Pensare la Contingenza. La rinascita della filosofia dopo la cibernetica (Rome, Castelvecchi, 2022).

About Lecture Series

The Lecture Series is an annual event revolved around a theme curated and presented by Media Lab, inviting scholars and artists from different fields to engage in a dialogue between art, technology, and philosophy to explore critical issues in media studies.