Doyle raises many interesting, and disturbing questions by rethinking identity, thought, meaning, and vitality along trajectories begun by Deleuze, Guattari, and Derrida. Where is life if it is not in here? Where is thought if it's not up here?

In his examples, he shows how there is a sort of struggling with a future that can't be known, but is still 'felt', and all the things that go into that feeling.

I'm not sure what else I can write. My copy of the book was abducted late at night, so I'm left with a few notes that were typed in at times that I could stop reading.

"Technoscience, too, engages in such a struggle or a grapple - it is seduced by all that exceeds it: "science cannot avoid experiencing a profound attraction for the chaos with which it battles." Sometimes this battle - rather than a war - involves a similar slashing tactic - a cut that connects, a rendering indiscernible between science and fiction, science/fiction. Practices of chaosmosis - a welcoming neither foreseen nor preconceived - enable both ruptures and connections through which transformative networks of technoscience and wetwares sometimes emerge." (17)

"Biological bodies, then, even as they are networked and even imploded by information, become occasions not just for the astonishing connections of a so-called biological multiplicity and its alterities. They also reek of rhizomatic entaglements with capital, the massive and material exteriority of this technological déjà vu, hurtling toward Disneyland." (99)

This book made me think of a few things.

First, it took me back to Google.

"[We] get the sense that indeed anything could be alive. This is the first element I'll assay in the ribotype of artificial life, a rhetorical ensemble that smears the borders between the computer and its environment, what we could call a silicon abduction." (24)

I think Doyle's discussion of alife can be extended to Google. There is a kind of sexual selection that goes on with the search engine. Many people, myself included, go there to find facts, or at least what the majority of pages indexed indicate as facts. But it is as much about what gives off the right signals, or contains the most attractive keywords. Facts as they exist on the network are sort of like the lively bits of alife. They become truth because they've got a seductive quality to them. Moreover, the solidity of the fact could be said to depend on how far out it spreads. Its status as fact depends on the density of the interconnections between nodes on the network.

The second thing is abduction.

"Let us now go further and see what happens if, from the deduction AAA-1, we form a new argument by interchanging the conclusion (the Result) with the minor premise (the Case). The resultant argument becomes: All M's are P's (Rule); All S's are P's (Result); therefore, All S's are M's (Case). This is the invalid syllogism AAA-2. But let us now regard it as pertaining to sampling theory. The argument becomes: All balls in this urn are red; All balls in this particular random sample are red; therefore, All balls in this particular random sample are taken from this urn. What we have here is nothing at all like an argument from population to sample or an argument from sample to population: it is a form of probable argument entirely different from both deduction and induction. This new type of argument Peirce called abduction (also, retroduction, and also, hypothesis)."
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce/#dia

"Truly an abductive enterprise, alife continually seeks confirmation in a practice that is yet to come - the translation of alife is lively, an understanding of the formal nature of life, life-as-we-know-it within the context of life-as-it-could-be." (34)

"Getting into the wrong hands, abduction becomes something other than its genealogy would suggest, a technology of identity that emerges out of an encounter with the unthinkable, a shattering of thought that disables the reproduction of any interiorized identity." (215)

The ways that Doyle uses it make abduction both something that creates identity in relation to the unknown, and that disrupts identity through an encounter with the unknown.

Hopefully, more will come to me when I get the book back.


And if we are permitted to talk about things 'outside' the text: why are the beginnings of paragraphs indented so far? And what are the line and dot that mark the divisions between only some of the chapters?