Digital Semiotics: German Idealism, Cybernetics, and the Sign

Digital machines are sign-making machines. This basic fact was known – and crucial – to the first generation of computer architects, who often tied their work to a philosophical trajectory from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz to Charles Sanders Peirce. This talk traces the semiotic origins of digital technologies and its consequences for what Max Bense, the most important semiotician of the digital, called “information aesthetics,” aiming to lay the groundwork for a theory of the digital.

Leif Weatherby is Associate Professor of German at NYU and the author of Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ: German Romanticism between Leibniz and Marx (Fordham 2016).

Sponsored by the Florence Green Bixby Chair, and the Rachael Anderson Stageberg Chair, and the Berkeley English 18th Century and Romanticism Colloquium

 Andrew Barbour,; Catherine Sulpizio,