Mesolithic Capitalism: Language, Meaning and State Machines.
Greg Michaelson (Heriot Watt University)

part of: School of Materialist Research (Online Promotional Seminars, May)—All lectures will take place at 18:30 CET
May 22, 2021, 10:30am - 12:00pm

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  • Center for Philosophical Technologies, Arizona State University
  • Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje
  • Department for Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics at TU Wien

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The School of Materialist Research is proud to present the second of its (free) promotional lectures, which will last through May and June. Our second  lecture, which will take place on May 22, 2021, at 18:30 CET, and is part of a cluster called “Materialism and Mathematics” is by Greg Michaelson, entitled “Mesolithic Capitalism: Language, Meaning and State Machines.” It discusses how state machines, derived from formal linguistics and computability theory, may be deployed to account for semantics, in interaction between bounded stateful entities, in a shared bounded stateful environment. The talk is driven by a simple language game, where a capitalist and a worker interact in the extraction of surplus value, in the production and consumption of shellfish.

Greg Michaelson is a Computer Scientist, who has published widely on the design, implementation and analysis of programming languages, and, most recently, on how people solve problems to write programs. With others, principally Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell, he has explored the concrete modelling of actually existing economies in value categories, and the implications of the formal limits of computability theory. Now Emeritus Professor at Heriot Watt University, he is currently investigating why Marxists turned their backs on formal logic, and hence computability, until well after the Second World War, and the construction of popular ideas about prehistory. Greg is interested in how things aren’t and how they might be. He likes to write fiction, play the mouth organ, and stand on picket lines, though not usually all at the same time.

The School of Materialist Research (SMR) is an informal graduate and post-doc level program that offers seminars and workshops that address the materialisms running through contemporary science, philosophy, art, mathematics, design, architecture, and politics. SMR is an international platform, founded by the Center for Philosophical Technologies at Arizona State University, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje and Department for Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics at TU Wien that functions as a global online school combining education, research, and mentorship to advance academic study at the intersection the Social Sciences and Humanities and the STEM sciences. Two more institutions from Europe are expected to join the platform in the upcoming months. The Spring and Summer Sessions are offered for free and open to the public serving as promotional events that illustrate the programmatic commitment and style of work offered by the School for Materialist Research. Some of the confirmed speakers in the Spring/Summer series of seminars include: Paul Cockshott, Greg Michaelson, Ray Brassier, Anne-Françoise Schmid, John Ó Maoilearca, Guiseppe Longo, Agon Hamza, Adam Nocek, Katerina Kolozova, Vera Buhlman, Iris van der Tuin and many many more.

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