Aesthesis and Perceptronium: On the Entanglement of Sensation, Cognition, and Matter
Book Launch with the Author Alexander Wilson
In Aesthesis and Perceptronium, Alexander Wilson presents a theory of materialist and posthumanist aesthetics based on the interconnections of experience, cognition, organism, and matter. Negotiating between indiscriminately pluralist views that attribute mental activity to all things, and eliminative views that challenge mentation even in humans, Wilson recasts aesthetic questions within the framework of what he calls “epistemaesthetics” – which regards cognition and aesthetics as belonging to a single category that can neither be fully disentangled nor fully reduced to either of its terms.
Drawing from physics, mathematics, and philosophy, with a particular concern for the evolutionary origins of cognition and its extension in human technology, Wilson reassesses several assumptions central to the new materialisms and realisms. In particular, the book sheds new light on the urgent contemporary questions of human exceptionalism in the age of the Anthropocene, what materialism implies for the relation between reason, knowledge, and sensation, as well as what evolutionary cognition entails for the purviews of science, technology, and art.
The author’s presentation of a short introduction to the book’s concepts will be followed by group discussion.