In this groundbreaking new book, Manuel Delanda analyzes all the different genres of simulation (from cellular automata and genetic algorithms to neural nets and multi-agent systems) as a means to conceptualize the possibility spaces associated with causal (and other) capacities. Simulations allow us to stage actual interactions among a population of agents and to observe the emergent wholes that result from those interactions. Simulations have become as important as mathematical models in theoretical science. As computer power and memory have become cheaper they have migrated to the desktop, where they now play the role that small-scale experiments used to play. A philosophical examination of the epistemology of simulations is needed to cement this new role, underlining the consequences that simulations may have for materialist philosophy itself. This remarkably clear philosophical discussion of a rapidly growing field, from a thinker at the forefront of research at the interface of science and the humanities, is a must-read for anyone interested in the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of science at all levels.
Manuel DeLanda is a distinguished writer, artist and philosopher. He began his career in experimental film, later becoming a computer artist and programmer. He is now Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is the author of the bestselling books War in the Age of Intelligent Machines and A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History, as well as A New Philosophy of Society and Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, also published by Continuum.
Introduction: Emergence in History; 1. The Storm in the Computer; 2. Cellular Automata and Patterns of Flow; 3. Artificial Chemistries and the Prebiotic Soup; 4. Genetic Algorithms and the Prebiotic Soup; 5. Genetic Algorithms and Ancient Organisms; 6. Neural Nets and Insect Intelligence; 7. Neural Nets and Mammalian Memory; 8. Multiagents and Primate Strategies; 9. Multiagents and Stone Age Economics; 10. Multiagents and Primitive Language; 11. Multiagents and Archaic States; Appendix: Links to Assemblage Theory; Index.