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Intelligence and Spirit- Reza Negarestani



The history of philosophy conceived as the elaboration of a program for artificial general intelligence; intelligence understood as the impersonal and collective evolution of a thought that constructs itself according to a view from nowhere and nowhen.

In Intelligence and Spirit Reza Negarestani formulates the ultimate form of intelligence as a theoretical and practical thought unfettered by the temporal order of things, a real movement capable of overcoming any state of affairs that, from the perspective of the present, may appear to be the complete totality of its history.

Building on Hegel’s account of geist as a multi-agent conception of mind and Kant’s transcendental psychology as a functional analysis of the conditions of possibility of having mind, Negarestani provides a critique of both classical humanism and dominant trends in posthumanism.

This remarkable fusion of continental philosophy in the form of a renewal of the speculative ambitions of German Idealism, and analytic philosophy in the form of extended thought-experiments and a philosophy of artificial languages, opens up new perspectives on the meaning of human intelligence, and explores the real potential of posthuman intelligence and what it means for us to live in its prehistory.




 1. Between Conception and Transformation 

It Is Only What It Does; Functions and Multi-Level Structural Constraints; Functional Integration: Phases of Geist; Self-Relation: A Function in Progress; Self-Consciousness as Conception and Transformation in an Objective World; A Series of Transformations; History as the Elaboration of What it Means to be an Artefact of the Concept; A Note on Theory, Mind’s Structuring Function, and Ratiocinating Powers; Selves as Functional Items as Artefacts of Mind; The Sapience Controversy; Rational Integration, Judgment, and Generation of Further Abilities; Historical Awareness as an Essential Constructive and Critical Ability; The Dasein of Geist; The Necessary and Sufficient Links Between Conception and Transformation; Geist at the Edge of Intelligibility

 2. An Outside View of Ourselves as Experimental AGI (Problems, Concepts, and Models) 

Climbing with Language; Beyond Extreme Scenarios; Hard vs. Soft Parochialism; An Outside View of Ourselves as a Toy Model AGI; Formalizing a Big Toy Universe

 3. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Forms of Intuition) 

A Toy Universe of an Embodied Automaton; The Virtuous Circle of Analogy; The Automaton’s Story, a Thought Experiment; Constructing a Lego Model in the Style of Kant’s Threefold Synthesis; A Digression On Modelling Figurative Syntheses; Seeing(1) With the Automaton; Getting Stuff In Perspective; The Automaton’s Temporal Perspectival Awareness; Time and Memory

 4. Some Unsettling Kantian News as Delivered by Boltzmann (An Excursion Into Time) 

Freezing the Flux; Boltzmann’s Copernican Shakedown of the Time-Conscious Subject; Inductive Dogmas and Cognitive Biases of Time-Asymmetry; What Now?; Metaphysics of Time as Logic of Spirit; Time, Reality and The View From Nowhen

 5. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Objectivity and Thought) 

Ascent to the Infantile; Infant AGI; As If Raising a Child; Global Pedagogical Project

 6. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Dasein of Geist) 

Realization of Language; Pictures, Signs and Symbols; Sign-Vehicles and Symbol-Design; An Acoustic Experiment in the Production of Symbols; Generative Processes and The Hierarchy of Syntactic Complexity; Base Syntactic Abilities

 7. This I, or We or It, the Thing, Which Speaks (Language as Interaction as Computation) 

The Pragmatic Interface; Enter the Copycat: Interaction as Game as Computation; From Semantics of Interaction to Interaction as the Game of Semantics; Keep It in Focus: A Dialogue in Eight Acts; Formalism and the Pure Autonomy of the Formal; Logic as an Organon and as World-building; Dogmas of the Experiential; Upward to the Semantic Heavens; Machines Unboxed

 8. Philosophy of Intelligence 

Datum 1. We Exercise; Datum 2. Philosophy, The Way of World-building; Datum 3. Actualizing the Possibility of Thinking; Datum 4. Navigating Thought's Ramified Paths; Datum 5. Thought and The Artefact; Datum 6. Philosophy as an Archimedean Lever for Lifting Intelligence and Moving the World; Datum 7. Crafting the Ultimate Form; Datum 8. The Yearning for the Better; Datum 9. Intelligence as Risk and Time; Datum 10. A View From Nowhere and Nowhen, or Philosophy as Intelligence and Time

 Appendix: Quandaries of Induction in Philosophy of Knowledge, Philosophy of Mind, and Artificial Intelligence

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