Universität Wien FIND

180028 SE Readings in Political Cybernetics (2022W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 20.10. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Freitag 11.11. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Freitag 25.11. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Freitag 13.01. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 27.01. 13:15 - 17:15 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Cybernetics is both a historical scientific field and a general worldview. Martin Heidegger once famously proclaimed that cybernetics represents the end of philosophy, understood as Western Metaphysics. It is the end of philosophy because metaphysical thinking is overcome by the global technical system in which we live. It therefore encapsulates and influences many aspects of our lives: our work (think of electronic performance management), love life (think of all those dating apps), social life (think of social media), but also, and perhaps foremost, political life. It is even with political life that original cybernetic thinking started, namely in the work by philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, who likened political governance to the steering of a ship, in which the primary role way played by the Kubernetes, the pilot.

This course focuses on the political implications of the cybernetic worldview: how cybernetics informs our thinking about politics, but also how our political systems are shaped by cybernetic principles.

The course focuses on a number of core readings that should give students a comprehensive insight into the topic of political cybernetics. It starts with an exploration of the origins of political cybernetics in political philosophy. Continuing, it looks at a variety of philosophical critiques aimed at evaluating the significance of the cybernetic paradigm. The course then turns to exploring historical examples of cybernetic systems used in governance, such as Cybersyn in Chile. Following this, it looks at how cybernetics has impacted contemporary political and legal philosophy, such as the thought of Carl Schmitt. With this in mind, the course discusses several paradigmatic cybernetic systems that have emerged in the 21st century:

The course uses methods of philosophical reflection, argumentation, empirical and historical research, and political philosophy.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

• 25% of the grade will reflect your attendance. If you attend all the sessions, you will get the full grade for this part.
• 25% of the grade will consist of a presentation of one of the readings, which you will have to prepare with a fellow student. You get the full grade for this part if you:
o Summarize the text in a structured and comprehensive manner.
o Raise at least three well-informed critical points for in-class discussion.
• 25% of the grade will consist of half-term essay on a topic of your choosing. This essay will be max. 2000 words in length, and you get the full grade for this part if you:
o Come up with an original and clear argument to defend.
o Structure the essay in the proper way (with an abstract, introduction, core, and conclusion).
o Use the readings in a convincing way to illustrate or strengthen your argument.
o Find 2-4 additional readings that illuminate parts of your argument.
o Apply proper referencing, with in-line citations and a correctly formatted bibliography.
• 25% of the grade will consist of an end of term essay on a topic of your choosing. This essay will be max. 2000 words, and the criteria for getting the full grade for this part are the same as for the first essay.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

• You will need to attend at least 4 out of the 6 sessions.
• You will need to do the presentation of one of the readings.
• You will need to hand in the two essays.


• The basics of cybernetics
• Cybernetics as a political epistemology and ontology
• Cybernetics and computer science
• Cybernetic governance in Cybersyn
• Soviet experiments in cybernetic governance
• The influence of cybernetics on political theory
• Modern systems for cybernetic governance


The following list is a selection of the readings:
• Winner, L. (1969). Cybernetics and Political Language. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 14(1969), 1–17.
• Pickering, A. (2002). Cybernetics and the Mangle: Ashby, Beer and Pask. Social Studies of Science, 32(3), 413–437. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312702032003003
• Medina, E. (2011). Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile. MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004
• Bates, D. (2020). The political theology of entropy: A Katechon for the cybernetic age. History of the Human Sciences, 33(1), 109–127. https://doi.org/10.1177/0952695119864237
• Reijers, W., Orgad, L., & Filippi, P. de. (2022). The Rise of Cybernetic Citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2022.2077567
• Tiqqun. (2001). The Cybernetic Hypothesis.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Do 29.09.2022 18:28