Category Archives: Event

A week around Brian Cantwell Smith: Morgenstern Colloquium + Workshop at MSHS

We have the great honor to welcome Brian Cantwell Smith who will deliver a Morgenstern Colloquium at Inria Sophia Antipolis (Dec. 8th) and participate in a workshop at MSHS Nice (Dec. 13th).

Morgenstern Colloquium:

Summary: : Much of the technical terminology of computer science betrays its logical heritage: ‘language’, ‘symbol’, ‘syntax’, ‘semantics’, ‘value’, ‘reference’, ‘identifier’, ‘data’, etc. Classically, such terms were used to name essential phenomena underlying logic, human thought and language — phenomena, it was widely believed, that would never succumb to scientific (causal, mechanical) explanation. Computer science, however, now uses all these terms in perfectly good scientific ways, to name respectable scientific (causally explicable, mathematically modellable) phenomena.

There are two possibilities. The first is that computer science has given us a scientific understanding the fundamental mysteries of language, logic, and mind. The second is that computer science has redefined these words, so that, although they have been brought into the realm of the scientific, they no longer refer to what they used to refer to. Most people believe the former. I will argue for the latter: that, for reasons traceable back to Turing’s 1936-7 paper, computer science has redefined these terms in such a way as to “disappear” much of what is fundamental to the human condition: language’s long-distance reach, the “non-effectiveness” of truth and reference, thought’s normative deference to the world.

The result, I believe, not only challenges prospects for Artificial Intelligence and cognitive science, but also limits our ability to understand data bases, knowledge representation, even programs. It also hinders communication, because overlapping technical vocabulary means different things in different communities. Most seriously, it undermines our ability to talk about the most fundamental aspects of semantic or symbolic systems.

Where and When: The Colloquium will take place in the amphitheater Morgenstern, building Kahn, in the Inria Center of Sophia Antipolis, December 8th at 11:00.

Seminar at MSHS:

As part of its running seminar (MSHS/ GREDEG/ INRIA-I3S wimmics) about « Digital artifacts and materialities », we have the great honor to welcome Brian Cantwell Smith (University of Toronto).

Where and When: The seminar will take place on Tuesday, December 13th, 14:00 – 17:00, room 129, MSHS, Nice. Alexandre Monnin will introduce Brian Cantwell Smith’s work before a discussion with the latter.


Brian Cantwell Smith is Professor of Information, Philosophy, and Computer Science at the University of Toronto. His primary appointment is in the Faculty of Information, where he served as Dean from 2003-2008, and where he held a Canada Research Chair in the Foundations of Information. He also teaches in the University’s Cognitive Science Program and Philosophy Department, is a senior fellow at Massey College, and is a member of the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Dr. Smith received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. In the 1980s and 1990s he held senior research and administrative positions at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) in California, was an adjunct professor in the Philosophy and Computer Science departments at Stanford University, was a founder and principal investigator of the Stanford-based Centre for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), and was a founder and first President of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). In 1996 he moved to the Indiana University at Bloomington as professor of cognitive science, computer science, philosophy, and informatics, where he was also a fellow of the Center for Social Informatics in the School of Library and Information Sciences. From 2001 to 2003 he held the Kimberly J. Jenkins University Professorship of Philosophy and New Technologies at Duke University, with appointments in Philosophy and Computer Science.

In the 1980s Dr. Smith developed the world’s first reflective programming language (3-Lisp). His present research focuses on the conceptual foundations of computation and information, and on new forms of metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology. He is the author of On the Origin of Objects (MIT, 1996). Two volumes of papers, entitled Indiscrete Affairs, are forthcoming; a multi-volume series entitled The Age of Significance: An Essay on the Origins of Computation and Intentionality is also in preparation.

His work made him have discussions with thinkers from various fields and schools: logic, analytic philosophy, STS (Science and Technology Studies) leading to a unique synthesis up to this day. At the very beginning of the 1990s he was part of an informal with Adam Lowe, Adrian Cussins and Bruno Latour which publish a small book, Registration Marks: Metaphors for Subobjectivity (currently translated in French by Alexandre Monnin). His work represents the first ontological turn of STS, well before the recent debates over the so-called object-oriented ontologies or the speculative realism.

Extending Cognition Through Gestures and Artefacts, Michael Wheeler et David Kirsh (MSHS de Nice)

J’ai le plaisir de vous signaler la tenue de la quatrième séance du cycle « Artefacts numériques et matérialités », le jeudi 24 Mars prochain, de 10h à 17h (Salle plate, MSHS Sud-Est à Nice).

Cette séance, intitulée « Extending Cognition Through Gestures and Artefacts », réunira Michael Wheeler et David Kirsh.

Programme :

  • 10h-12h : Michael Wheeler (Stirling University),
    « The Knowledge Ecology: Epistemic Credit and the Technologically Extended Mind »
  • 14h-16h : David Kirsh (University of California, San Diego),
    « Thinking with Our Body and Other Things »
  • 16h-17h: Discussion and perspectives

Ce séminaire est coorganisé par :
Lise Arena (Sciences de Gestion, GREDEG/MSHS),
Bernard Conein (Sociologie, GREDEG/MSHS)
Alexandre Monnin (Philosophie, INRIA-I3S, équipe Wimmics)

Vous trouverez le programme détaillé ci-dessous.

Au plaisir de vous y croiser !

Programme détaillé :

  • 10h-12h : Michael Wheeler (Stirling University),
    « The Knowledge Ecology: Epistemic Credit and the Technologically Extended Mind »
  • Résumé :

    Knowledge is often thought of as residing within the heads of individual human beings. This ‘internalist’ account of knowledge has been challenged recently by some fans of the hypothesis of the extended cognition (ExC). According to ExC, the physical machinery of mind is sometimes distributed over brain, body and world. In other words, sometimes, your smartphone really is part of your mental machinery, along with your brain. Building on ExC, advocates of extended knowledge hold that knowing is, sometimes, a technologically extended cognitive state. In the extended knowledge literature, it has been argued that, if ExC is true, then one currently popular philosophical view about knowledge – namely that knowledge is believing the truth because of the correct application of one’s cognitive abilities – is false. More specifically, the claim has been made that, in cases of technologically extended cognition, someone can have knowledge, even though she does not deserve epistemic credit for truly believing as she does. I shall argue that this claim should be rejected. The principal interest of my argument, however, will not be in this rejection of a particular philosophical claim, which, in itself, is a result of somewhat limited consequence, but rather in what that rejection tells us about what knowledge is, and
    about who has it, in an increasingly wired, wireless, and technologically enhanced world.

    Biographie :

    Michael Wheeler is Prof. of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. Prior to joining the Stirling Department in 2004, he held teaching and research posts at the Universities of Dundee, Oxford, and Stirling (a previous appointment). His doctoral work was carried out at the University of Sussex. His primary research interests are in philosophy of science (especially cognitive science, psychology, biology, artificial intelligence and artificial life) and philosophy of mind. He also works on Heidegger. His book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step, was published by MIT Press in 2005. His current research is focussed on: (1) the nature and plausibility of the extended mind hypothesis; and (2) the relationship between phenomenology and naturalism, especially in the context of cognitive science.

  • 14h-16h : David Kirsh (University of California, San Diego),
    « Thinking with Our Body and Other Things »
  • Résumé :

    Where does thought, creativity and understanding come from? For the past six years I have been studying the creative practice of a super expert choreographer. I have also been studying problem solving, design thinking and new approaches to situated cognition. A common element running through these studies is that in natural contexts people use resources of all sorts to think with. They use their bodies, their gestures, instruments, tools, representations and everyday objects. The simple thesis I advance is that people often think their ideas through by modeling them. The models they create are partial and personal. Sometimes these models are encoded in recognized forms: words, drawings, writing. But often people use their body to create a partial model of the thing they are trying to understand. For instance, when thinking through the structure of a movement, dancers will usually ‘mark’ the movement rather than dance it full out. Marking is a movement reduction system like gesturing. This external modeling is itself a form of thinking because it is directed, interactive and representational. It should be regarded as much a part of
    thought as other expressive modalities, such as speaking, writing or drawing, all usually recognized as enactions or encodings of thought. To defend this view I describe how thought often relies on active perception enhanced by mental projection. Because interacting with things, including moving our bodies, can improve projection it forms part of an interactive strategy for thinking. This explains how we can harness the analog computation performed by moving objects to share the computational effort of thought, and so keep thought moving forward.

    Biographie :

    Dr. David Kirsh, Professor/past chair of the Dept. of Cognitive Science/UCSD, received a D. Phil.(Oxford), did post-doctoral work at MIT (AI Lab), held research positions at MIT and Stanford, Bartlett School of Architecture UCL and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He has written on situated and embodied cognition, how environments can be shaped to simplify/extend cognition, and how space, external representations, our bodies and even manipulable objects become interactive tools for thought. He is co-Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for
    Human Imagination and on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

  • 16h-17h, Discussions et perspectives

3e séance du séminaire « Artefacts numériques et matérialités » : « Travail, données, œuvres : de l’art contemporain à l’open data, quelques trajets d’instauration équipés », Alexandre Monnin et Jérôme Denis

3e séminaire « Artefacts numériques et matérialités »

                   « Travail, données, œuvres :                          De l’art contemporain à l’open data,
quelques trajets d’instauration équipés »


Mercredi 17 février 14h30, MSHS,                                                                        et Jeudi 18 février 10h00, I3S, Salle du Conseil

Co-organisé par

Lise Arena (Sciences de Gestion, GREDEG/MSHS),
Bernard Conein (Sociologie, GREDEG/MSHS)
Alexandre Monnin (Philosophie du Web, INRIA-I3S, équipe Wimmics)

Mercredi 17 février, 14h30, salle 129, MSHS

Alexandre Monnin (INRIA-I3S, équipe wimmics) (avec la participation de Jérôme Denis) : Re-Source : une archive en temps réel pour outiller et saisir l’instauration des œuvres d’art (contemporaines) en train de se faire.
Résumé : Lafayette Anticipation Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, jeune institution du monde de l’art contemporain, a lancé plusieurs chantiers en prélude à son ouverture au grand public courant 2017. Le premier est architectural, au sens classique du terme. Il comprend la réhabilitation d’un bâtiment imaginé par Rem Koolhaas et ses équipes en plein centre de Paris. Le second, baptisé R,e-Source, dont j’ai la charge depuis 2014, constitue le pendant numérique du premier. Il n’en demeure pas moins architectural lui aussi, visant la réalisation d’une plate-forme d’archivage sémantique en temps réel, véritable prolongement de la Fondation, outillant les diverses activités de ses membres. Au centre de leurs activités, justement, figurent la production et l’accompagnement des œuvres comme des artistes, véritables finalités de cette institution. L’archivage des tâches de suivi accomplies au quotidien par les équipes de la Fondation doit livrer une vue inédite sur la production, y compris ses aspects les plus matériels, et permettre d’en partager les fruits en interne (sur un mode réflexif), auprès des artistes (sur le mode de la négociation) mais aussi du grand public (en rendant palpables les critères de félicité attachés aux œuvres singulières) ; production et publication formant désormais un tissu sans couture. Aussi le travail réalisé sur Re-Source s’inspire-t-il de plusieurs courants académiques, en particulier dans le champs des Science and Technology Studies : ethnographies de laboratoires (Latour, Knorr Cettina, Lynch), du travail caché (Susan Leigh Star) mais aussi cartographie des controverses. L’analyse du travail et des activités déployés au sein de la Fondation s’appuie d’ailleurs sur une ethnographie réalisée en 2015 par Jérôme Denis dans la cadre d’un partenariat avec Télécom ParisTech.

Re-Source a pour ambition de jeter un regard inédit sur l’art contemporain dont l’essentiel n’est toutefois pas la transparence mais bien l’appui conféré aux artistes et aux œuvres, ce qui exige, comme l’ont montré les retours des artistes associés au projet, la mise en place d’une dialectique subtile associant la mise en visibilité et l’invisibilisation des coulisses de l’activité artistique (interrogeant de facto le type d’énonciation propre à cette activité). Sur le fond, loin de réduire les œuvres à des projets ou des processus, Re-Source entend s’inspirer de la philosophie de l’instauration d’Etienne Souriau (Souriau 1956, “Du mode d’existence de l’œuvre à faire”, Hennion et Monnin 2015, “Sous la dictée de l’ange, Enquêter sous le signe d’Etienne Souriau”) et lui donner corps , tout en soulignant, au-delà de Souriau lui-même, l’importance d’une prise en compte du caractère distribué de l’agentivité qui préside à l’instauration artistique pour suivre et donner à voir, à partir du recueil de traces et de leur mise en données, la trajectoire d’œuvres en train de se faire mais aussi les bifurcations qui les traversent et les exigences dont elles témoignent. En d’autres termes, il s’agit de mettre en place les conditions propices à un fonctionnement “responsable” (Antoine Hennion) de l’art.

Jeudi 18 février, 10h00, Salle du conseil, I3S

Jérôme Denis (Sociologie, Télécom ParisTech): “Façonner les données. Travail et valeurs de l’information”
En 2009, dans une allocution qui a fait date, Tim Be rners-Lee a fait scander par le public de sa célèbre conférence TED « We want raw data! » En quelques années,  les données se sont retrouvées au cœur de la vie publique. Ouvertes et/ou massives,
présentées comme des ressources naturelles, elles sont rarement questionnées en tant que telles, mais toujours au nom des révolutions politiques, scientifiques et économiques que leurs usages et leurs traitements permettraient. Dans cette présentation, je reviendrai sur les différents postulats de cette euphorie contemporaine, et je montrerai à partir d’un rapide retour historique et de deux études de cas (l’une sur l’open data, l’autre sur la production de données de cyclabilité) l’intérêt de questionner le travail qui préside à l’existence même des données ainsi que les formes de son invisibilisation.