le Foucaldien 6 (1):1-43 (2020)

Virgil W. Brower
Charles University, Prague
This article investigates religious ideals persistent in the datafication of information society. Its nodal point is Thomas Bayes, after whom Laplace names the primal probability algorithm. It reconsiders their mathematical innovations with Laplace's providential deism and Bayes' singular theological treatise. Conceptions of divine justice one finds among probability theorists play no small part in the algorithmic data-mining and microtargeting of Cambridge Analytica. Theological traces within mathematical computation are emphasized as the vantage over large numbers shifts to weights beyond enumeration in probability theory. Collateral secularizations of predestination and theodicy emerge as probability optimizes into Bayesian prediction and machine learning. The paper revisits the semiotics and theism of Peirce and a given beyond the probable in Whitehead to recontextualize the critiques of providence by Agamben and Foucault. It reconsiders datafication problems alongside Nietzschean valuations. Religiosity likely remains encoded within the very algorithms presumed purified by technoscientific secularity or mathematical dispassion.
Keywords political theology  machine learning  probability  justice  government  microtargeting  theodicy  theogony  deism  mathematics  disenchantment
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.Nick Bostrom (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
A Treatise on Probability.John Maynard Keynes - 1921 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.Michel Foucault - 1978 - In John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.), Nietzsche. Oxford University Press. pp. (139-164).

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Machine-Believers Learning Faiths & Knowledges: The New Gospel of Artificial Intelligence.Virgil W. Brower - 2021 - Internationales Jahrbuch Für Medienphilosophie 7 (1):97-121.
Techno-Telepathy & Silent Subvocal Speech-Recognition Robotics.Virgil W. Brower - 2021 - HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 10 (1):232-257.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Democratizing Algorithmic Fairness.Pak-Hang Wong - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):225-244.
On Learning Several Simultaneous Probability-Learning Problems.James R. Erickson - 1966 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 72 (2):182.
Theological Themes in Ricardo’s Papers and Correspondence.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 2017 - European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 24 (4):784-808.
Some Model Theory For Probability Structures.George Georgescu - 2001 - Reports on Mathematical Logic:103-113.
Jesuit Probabilistic Logic Between Scholastic and Academic Philosophy.Miroslav Hanke - 2019 - History and Philosophy of Logic 40 (4):355-373.


Added to PP index

Total views
253 ( #42,576 of 2,499,007 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
93 ( #7,757 of 2,499,007 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes