Computation is largely treated today as the procedure to »mechanize« »logics«. Our interest with aprojective theory on technology is not to reject (negate) or affirm (analyse) the assumptions involved, but to sort them out strategically. Our interest is to complement the scientistic paradigm of »control« for theorizing technology with a humanistic dimension of ability and artistic mastership. This interest has a long tradition in philosophy, and crystallizes in the so-called Master Argument. The Master Argument regards the possibility if and how we can meaningfully and methodically involve temporalityand self-referentiality into logical/formal considerations. The inferential structure of the Master Argument has first been articulated by Diodorus Cronus in the 3rd century BC, and tries to formalize a paradox which has preoccupied all the main steps of development in systematical thought ever since. This is why the many attempts to formalize this paradox provide, for our projective theory interest, a rich and differentiated reflecting surface that allows to investigate, comparatistically, how these questions have been treated over time.
While the philosophical interest in the Master Argument was mainly in questions of legitimation and foundation, our interest in it is operational. We will not take, allegorically speaking, the position of the Despotic Priest, the Philosopher King, the Statesman or the Assigned Administrator, but that of the Symbolical Metallurgist. In short: we will seek to extract from the Master Argument and its history a template that allows us to cultive computing as an ability, namely the template of a mechanism for learning how to learn when being equiped with the generic methods of algebra.
We will read Jules Vuillemin‘s book Necessity and Contingency, The Master Argument (Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University Press 1996). The historical account he gives is framed by the rôle of probabilistics for Information Science and Computing, and thereby especially relevant.