Kristupas Sabolius. The Technics of Compossibility

In recent years, there has been an on-going discussion about the versions of AI that were granted the capacity to imagine. Google’s machine-learning research team DeepMind described techniques for improving deep reinforcement learning through what can generously be described as imaginative planning. They claim that their algorithms can be trained and “benefit from model-based imagination without the pitfalls of conventional model-based planning” (Weber et al. 2017). This stance, by propagating the idea of digitalized possibilities, intrinsically conceives the problem of creation in the light of what can be philosophically reformulated as “computable potentiality” –an idea that is based on the classical belief in the correspondence between dynamis and energeia and is centered around the problem of individual.

In consideration of these discussions, the concept of compossibility will be proposed as an alternative option to think about creation in terms of relational interaction. Although compossibility is best known for its importance in Leibniz’s philosophy – where compossibilities could be conceived as “the possibility of togetherness” – its intriguing but not sufficiently analyzed role can be found in Gilbert Simondon’s publication In Imagination and Invention. In this text, the idea of compossibility describes the disposition of a living being to include otherness and open up for a co-creation of shared milieus. In my talk, I will provide both an analysis of the concept of compossibility and its re-elaboration in the context of the more-than human project.

Dr. Kristupas Sabolius is a professor of philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of Vilnius University in Lithuania, and research affiliate at MIT (Climate Visions). His recent publications include Swamps and the New Imagina- tion. On the Future of Cohabitation in Art, Architecture, and Philosophy (MIT Press and Sternberg Press, 2020), Matter and Imagination. Hybrid Creativity between Science and Art (editor, Vilnius University Press, 2018), Proteus and the Radical Imaginary (Bunkier Sztuki, CAC, 2015), and The Imaginary (Vilnius University Press, 2013).