the sentiment of uncanniness

“Stibitz [reacting to Wiener’s anti-aircraft predictor] invokes the term uncanny at just the moment – 1 July 1942 – when Wiener’s machine began predicting as if it were animated […] One is reminded here of Stanley Cavell’s reflection that Freud, in his essay on the uncanny, may be protesting too much when he claims (no less than four times) that the animate / inanimate conflation does not lie behind the uncanny. For Cavell, the uncanny reflects precisely the philosophical anxiety exacerbated by the ambiguity created when it is unclear whether a mind or merely an inanimate object is at hand. The sentiment of uncanniness resulting from such an ambiguity is therefore tied to the philosophical problem of other minds”  (Galison 1994: 243n).

Peter Galison 1994 ‘The ontology of the enemy: Norbert Wiener and the cybernetic vision’, Critical Inquiry 21, 228-266.

Stanley Cavell 1988 ‘The uncanniness of the ordinary’ in Quest of the Ordinary: lines of skepticism and belief, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 153-178.