Rowman and Littlefield International

War and Algorithm

By Max Liljefors, Gregor Noll, Daniel Steuer, Allen Feldman, Howard Caygill, and Sara Kendall

4 Reviews

This book looks at the changing forms of violence and likely consequences of a fully digitalized world.

Paperback ISBN: 9781786613646 Release date: Oct 2019
£27.00 €33.95 $34.95
Hardback ISBN: 9781786613653 Release date: Oct 2019
£92.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786613660 Release date: Oct 2019
£22.95 €32.95 $33.00

Pages: 242


New military technologies are animated by fantasies of perfect knowledge, lawfulness, and vision that contrast sharply with the very real limits of human understanding, law, and vision. Thus, various kinds of violent acts are proliferating while their precise nature remains unclear. Especially man–machine ensembles, guided by algorithms, are operating in ways that challenge conceptual understanding.

War and Algorithm looks at the increasing power of algorithms in these emerging forms of warfare from the perspectives of critical theory, philosophy, legal studies, and visual studies. The contributions in this volume grapple with the challenges posed by algorithmic warfare and trace the roots of new forms of war in the technological practices and forms of representation of the digital age. Together, these contributions provide a first step toward understanding—and resisting—our emerging world of war.


1. Introduction: Our Emerging World of War
Max Liljefors, Gregor Noll and Daniel Steuer

2. Prolegomena to Any Future Attempt at Understanding Our Emerging World of War
Daniel Steuer

3. Anthropokenosis and the Emerging World of War
Howard Caygill

4. War by Algorithm: The End of Law?
Gregor Noll

5. Law’s Ends: On Algorithmic Warfare and Humanitarian Violence
Sara Kendall

6. Omnivoyance and Blindness
Max Liljefors

7. Of the Pointless View: From the Ecotechnology to the Echotheology of Omnivoyant War
Allen Feldman

8. Visions
Max Liljefors, Gregor Noll and Daniel Steuer


About the Authors


Max Liljefors is a Professor in the Division of Art History and Visual Studies, Lund University.

Gregor Noll is a Professor in the Department of Law, University of Gothenburg.

Daniel Steuer is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, University of Brighton.

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4 Reviews

This very powerful and disturbing book opens up a host of deeply problematic interconnections between humans and machines, war and climate catastrophe, formal and informal warfare, law and vision and blindness. The authors and commentators, who have coordinated their work over some considerable time, bring an exceptionally original and complementary set of approaches to their topic. To speak of ‘impact’ would be crass, but this major contribution to social theory deserves to attract a good deal of attention.

William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University, UK

Engaging the reader in a tripartite critical conversation organized into closely-knit, yet individually rich, movements, War and Algorithm is a must-read for anyone looking for an unflinching interrogation of the urgent questions raised by the transforming relationship between technology and violence.

Øyvind Vågnes, Professor in the Department of Information and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

How should we think about the rise of intelligent machines as instruments, weapons, or perhaps even agents of warfare? The authors of this vital collection insist that this is not a question that should be left to military officials, defence analysts, or humanitarian lawyers making decisions in the fog of war. By staging a conversation between philosophers, jurists, art historians, and cultural theorists, the authors attempt to make visible what we cannot yet see about the future of warfare that is emerging, to trace the material and spiritual investments that are being made to bring it about, and in so doing to humanize the implacable move to war that seems to be accelerating within our institutions and beyond our control. Part philosophical meditation, part jurisprudential speculation, part reflection on visual history, this volume makes a major contribution to reframing the urgently needed public debate about our emerging world of war.

Anne Orford, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Melbourne Law School, Australia

This is a remarkable book, speculative and unruly in the best possible meanings of these terms: highly informed scholars spanning the fields of philosophy, law and art history searching for new grounds of resistance in the face of weaponized algorithmic systems where artificial agents and human agents have started to bleed into each other.

Aud Sissel Hoel, Associate Professor of Media Aesthetics at University of Oslo, Norway

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