24 Sep 2015

Errant Ontology

Exegesis and Nonhuman Being

In 1974, renowned science fiction writer Philip K. Dick began to experience a series of visions which he attributed to a mysterious entity with qualities that seemed to lie somewhere between the alien and the divine. He would spend the remaining 8 years of his life seeking to explain these encounters, recording his attempts in the collection of writings that eventually stretched to 8,000 pages, and which he came to think of as his ‘Exegesis’.

In this workshop we will take up, through a selection of brief excerpts, a recurring theme of the ‘Exegesis’, that of nonhuman subjectivity. Drawing on ideas from theology, mysticism, psychology, information theory and modern science, Dick engages in a seemingly interminable effort to think the notion of a perceiving, communicating, feeling being that would not be bound to human modes of existence, bodily, psychological or social, thus destabilizing the ontologies of both subject and object. We will attend not only to the ideas and figures that emerge, but to the effects of Dick’s aberrant method – or lack of method – as he tinkers, in a manner Erik Davis has referred to as ‘garage philosophy’, with bits and pieces of ideas snatched from encyclopedias, fiction, and various other readily available sources of information – not the least being his own dreams and visions.


James Burton
Fabienne Collignon
Alexander Dunst

In English

First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Symposium

Becoming Post-Android: Philip K. Dick’s Errant Ontology

The work of Philip K. Dick, best known as a master of ontologically and psychologically unsettling science fiction, has had a wide-ranging if sporadic influence on modern cultural theory, playing key roles in works by thinkers such as Jean Baudrillard, Erik Davis, Katherine Hayles, Fredric Jameson, Laurence Rickels and Steven Shaviro. In this one-day symposium, comprising a workshop and panel discussion, three Dick scholars address his continuing significance for the contemporary rethinking of subjectivity, the (post)human, and ontology.


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)

Organized by

James Burton
Alexander Dunst
ICI Berlin
In cooperation with the University of Paderborn
Cite as: ‘Errant Ontology: Exegesis and Nonhuman Being’, workshop presented at the symposium Becoming Post-Android: Philip K. Dick’s Errant Ontology, ICI Berlin, 24 September 2015, video recording <>