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The Sacred, Chance, and the Machine

A Colloquium for faculty and students

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The Sacred, Chance, and the Machine
The Sacred, Chance, and the Machine

Time & Location

Nov 06, 2022, 12:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST

To be sent to participants

About the Event

Guided by two presentations and one respondent, this half-day colloquium for faculty and students will explore the mechanistic dimensions of Girard's theory of violence and the sacred--the group in effervescence--as a God-making machine, its corruption as in a distorting mirror in the form of mass shootings, and the role of chance in these self-organizing or autopoietic systems.


  • "Terrorism, Mass Murders, and the Sacred," by Jean-Pierre Dupuy (Stanford),  
  • "Satanas ex machina. Chance as a value for artificial intelligence," Alexei Grinbaum (Université Paris-Saclay)

Response by Katherine Dee.

Discussion moderated by Luke Burgis (Catholic University of America) and Nathan Pinkoski (Zephyr Institute).


Papers will be released to registered participants.


The Westin Palo Alto

1230-1PM: Lunch

1-230PM: Prof. Dupuy presents, followed by discussion

245PM-415PM: Prof. Grinbaum presents, followed by discussion

430-520PM: Synthesis and Summary

6PM: Drinks and Dinner 


Luke Burgis is the Director of Programs & Projects at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America. 

Katherine Dee is a journalist and internet historian. Her work covers digital communities spanning from Usenet to TikTok.

Jean-Pierre Dupuy is Professor Emeritus of Social and Political Philosophy, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, andProfessor at Stanford University in the Science-Technology-and Society (STS) program and in the Political Science department (by courtesy).

Alexei Grinbaum, a quantum physicist and a philosopher, is professor at Université Paris-Saclay and research director at CEA institute (Paris).

Nathan Pinkoski is research fellow and director of academic programs at the Zephyr Institute.


This event has been made possible by a generous grant from the Apgar Foundation and is co-sponsored by the Stanford Civics Initiative.

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