Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Nick Dyer-Witheford


This thesis begins the work of constructing a fundamental ontology that employs the network automaton—a class of abstract computer program—as its model. Following a brief historical overview of the theory of network automata and its culmination in the work of Steven Wolfram, I examine how it bears on the ancient question concerning whether the continuous or the discrete has ontological primacy, consider the ontological status of materiality in consultation with Deleuzean ontology, and introduce the concept of prescience as a means of topologically mapping emergent patterns within the causal relations that compose the network. Finally, I will break the network automaton down even further into its most rudimentary functional operations, and consider preliminarily how this model might be adapted toward an atomistic theory of the subject.