By William S. Haney II
Addressing a key factor concerning human nature, this e-book argues that the first-person event of natural cognizance could quickly be less than hazard from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the mind's potential for instrumental habit, posthumanists search to increase human adventure by means of bodily projecting the brain outward during the continuity of inspiration and the fabric global, as via telepresence and different kinds of prosthetic improvements. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that may advertise this extension, arguably on the price of the typical tendency of the brain to maneuver towards natural realization. As every one bankruptcy of this ebook contends, through forcibly overextending and hence jeopardizing the neurophysiology of cognizance, the posthuman may perhaps within the long-term undermine human nature, outlined because the easy skill for transcending the mind's conceptual content material. provided right here for the 1st time, the basic argument of this ebook is greater than a caution; it supplies a path: much better to perform endurance and improve natural realization and evolve right into a better man or woman than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological strength. As argued in the course of the ebook, everyone needs to pick out for him or herself among the technological extension of actual adventure via brain, physique and global at the one hand, and the average powers of human attention at the different as a method to achieve their final imaginative and prescient
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Additional info for Cyberculture, cyborgs and science fiction : consciousness and the posthuman
In their emphasis on the body, posthumanists like Haraway, Clark, Hayles and Pepperell explain consciousness from a third-person approach in terms of observable behavior. For Pepperell, “consciousness refers to all those attributes we usually associate with a sentient human such as thought, emotion, memory, awareness, intelligence, self-knowledge, a sense of being, and so on” (2003: 13). Even though he recognizes that these attributes have a range of densities, he still classifies awareness and a sense of being as “attributes,” which excludes the least dense or most subtle dimension of consciousness as pure witness—the internal observer beyond attributes.
But in critiquing his German predecessors, Derrida, especially in his earlier work, may also be borrowing from and re-contextualizing elements of Indian philosophy widely disseminated in the West since the late 19th century. The deconstructive notion of iterability, or the contextual nature of all knowledge, is not a Western invention but has roots in Indian thought, particularly as understood from the perspective, as discussed earlier, of Shankara’s Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta (the end or final knowledge of the Veda), the sixth and last system of Indian philosophy (Maharishi 1967: 472-94).
As Pepperell puts it, “The real posthuman, then, is properly conceived not as an abstract flow of symbolic information but as a radically extended and embodied being whose experience, I will argue, is potentially boundless” (2005: 4). Like posthumanism in general, the notion of extended experience entails the extension of mind as a conscious entity through the continuity of thought and material world. According to Samkhya Yoga, however, mind and world are naturally contiguous because the mind is always already an extension of matter as distinct from consciousness.
Cyberculture, cyborgs and science fiction : consciousness and the posthuman by William S. Haney II