Discussion of the posthuman has emerged in a wide set of fields through a diverse set of thinkers including Donna Haraway, Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, N. Katherine Hayles, and Francis Fukuyama, just to name a few. Despite his extensive critique of technology, commentators have not explored the fruitfulness of Heidegger's work for deciphering the various strands of posthumanism recently formulated in response to contemporary technological developments. Here, I employ Heidegger's critique of technology to trace opposing visions of the posthuman, (...) visions that are both tied intimately to new information technologies. For those seeking to extend humanist ideals, information technologies are employed to extend the vision of an ultra-humanist view of a ‘scientific posthuman’ that dangerously understands the body to be a forfeitable nuisance, rather than an inherent aspect of being human. Along Heideggerian lines, thinkers such as N. Katherine Hayles and Thomas Carlson have developed an alternative trajectory related to Dasein's Being-in-the-world. This trajectory posits the self as constituted by a lack or abyss, enabling the formulation of a ‘mystical posthuman,’ celebrating, rather than forfeiting, humanity's embodied existence. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to construct an artificial dialog loosely modeled after that sought by Robert Maynard Hutchins who was a significant influence on many of us including and especially Robert Rosen. The dialog is needed to counter the deep and devastating effects of Cartesian reductionism on todayâ€™s world. The success of such a dialog is made more probable thanks to the recent book by A. Louie. This book makes a rigorous basis for a new paradigm, the one pioneered (...) by the late Robert Rosen. If we are to make such a paradigm shift happen, it has to be in the spirit of the dialog. The relationship between science, economics, technology and politics has to be openly recognized and dealt with. The message that Rosen sent to us has to be told outside small select circles of devotees. The situation has even been described by some as resembling a cult. This is no way for universal truths like these to be seen. The essay examines why this present situation has happened and identifies the systemic nature of the problem in terms of Rosenâ€™s concepts about systems. The dialog involves works by George Lakoff, W. Brian Arthur, N. Katherine Hayles, Robert Reich and Dorion Sagan. These scholars each have their own approach to identifying the nature of the interacting systems that involve human activity and the importance of identifying levels of abstraction in analyzing systems. Pooling their insights into different facets of a complex system is very useful in constructing a model of the self referential system that humans and their technology have shaped. The role of the human component in the whole earth system is the goal of the analysis. The impact of the Cartesian reductionist paradigm on science and the related aspects of human activity are examined to establish an explanation for the isolation of Rosenâ€™s paradigm. The possible way to proceed is examined in the conclusion. (shrink)
Katherine Hawley explores and compares three theories of persistence -- endurance, perdurance, and stage theories - investigating the ways in which they attempt to account for the world around us. Having provided valuable clarification of its two main rivals, she concludes by advocating stage theory.