Technology and the Body: the (Im)Possibilities of Re-embodiment [Book Review]

Foundations of Science 16 (2-3):119-137 (2011)
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Abstract

This article argues for a more rigorous distinction between body extensions on the one hand and incorporation of non-bodily objects into the body on the other hand. Real re-embodiment would be a matter of taking things (most often technologies) into the body, i.e. of incorporation of non-bodily items into the body. This, however, is a difficult process often limited by a number of conditions of possibility that are absent in the case of ‘mere’ body extensions. Three categories are discussed: limb extensions/prostheses, perceptual extensions/prostheses and cognitive extensions/prostheses. For each category, a distinction between extensions and incorporations is proposed, and the conditions of possibility for real incorporation are discussed. These conditions of possibility differ in each category, but in general they ask for radical or fundamental alterations not only in the motor and/or sensory or cognitive constitution of a human subject, but also in his or her subjective experience

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