Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To quickly return from a journal’s Table of Contents to the Table of Volumes…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can return with one click from a journal’s Table of Contents (TOC) to the Table of Volumes simply by clicking on “Volume n” at the top of the TOC (where n is the volume number).

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Smith, R. (2017). Contra Cyborgs. Free Associations, 18(2):112-115.

(2017). Free Associations, 18(2):112-115

Contra Cyborgs

Roger Smith

With new reproductive and bioengineering technologies, information science and neuroscience, there is excited talk of the transhuman. For the purpose of argument here, I will suppose that there are no technological barriers and will be, sooner rather than later, robot substitutes for humans, cyborgs (humans with machine parts, tools built into the body) and possibilities for the complete, or near complete, replacement/substitution of mental functions by electronic or chemical techniques. Numerous commentators think such technologies are already ‘in progress’, and they may well be right. Why do I object? Why are my feelings so negative about all this? Why am I alienated by the ways of life which have these technologies at the centre? If the technological changes are in fact coming, why not embrace them?

It's my reading of a London Review of Books review, by Steven Shapin, of a book by Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which prompts the questions. The book sounds crass, a titillating read by an author set on selling lots of copies rather than arguing well, and the review convinced me that here at least was one book I needn't read. The argument is familiar: Man has become God - he can make himself anything, through neuroscience, bio-engineering, etc. The book cites one computer scientist: ‘if I can be 200 with a body of silicon, I'll take it.’

I find no emotional appeal in the whole prospect. Why not? I think my emotions are informed by reasons.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2016 and more current articles see the publishers official website here.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.