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How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics
Contents:


  1. N. Katherine Hayles
  2. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, Hayles
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Certainly, for those familiar with the jargon, posthumanism borrow some of its theoretical underwear from postmodernist thinking, or at least some of the theoretical idols are the same. The texts she analyses cover vast ground: ranging from sci-fi icons such as Bernhard Wolfe, Philip K. Just as is the case with postmodernism, one can argue at length wether posthumanism is really a forum for reactionists or radicals.

Of course: the Great White Male. A large part of the inhabitants in the Western civilisation is already to be considered cyborgs.

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N. Katherine Hayles

For example, 10 percent of the U. The rest of us, who daily use computers to think and communicate, are so in a metaphorical sense. There is no longer any reason to regard the intelligent machines and the smart cards as vicious enemies. This is particularly true in the massively overspecialised education system of the contemporary UK. Hayles gives us intellectual history in spades and sets out connections and new directions whilst reminding us of old ones. In a way the book could have worked without the literary material, but Hayles is a professor of English and must be allowed to practice her trade and certainly the literary chapters reinforce the intellectual history.

This is particularly the case for science fiction buffs like me - I remain convinced that Philip K.

How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, Hayles

Dick will be among the literary classics when current Booker prize winners have the status that three volume Victorian romances now have. There is an enormous resonance here and Hayles rings it out loud and true. That said, I think the literary criticism is not the most important element in this text after Hayles own priority of embodiment. Hayles is not just engaged in cultural archaeology.

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She is, as she was in her earlier work, engaged in critique of direction. The following is perhaps the single most important passage I have read since the publication of this book and it certainly has influenced all my own work subsequently. It is of particular significance for simulators. In it Hayles is contesting the separation of the material from the informational - the general text of which her insistence on embodiment is the human instance:. Hayles p.

Simulation is a technique which engenders complexity but simulators, still working in contexts where reduction and mathematical formalism remain dominant, continue to be reluctant to grasp the implications of complexity.

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They know complexity cannot be expressed in terms of mathematical formalism - that they cannot generate universal laws expressed as systems of simultaneous equations. Instead, they turn to another kind of universalism - the general rule which develops into local emergence and local particularity, but which can serve as a universal engine if not as a universal description.

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Cilliers ought to have put the kibosh on this sort of thing but it goes on and on, exemplified by Holland's understanding of Emergence Holland and very often associated with rational choice theory. How we became posthuman : virtual bodies in… cornellaasp library TinyCat.


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  3. How we became posthuman : virtual bodies in… | cornellaasp library | TinyCat!
  4. Toggle Dropdown Advanced Search. How we became posthuman : virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics by Katherine Hayles Paper Book, Status Available. Publication Chicago, Ill. Description In this age of DNA computers and artificial intelligence, information is becoming disembodied even as the "bodies" that once carried it vanish into virtuality.

    User reviews LibraryThing member veevoxvoom. N Katherine Hayles is one of the most prominent scholars of cybernetics and the cultural theory of cyborgism. Her thesis in this book is that although in our modern age, there is an increasing move in cybernetics to regarding information and human subjectivity as bodiless, in fact, to be posthuman means to be embodied, only in a different way.

    Hayles discusses her theory while covering the history of the three waves of the cybernetics as well as using literary examples she has degrees in both chemistry and English. I read this book in order to supplement an essay I was writing on William Gibson's Neuromancer.


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    Hayles raises a lot of interesting ideas about the relation between human and machine, and while I'm not sure I agree with all of them, her opinions are intelligent nonetheless. I particularly enjoyed the foray into literature and science-fiction.