The Cartesian Subject 2.0: Body/Mind Dualism and Transhumanist Thought

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Cyborgs and Transhumans

Presentation Title:

  • The Cartesian Subject 2.0: Body/Mind Dualism and Transhumanist Thought

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Abstract:

  • Pathological narcissism represents a dominant form of subjectivity in postindustrial societies. (Žižek 1987, Lasch 1982) When the subject, characterized by the culture of narcissism, enters cyberspace, it becomes immortal. The body  becomes obsolete and the game of immortality begins. The anthropological understanding of culture, in which culture represents a “natural environment” for humans, can be reinterpreted: cyberspace is the perfect natural environment for pathological narcissism. “Cut off from the real body, we construct a substitute body: ourselves online. We treat it as if it were our actual self, our real life. Over time, it does indeed become our life.” (Ullman). Digitalized bodies represent a “historically constructed Western individualist subject” (Green). Furthermore, ironically, this new digital Cartesianism, initiated by a rhetorical cheerleading of the mind/body split as a desirable aim of CMC, ultimately results in the invocation of stereotyped bodies in order to confer authenticity and signification to textual utterances. (Boler).

    Full text (PDF) p.  212-213

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