[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Jan 21 11:15:52 UTC 2012

On 20/01/2012 23:32, natasha at natasha.cc wrote:
> What the heck is Hayles (How We Became Posthuman) talking about when 
> she says that posthumans are disembodied?

I can't say I find her understandable (she is nice in person, though). 
But it is safe to guess she doesn't mean embodiment in the usual 
physical sense, but more likely in the sense of phenomenology or even 
continental feminism - the body as a constraint/part of the lifeworld. 
Our cognition is embodied, and that means it is deeply dependent upon 
features of the physical body. This is a very "in" view in parts of 
robotics too.

So my stab at what she might mean is that our concept of the posthuman 
as we often describe it in our community tends to be very disembodied: 
we tend to assume the body is an irrelevant artifact that can be 
discarded and replaced with something better, keeping the essential part 
of ourselves. But she thinks this is a mistake - not that it might be 
impossible to do, but that regarding bodies as fashion accessorites 
rather than the ground of being will mean we will be amputating 
important parts of our selves.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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