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Body, Technology, and Posthuman Ethics
|摘要:||We are getting more and more used to the concept that the human or the body has become problematic, if not downright obsolete, partly due to the development of human genetic engineering, cybernetic prosthesis, cybernetic information technology, etc. For some posthumanists, to be able to overcome or abandon one's “natural” body means to enter into a utopian realm with no hierarchies, boundaries, and repressions. They claim that the corporeal body is a mere illusion, underlying which is computational code or informational pattern. What we call lives, then, are nothing but these codes or patterns.Not all people, however, find the idea of living in a disembodied posthuman condition too intriguing. For them, technology does not and cannot erase the body, for the body is as much essential to the formation of one's identity as cognition and perception. This position, which can properly be called embodied posthumanism, is best represented by N. Katherine Hayles. Her influential book, How We Became Posthuman?, is without doubt a powerful intervention into a trend of posthuman studies which aims to permanently get rid of the body by emphasizing exclusively on the form, coding process, or informational pattern. According to this trend, life and intelligence are not defined by their material embodiment in the human life-world. They are rather a product of the generation and manipulation of formal patterns. Unsatisfied with this dematerializing tendency, which treats the body as “fashion accessories rather than ground of being,” Hayles highlights the importance of embodiment in the formation of the self or the subject. In an age in which the penetration of life by technology, and the subsequent becoming of the human into the posthuman, constitutes an essential part of our existence, we desperately need to construct a posthumanism which understands humans as “embodied creatures living within and through embodied worlds and embodied words.” Similarly, some other scholars, such as Mark Hansen and Sherryl Vint, also emphasize the importance of the body in the construction of a (post)human subjectivity.The purpose of the project is to explore and expand the current posthuman scholarship. I try to answer a difficult, but no less important, question: Does posthumanism have an ethics? Is it possible to have an ethical, embodied posthumanism? This is a two-year project. In the first year I will focus on the exploration of an ethical, embodied posthumanism on a theoretical level. The second year is more or less an “application” of the research findings of the previous year. Using J. G. Ballard's Crash (1973) as the main object of study, I examine the danger and allure of our posthuman present as revealed in Ballard's novel.|
本計劃探討後人類社會中的身體、科技、倫理問題。在整容技術、遺傳工程、電腦資訊等各類科技普及的當今社會，人們似乎愈來愈能接受所謂的人或身體並非自給自足、恆久自然的概念，而可以透過科技或技術加以中介與改造。從後人類觀點而言，自我與環境、身體與科技、內部與外部兩者間本無清楚界線。一些後人類主義者樂觀地相信科技介入身體不但不是一件壞事，反而能帶來解放與自由。對他們而言，生命不需仰賴身體即可完成，因為它的本質在於可計算的資訊模式（informational pattern）。然而並非所有人都對去身體化或強調「離身性」（disembodied）的後人類主義感到滿意。他們認為科技無法取消身體，因為身體是形塑自我與身分不可或缺的要素，我們可以稱此觀點為強調「即身性」（embodiment）或即身經驗的後人類主義，而海爾思（N. Katherine Hayles）是其中最重要的學者之一。她認為在當今科技與身體的界線已難分辨的後人類社會，我們固然應該避免落入懷舊、人本主義式的自我或主體觀，但也不應將身體視為（後）人類的「流行配件」（fashion accessories）。對海爾思來說，（後）人類乃是「存在於即身世界與即身文字中的即身生命」。其他諸如韓森（Mark Hansen）或芬特（Sherryl Vint）也都贊成此種帶有即身經驗的後人類主義。本研究延續後人類主義關於身體與科技的研究成果，除了強調身體的重要性之外，同時亦希望帶進「倫理」此面向。本計畫所要嘗試回答的問題是：我們有無可能建立某種具有倫理基礎的即身後人類主義？何謂後人類倫理？本計畫為期二年，第一年是理論性的探討，第二年以英國作家巴拉德（J. G. Ballard）的小說《超速性追緝》（Crash）做為研究文本，試圖探討後人類社會中的身體、科技、倫理問題。
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