Cyborg and Posthumanism

Author:Ran Dan

Supervisor:Cai Zhong


Degree Year:2013





The term of Cyborg was originally put forward to the world by Clynes and Kline in 1960,and it means the abbreviation of cybernetics and organism.With the development of science and technology,the scientific view of cyborg becomes one of the most influential cultural thoughts in the western academic circles.The technology of cyborg applied to change human body used to be regarded just as scenes in fiction works,however,cyborg,the one which can place a part of human body by connecting human brains and machines comes true nowadays.Cyborg represents that human body is affected by modern technology,especially by the development of modern biological and information technologies.Meanwhile,the appearing of cyborg means to break through dualism and challenge the purity of human nature ontologically.Therefore,when studying on cyborg in philosophy we step into the field of posthumanism.Posthumanism can be traced back to the eager for prolonging human life,the larger amount of experiences of mind and emotion by conquering human body’s limitation.Posthumanism then force to modify the biological limitations applied with technology,while it is inclined to the dilemma of transhumanism based on the misunderstanding on posthumanism.One purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the changing relationship between human,technology and the nature caused by the view of cyborg,as well as the clarification of the theoretical clue to the development of posthumanism.The rest chapters of this dissertation focus on Andrew Pickering,Donna Haraway and N.Katherine Hayles,and try to make a internal logical connection between these three scholars.Chapter one illustrates the origin of cyborg according to the development of cybernetics and the relationship between cyborg and cybernetics,and make a conclusion of the influences on human and society brought with by cyberspace,which is the instant research hotspot.Chapter two reflects on the conjunction between the view of cyborg and the tendency of postmodernism.As the last chapter in the first part,chapter three studies on the comparative study on humanism,posthumanism and transhumanism,which extends to the objects of study in this dissertation,the three ones referred above are the representatives in the field of philosophy of science and technology,especially in the turn of practice.In chapter four,Pickering’s the mangle of practice characterizes on the features of emergency and posthumanism.Pickering regards both the agencies of human and material as the dance of agency,during the process of mangling,all kinds of heterogeneous factors including human and material counteract with each other,but as a fact,Pickering equates the agencies of human and nonhuman,who obliterates human’s leading character because of erasing of the dualism between object and subject.To some degree,Pickering ignores epistemology,but emphasize on the cyborg ontology—a hamonious ecological ontology.on the contrary,haraway’s study on cyborg tries to pay close attention to the ethics dimension on sciecnce and technology through her dinstinctive cyborg feminism and situated knowledge.Haraway emphasizes on a scientific view which should be responsible to human beings.Consequently,we can safely conclude that Pickering and Haraway are in the same camp;both of them tend to break through dualism but confuse the differetential between object and subject.As the last object of study in chapter six,Hayles’s works emphasized on the reshaping of embodiment.She claims that we have stepped into the era of posthuman,but what she rejects is disembodied posthumanism.Confront of the ignorance by Pickering and Harawy,Hayles regains the human subject’s congitive dimension.In the last chapter,this dissertation tries to redefine scientific rationality from the posthumanist perspective.