Self-Formation in a Technological World
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This book investigates how we should form ourselves in a world saturated with technologies that are profoundly intruding in the very fabric of our selfhood.
How do we recognize that smart technological environments, imaging technologies and smart drugs increasingly shape who and what we are and influence who we ought to be? Tackling this issue requires going beyond the persistent and stubborn inside-outside dualism and recognizing that what we consider our "inside" self is to a great extent shaped by our "outside" world. Inspired by various philosophers – especially Nietzsche, Peirce and Lacan –this book demonstrates that the values, goals and ideals that humans encounter in their environments not only shape their identities but also enable them to critically relate to their present state. The author argues against understanding technological self-formation in terms of making ourselves better, stronger, and smarter. Rather, we should conceive it in terms of technological sublimation, which redefines the very notion of human enhancement. In this respect the author introduces an alternative, more suitable theory, namely Technological Sublimation Theory (TST).
Extimate Technology will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in philosophy of technology, philosophy of the self, phenomenology, pragmatism, and history of philosophy.
Table of Contents
Part I: What Is the Self?
1. The Essentialist and Dualist Self and Why it Cannot Be Sustained
2. From "Self" to "Self-Formation"
Part II: Is Self-Formation in a Technological World Possible?
3. The Autonomous Self and the Determined Self
4. The Artifactual Mind
5. Brain Imaging Technologies and Critical Self-Formation
6. How Critical Is Critical Self-Formation?
Part III: How Should We Technologically Form Ourselves?
7. Technological Self-Formation as Enhancement
8. The Technological Uncanny as a Permanent Structure of Selfhood
9. Self-Formation as Sublimation and the Question Concerning Technology
10. Technological Sublimation Theory Applied to Three Existential Technologies
Epilogue: Groundwork for a Philosophy of Existential Technology
Ciano Aydin is Full Professor of Philosophy of Technology, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Vice-dean of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) at the University of Twente. He has published in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Philosophy and Technology, and other journals. His main areas of interest are philosophy of technology, philosophical anthropology, phenomenology and pragmatism. See www.cianoaydin.nl for a comprehensive profile.
“Understanding how self-formation works is crucial as we increasingly find ourselves in pervasive and intense technological environments. This book uses insights from Peirce, Nietzsche, Lacan and Freud to argue that the self is not only already unsettled, but becomes even more unsettled when technology, meant to enhance us, becomes an intrinsic part of us. The proposed interactionist perspective on self-formation and the concept of sublimation proposed by Ciano Aydin helps us to think about this problem and opens up new avenues for thinking about how new technologies mess with human existence as we struggle to integrate them into our lives.” – Mark Coeckelbergh, University of Vienna, Austria
"This is a fascinating effort to reflect on how modern technologies have honed Nietzsche’s challenge, as he put it at the outset of his Genealogy of Morals: ‘We don't know ourselves, we knowledgeable people—we are personally ignorant about ourselves. And there's good reason for that. We've never tried to find out who we are.’ Ciano Aydin answers with an intriguing Technological Sublimation Theory." – Paul van Tongeren, Radboud University, The Netherlands
"This work is a benchmark fusion of the philosophy of self with the philosophy of technology. Ciano Aydin addresses the ever increasing incorporation of new technologies into our way of life and exposes the current drift back toward essentialist and dualist thinking about self. Inspired by Nietzsche and Peirce, Aydin develops a radical interactionist view of the formation of selves, culminating in his Technological Sublimation Theory. Aydin’s application of his theory to examples of the permeation of new technologies throughout modern life lays the groundwork for a new research paradigm. Peirce’s normative thought and his philosophy of mind are treated masterfully throughout and the recognition of the resonance of some streams of Peirce’s thought with Nietzsche’s is long overdue." – Nathan Houser, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA