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Media and Culture essay

Media and Culture essay

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Published by targyropoulos23

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Published by: targyropoulos23 on Feb 20, 2011
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12/23/2012

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‘Whatisacyborg?Contrastthewaythebodyisdepictedinthecyborgliteraturewiththeconceptionsofclassicalneo-platonism,cartesianism,(empiricism),Freud(andFoucault).’
ThemisArgyropoulos(s0972409)MediaAndCultureEssayDesignandDigitalMediastudent
December
 2009
 
ThemisArgyropoulosPage2
Name: Themis ArgyropoulosDDM StudentStudent ID: s0972409Course: Media and CultureSubject:
‘What is a cyborg? Contrast the way the body is depicted in the cyborg literaturewith the conceptions of classical neo-platonism, cartesianism, (empiricism), Freud (and  Foucault).’ 
 Note regarding the subject:
I’ve chosen to criticize the dualist premises (pertainingespecially to
cartesianism and neoplatonism
) underlying the depictions of the body incyborg literature from an
empiricist
(‘embodiment and embeddedness’) and
psychoanalytical
perspective. Foucault and empiricism are only mentioned on the flow.
 
Abstract:
Contemporary cyborg literature has established a series of widely accepted mental prototypes andcultural stereotypes regarding a cyborg’s physical apparatus. In this paper, the core dualist premises of suchstandard depictions are addressed and criticized, especially from the viewpoint of the philosophy of ‘embodiment and embeddedness’ and psychoanalysis. In the end, some ideological functions of suchmainstream conceptualizations are discussed.
Introduction
Irrespectively of the quality (e.g., Hollywood film production) of the literary products inwhich it might be found, the very way in which the bodily apparatus of a cyborg is depicteddeserves to be critically assessed as another contemporary cultural artefact. In other words,no matter their mass consumption, such cultural products rely on strong philosophical premises, and have concrete (yet latent) ideological functions, both deserving description anddiscussion.
 
ThemisArgyropoulosPage3
 
Wires, implants, and folk dualism
Let us begin with an important clarification: It would certainly be over-simplifying for one toassume a ‘transmitter-receiver’ model of literary production and claim that the depictionswe’re interested in here are unidirectionally transmitted. In other words, assuming that a‘transmitting end’ influences a passive ‘receiving end’ is certainly a dangerous abstraction:On the contrary (and this especially goes for low-level literary products), folk assumptionsare projected to literary production; the latter asserts or (especially for products qualitativelydeviating from the norm) revises the expectations of this ‘receiving end’ of this cultural practice. Therefore, the description and the criticism of these depictions to follow pertainequally to both the ‘producing-transmitting’ minority, and to the ‘receiving’ majority (if oneis to stick to the terminology of this compromised ‘transmitter-receiver’ model); it is thismajority that projects those expectations to the producing minority, and, according to thoseexpectations, it understands, or even misunderstands the initial intentions of the ‘transmittingend’- see especially the work in the framework of ‘hermeneutics’ (Gadamer, 1976)- no better way to explain what ‘hermeneutics’ stands for than Eco’s phrase of the ‘opera aperta’, i.e., aliterary work open to interpretation by its reader/consumer, independently, to a big extent of the author’s initial, desired ‘message’.It is no secret that, in its greatest part, the cyborg-related literature seems to unhesitantlyadopt a clear-cut distinction between the ‘cognitive’ and the ‘physical’ implementation of thereplicated ‘human prototype’. The simplistic way in which the human body and its relationwith both affect and reason are approached in the contemporary literature is quitecharacteristic in the Hollywood film industry, which has by far the most suggestive exampleson the subject:In the recently filmed ‘Bicentennial man’ (Asimov, 1976), the ‘cyborgification’ and,ultimately, ‘humanization’ process that the robot undergoes is carried out in a componential,‘building-blocks’- like manner: the robot experiences emotions in a piece-meal fashion, hasrobotic parts replaced for its human equivalents, and is ultimately humanized: In the end of his life, he states the following, assuming a very entrenched, vertical man/ machinedistinction:

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