The Self, and Everyday Life
At issue here: Mind-Body
Dualism, Consciousness, and Interaction within the world
Some ideas from Larry Hickman's
"Technology as a Human Affair," pages 119-159
Little regard for the body. Descartes- Body as a machine, guided by the soul/consciousness:
"I think therefore I am."
Many social sciences- Behavioralism
in psychology, strands of Functionalism and other forms of positivism in sociology-
view the body and/or the individual as a machine or "empty vessel."
Exceptions: American Pragmatism,
Existentialism/Phenomenology, and some Marxism.
"Technology and Human Self-Conception"
"Some form of human
action precedes or grounds conception,..."
thinking: "I am therefore I think."
bifurcated Western images of existence, shifted analysis to an independent,
Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology
(Hegel -and by extension Marx- presents another version of phenomenology and
Every self is in some
world, so it is senseless to speak of self and world as separate and distinct.
Self and world are both
experienced as phenomena- therefore (at least) equal.
Perhaps the world is
primary: It is only in and through my participation in the world, (the world
I share with others) that I can come to be aware of and understand myself.
Consciousness is intentional, relative (reflexive), and interactive.
the basis of human interaction with the world (natural and human).
Technology as technic,
method and "activity-form" is an extension of our intentional
interaction in the world.
As technology embodies
our intentional interaction with in the world, it reflexively constitutes
our understanding of ourselves as active agents in the world
As we extend ourselves
through technological developments, we extend our "Selves"??
Ihde calls this relationship-
Hunting and Gathering
Societies- low level technology, daily life constituted by basic tasks
of hunting and gathering. Knowledge of self and world determined by
this interactivity, which also inform the method of transmitting knowledge-
ceremonial rituals. "Likeness/similarity" characterize the
relationship between the human being and the world. "We are the
societies: higher level of technological interaction with the world,
control. Natural cycles and rhythms- growth, decay, death. No longer
a notion of similarity, but one of correlation, repetition, traditional
thinking, change from the established order is threatening. "We
are part of the world." (It's a natural fact!)
High level of technological interaction, machines dominate the natural
environment (or at least try to). Technological systems: impersonal,
machine-like relations, rationality, even the human body is characterized
as a machine. Objectification, reification, alienation. "We make
Ihde suggests that all
three forms are related and at certain levels equivalent: Interaction within
the world precedes knowledge of self and the world, and "Self" is
constituted as part of the world.
Progress does not equal
improved self-knowledge, but just a different mode of understanding our relationship
with the world.
The Phenomenology of Perception
We experience ourselves
through several "bodies"- and fundamentally we have the body "as
anchorage in the world"
Habits: not the products
of applying "rule" to situations to order experience, but the "grasping
of the motor significance" of our actions. Practice in "motor space"
The technologies around
us become extensions of our bodies, we learn to use them, not "rationally"
but through 'the give and take of practice.' "Thinking" seems to
destroy the "bodily" connection.
Point to develop: If we
understand ourselves and others through our interaction within the world, if
technology is the embodiment of self , then in an age of technologically mediated
(computer) communication, virtual communities, and technological "ways
of life"-- what do we become?
Minds and Computation
Computers as a medium
for discovering personal identity (Turkle, 1984)
Computers as the center
of social communities- real and virtual
Mind and Machine- Descartes
"dualism"-- free choice. People as machines-- determinism
Early this century, psychological
study emphasized-Behavioralism vs. Symbols, Meanings, and Rules. This doesn't
seem to provide an adequate understanding of the complexities of human cognition