Cyborg Theology: Humans, Technology and God [EPUB]
03 March 2018, 05:00
2018 | EPUB | 2.22MB
The concept of the cyborg, or cybernetic organism, has led to notably creative explorations of the ambiguous relationship between human beings and technology. In particular, Donna Haraway argued in her famous 1991 ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ that people, since they are so often now detached and separated from nature, have themselves evolved into cyborgs. This striking idea has had considerable influence within critical theory, cultural studies and even science fiction (where it has surfaced, for example, in the Terminator films and in the Borg of the Star Trek franchise). But it is a notion that has had much less currency in theology.
In his innovative new book, Scott Midson boldly argues that the deeper nuances of Haraway’s and the cyborg idea can similarly rejuvenate theology, mythology and anthropology. Challenging the damaging anthropocentrism directed towards nature and the non-human in our society, the author reveals – through an imaginative reading of the myth of Eden – how it is now possible for humanity to be at one with the natural world even as it vigorously pursues novel, ‘post-human’, technologies.
Strange Survivors: How Organisms Attack and Defend in the Game of Life [EPUB]
27 February 2018, 08:16
2018 | EPUB | 0.45MB
Life is beautiful, ruthless, and very, very strange.
In the evolutionary arms race that has raged on since life began, organisms have developed an endless variety of survival strategies. From sharp claws to brute strength, camouflage to venom—all these tools and abilities share one purpose: to keep their bearer alive long enough to reproduce, helping the species avoid extinction. Every living thing on this planet has developed a time-tested arsenal of weapons and defenses. Some of these weapons and defenses, however, are decidedly more unusual than others.
In Strange Survivors, biologist Oné R. Pagán takes us on a tour of the improbable, the ingenious, and the just plain bizarre ways that creatures fight for life.
Inside this funny, fascinating field guide to nature’s most colorful characters, you’ll meet killer snails, social bacteria, and an animal with toxic elbows. But Strange Survivors is more than a collection of curiosities—it is a love letter to science and an argument for the continuing relevance of this evolutionary battle as we face the threat of resistant bacteria and the need for novel medical therapies. Whether discussing blood-thinning bats and electric fish or pondering the power of cooperation, Pagán reveals the surprising lessons found in some of life’s natural oddities and how the tactics they employ to live might aid our own survival.
Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious [EPUB]
27 February 2018, 00:39
2017 | EPUB | 0.31MB
N. Katherine Hayles is known for breaking new ground at the intersection of the sciences and the humanities. In Unthought, she once again bridges disciplines by revealing how we think without thinking—how we use cognitive processes that are inaccessible to consciousness yet necessary for it to function.
Marshalling fresh insights from neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive biology, and literature, Hayles expands our understanding of cognition and demonstrates that it involves more than consciousness alone. Cognition, as Hayles defines it, is applicable not only to nonconscious processes in humans but to all forms of life, including unicellular organisms and plants. Startlingly, she also shows that cognition operates in the sophisticated information-processing abilities of technical systems: when humans and cognitive technical systems interact, they form “cognitive assemblages”—as found in urban traffic control, drones, and the trading algorithms of finance capital, for instance—and these assemblages are transforming life on earth. The result is what Hayles calls a “planetary cognitive ecology,” which includes both human and technical actors and which poses urgent questions to humanists and social scientists alike.
At a time when scientific and technological advances are bringing far-reaching aspects of cognition into the public eye, Unthought reflects deeply on our contemporary situation and moves us toward a more sustainable and flourishing environment for all beings.