The late modern, cultural and intellectual movement, transhumanism, is based on flawed assumptions which reduce people to information processing objects and equate artificial intelligence to human intelligence, creativity, and other cognitive, social and affective abilities in an overly simplistic way.
By contrast, Coeckelbergh, Ess, Franck, Hampson, Hoff, Spiekermann (2017) suggest that “meaning is the most important aspect in human life as it allows us to understand reality, think further about it, and act upon it…. Meaning emerges when our entire body (including the brain) interacts with the world as it is, or actualizes new realities by linguistic and technical means. In other words: new realities and events come into being or ‘emerge’ mediated through our embodied encounter with the world.”
Indicative topics include:
· From Meaning to Information
· Being in the world and Engaging Reality
-Representationalism and its critics
-Being there – second generation cognitive science and the ‘4E’ approach to cognition
· Language Mind and World: ‘A counter desecration phrasebook’
· Fabricating Animals and Creativity
· Social or Solitary? Attachment, Joint Attention and Persons-in-Relation
· Moral Life, Vulnerability and Compassion
· Neoliberalism and transhumanism
By the end of this seminar students will have gained a deeper understanding of various social, cultural, philosophical and psychological issues raised by transhumanism. They will further appreciate the relevance of transdisplinary approaches to related contentious aspects of ICT, and acquire skill in accessing, interpreting, and deploying material from a variety of sources.
Students will also gain a deeper insight into their chosen research domain, and have the opportunity to further develop writng and presentational skills.
full attendence is mandatory
A mixture of student and tutor led methods will be employed. The course will entail a combination of independent research, class discussions and presentations.
Students will have one project that is related to the indicative topics. After agreeing on a research topic the students will iteratively refine their research proposal and develop the research ideas, with a view to submitting and presenting.
This will be assessed via a final seminar paper which accounts for 90% of the grade and an in-seminar presentation which accounts for 10% of the grade.
The approach taken will combine methods and understanding from various disciplines especially psychology, philosophy, philosophical-theology, ethics and literature. While some familiarity with one or more of these would be helpful, prior expert knowledge of all these areas is not required, but a willingness to entertain cross disciplinary approaches, and to ‘think outside the box’ are.
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