Why cyborgs necessarily feel | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Dismantling the Anthropocene: Beyond Binary Categorizations
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533

Abstract

In this article, I argue for an essentialist account of cyborgs. This means that one condition for being a cyborg is to possess phenomenal consciousness, ‘what it feels like’ to undergo an experience. In this context, I make two related claims: (1) the metaphysical claim that it is essential to cyborgs to have phenomenal consciousness due to their being augmented human beings, and (2) the related claim that this metaphysical constraint need not apply to cyborg-like entities, which may or may not be augmented humans and so might not possess phenomenal consciousness. In support of these claims, I argue that cyborgs without phenomenal consciousness would lose information-processing abilities essential to the human condition and would be better understood as androids with biological body parts. First, I briefly characterize phenomenal consciousness in the context of the Mind–Body Problem. Then I introduce the Mind–Technology Problem and claim that it is better suited to frame the relevant discussion. In a second step, I argue that phenomenal consciousness is a vital feature of the human mind as it is fundamental for practices that relate what it feels to have an experience to other minds capable of such experiences, as in the arts. Briefly, thus, I argue that, without phenomenal consciousness, there is no art, and that art involves information-processing abilities essential to the human condition. Then I describe two different kinds of entity that might be considered cyborgs in the context of enhancement, distinguishing between cyborgs and cyborg-like entities. Finally, I argue that entities that do not possess phenomenal consciousness cannot be classified as cyborgs, since without it, an essential capacity of human experience, to be affected by the expressive arts, is absent.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • FCT, ‘Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P.’, under the ‘Stimulus of Scientific Employment’ (Award DL57/2016/CP1479/CT0081)
  • Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (Award UIDB/00678/2020)
  • FCT project ‘Emergence in the Natural Sciences: Towards a New Paradigm’ (Award PTDC/FER-HFC/30665/2017)
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2022-07-01
2024-05-29
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