[NetBehaviour] Scientists add emotions to robotic hea

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Tue Nov 25 10:23:52 CET 2008

Yes, it is a form of intellectual nihilism, if looked at from a certain
angle. In respect of civil liberties; we can regard them as fragile
confections, easily disposed of when the going gets tough (as it regularly
does). Things like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are Ogood¹ and
its integration into law is a practical plus for us all. However, human
rights are only an idea. They are not absolute. We are not born with rights
­ they are conferred upon us. They are a function of a social contract. If
the social structure that underpins that contract collapses then the rights
are worthless.

That said, as social creatures most of us have a big investment in our
relations with others. These bonds are what make society resilient to
collapse (but also to change). In this sense Dennett¹s arguments are not



On 25/11/08 01:51, "marc garrett" <marc.garrett at furtherfield.org> wrote:

> Hi Simon,
>> >Does that make me a post-humanist? I guess to be
>> >that you have to be a humanist in the first instance ­
>> >and I know I am not a humanist. I prefer to take a
>> >non-anthropocentric view of the universe and where
>> >value may be found.
> I have never been keen in accepting humanity as the centre of the
> universe, but I do view much of post-humanist thinking as yet another
> agency of salvation. What I mean by this is that, for me it seems to
> hold similar characteristics of absolutism, as much as any form of
> obsessed religion or metaphysical, and untouchable, great theme/scheme
> of things. When science becomes a mono-cultural venture in the hands of
> those who propose their own Promethean-led, eugenical ideologies.
> Even though I am appreciative in the research of academics such as Sue
> Blackmore and Daniel Dennett, in proposing that we are all part of a
> mass meme machine. Co-relation via the process of imitation of others,
> meaning that we are copying machines. And that the notion of the self,
> is an illusion. I still wonder how this can inform us beyond the
> trappings of yet another situation of fait accompli?
> Personally, I cannot help but feel that such concepts rely on a
> determinism which supports a more pro post-humanist agenda, as in
> anti-humanist. Not as in actively anti-humanist, but as in
> unintentionally supporting more darker tomes/agendas which could
> threaten our civil liberties. It may (accidentally) be a form of
> intellectual nihilism, serving to deny human agency by building
> mechanistic frameworks arguing the case that we are nothing but,
> disposable entities and data-objects, of mass exploration and production
> alone.
> It strikes me that it does not necessarily matter whether an agenda
> comes from a post-humanist, religious or political proposition, through
> all of this, we still submit to uncertainties and swap agency, from an
> authority above.
> marc
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Simon Biggs
Research Professor
edinburgh college of art
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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