Human Satellites and Creative Extension

This was a risky short paper in response to a provocative article by Russian philosopher Lyudmila A. Markova at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. The initial paper left out the ‘many worlds’ perspective, i.e. that human beings may perceive ourselves as living in a ‘human multiverse.’ I thought it would be helpful to add it as a brainstorming possibility. Quite openly, I ask for feedback from anyone with thoughts about it: “Do the satellites extend (as technologies, media, cognition) from human beings or are we all self-sustainable ‘worlds’ around which our satellites fly in a greater social epistemological multiverse?”

This is an on-going discussion related to extended mind and human extension, soon with a visit to the extended knowledge project.

http://social-epistemology.com/2014/02/23/human-satellites-and-creative-extension-gregory-sandstrom/

Continue reading ‘Human Satellites and Creative Extension’

Extending Knowledge and the Extended Mind – SERRC

This post duplicates a précis and audio interview published at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.

Audio available here: http://social-epistemology.com/2014/01/20/extending-knowledge-and-the-extended-mind-gregory-sandstrom/

This Echo Chamber [1] interview with Professors Georg Theiner and Orestis Palermos was conducted by SERRC member Gregory Sandstrom in Torún, Poland at the Avant – Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies conference on 9 November 2013.

The interview focuses on the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT [2]), that was featured in no less than six presentations at the conference. It starts by hearing about the historical contact by Theiner and Palermos with the EMT of Andy Clark and David Chalmers. The main topics of the interview are cognitive science, psychology, philosophy of mind, science and technology studies, epistemology and the relevance of the EMT in interdisciplinary collaboration.

Theiner mentions that he had some hesitations at first to the EMT, which he learned about in a presentation by Andy Clark. At the end of the talk, Clark brought up René Descartes’ view of trying to empower the human mind by ‘shrinking’ it into something immaterial; “to save it from materiality” instead of allowing it to be ‘extended.’ Yet Theiner believes that instead of shrinking our minds down to just the material level, it is rather the extension of our minds and cognition into the world, into the physical, social and cultural environment that makes human beings special.

Peace for Evolution’s Puzzle: The Arrival of Human Extension (2013)

Abstract:

A response to the review “Evolution is Still Puzzling” (2008) of “Pieces of Evolution’s Puzzle” (2008) that makes an attempt to answer the challenge of a lack of alternative to evolutionary theories in human-social sciences. By putting forward a candidate for a legitimate alternative to evolution, the evolutionary puzzle and its exaggeration from biology into improper humanities fields is potentially solved. This paper offers a paradigm shift primarily for sociology, the author’s home field, but also for four other fields that have been neutralized from providing peaceful alternatives in the study of change and development for human societies, instead of succumbing to the totalising logic of evolutionistic ideology. Human extension marks a moment of reversal from evolutionism with its arrival as a post-evolutionary general methodology.

General Introduction

Extension – “a fundamental notion concerning the nature of reality[i].” – A.N. Whitehead

The only way to achieve peace in the warring controversy over evolution is to put evolutionary theory in its proper scholarly place, refusing to allow it to be over-estimated in the Academy. The same was true with relativity theory in physics; it has only a limited conceptual transferability into human-social thought, philosophy and ethics. In making a principled categorical clarification about ‘evolutionism,’ those who choose to uphold evolution as a world-view, as the primary basis for their special sciences, philosophies, or (a)theologies, can be identified for their attempt to ‘universalise evolution,’ rather than limiting it within appropriate and responsible, meaningful boundaries.

Continue reading ‘Peace for Evolution’s Puzzle: The Arrival of Human Extension (2013)’

Pieces of Evolution’s Puzzle: A Social-Philosophical Perspective (2008)

Abstract. This paper tries to show that evolution is an outdated theory in human-social sciences; it has been applied in the past and is now set to become obsolete. This is because human agency, free-will, decision-making and intentionality are predominantly excluded from social-humanitarian evolutionary discourse, which leads to a dehumanizing effect (Fuller 2006). An updated, non-evolutionary (cf. post-evolutionary) view of human-social change(s) that suits the information-electronic age and ushers in a teleological perspective would offer a timely solution to this problem.

Аннотация. Эта статья пробует показать что эволюция – устаревшая теория в людской-социальных науках; она прикладной в прошлом и теперь установлена к морально стареть. Это потому что людские агентство, свободная воля, принятие решений и преднамеренность большей частью исключены от социальн-гуманитарной эволюционный речи, которая водит к дегуманизирование влиянию (Фулльр 2006). Обновленный, не-эволюционный (cf. пост-эволюционный) взгляд людской-социального изменения которое одевает информаци-электронное эпоха и швейцары в телеологический перспективе предложил бы своевременное разрешение к этой проблеме.

  

Introduction:

“The views you have acquired about Darwinism, evolution, and the struggle for existence won’t explain to you the meaning of your life and won’t give you guidance in your actions, and a life without an explanation of its meaning and importance, and without the unfailing guidance that stems from it is a pitiful existence. Think about it. I say it, probably on the eve of my death, because I love you[i].” – Lev N. Tolstoy

As a foreigner coming to the Russian Federation to do academic research, I was encouraged to find the best connection possible between ideas grown at home in Canada and those born in Russia. For me, one of the main reasons to study the Russian tradition was due to its perspectives regarding one of the most inter-disciplinary[ii][iii] concepts in today’s Academy, that of ‘evolution[iv].’ Russia’s unique historical perspective on evolution and evolutionary theories[v] affords the non-Russian observer a treasure trove of ideas. Some of these ideas are suitable for counter-balancing the extreme positions that have taken hold as controversy over evolution erupts in universities, academies and in the public arena around the world.

Continue reading ‘Pieces of Evolution’s Puzzle: A Social-Philosophical Perspective (2008)’

On ‘the Character of’ (tCo) vs. ‘the Nature of’ (tNo) – A Social-Realist Account*

In a previous entry I wrote about ‘non-natural’ and ‘extra-natural’ things as if they pose a challenge to the phrase ‘the nature of’ (tNo). This perhaps needs some clarification, especially for those who have come to embrace the ideology of ‘naturalism’ and the view that there is nothing ‘real’ other than that which is ‘natural.’

Showing my position upfront, I admit that I am not an ideological ‘naturalist,’ nor am I a ‘naturalist’ in the sense of that being my professional occupation (as Charles Darwin was on the Beagle or David Attenborough is today). That is to say, there are (at least) two distinct meanings of ‘naturalist’: 1) as an ideology (i.e. ‘naturalism’), and 2) as an occupation or vocation (i.e. working as a ‘naturalist’). What this means is that my academic activities are focussed on things other than purely ‘nature,’ except for the rather ambiguous concept duo of ‘human nature,’ which is of course part of the human-social sciences and humanities.

This short message contends that one way to articulate the distinctiveness of the human-social sciences in contrast to the natural-physical sciences is to replace or substitute (or simply provide a suitable alternative to) the phrase ‘the nature of’ with the phrase ‘the character of’ (tCo). This linguistic move displays a ‘personalist’ instead of a ‘naturalist’ approach. But why should others adapt their language this way and for what purpose?

Continue reading ‘On ‘the Character of’ (tCo) vs. ‘the Nature of’ (tNo) – A Social-Realist Account*’

The Intelligent Design Movement: Revolution or Repatriation?

This post consists of Chapter 2 from my masters thesis at the Free University of Amsterdam, “Evolution, Extension and Intelligent Design: A 21st Century Tri-Fecta,” completed and defended in 2004. It is therefore outdated, given that we are already 9 years removed and the IDM has morphed since then. Nevertheless, it is posted here to provide some background to my work on human extension as an alternative to evolutionism, creationism and Intelligent Design Theory. Notably, since then I’ve accepted the distinction that Owen Gingerich and others make between Uppercase Intelligent Design Theory and lowercase ‘intelligent design’ or ‘design arguments.’

 ~~

The Intelligent Design Movement: Revolution or Repatriation?

 

Introduction

“Molecular machines appear to look designed because they really are designed.”

– Michael Behe

This chapter analyzes the (post-)modern social movement that has begun[1] with the concept-duo of intelligent design (ID). In the most ambitious words of one of the intelligent design movement’s (IDM’s) leaders, William Dembski, ID is named as ‘The Bridge’ between Science and Theology: “If you’re going to reject a reigning paradigm,” he explains, “you have to have a new improved paradigm with which to replace it. Naturalistic evolution is the reigning paradigm.” (Intelligent Design: The Bridge, 1999, 119) Needless to say, Dembski believes the concepts of intelligent design represent an academic replacement for naturalistic evolution compatible with both science and theology. Given these outspoken relative sentiments about ID theory, can and should we believe that the IDM’s scientific revolutionary[2] declaration is practically possible? In this section we will make a brief inquiry on this topic.

Continue reading ‘The Intelligent Design Movement: Revolution or Repatriation?’

Big-ID vs. small-id – Flip-Flopping IDM-Style

One doesn’t need to read far into ‘Intelligent Design’ (Big-ID) theory literature to discover the Intelligent Design Movement’s (IDM’s) refusal to study the supposed ‘Designer(s)’ of that which is said by IDists to be ‘Designed.’ This fact lowers the explanatory power of their theory immensely, almost entirely, even if Big-IDists don’t wish to acknowledge it for ideological purposes.

An easy way to highlight this challenge is to speak of Big-ID and small-id, as I’ve done on this blog already. Discussion about this has also taken place in commentary at Uncommon Descent (UD), one of the IDM’s most popular blogs. Unfortunately, no consensus has yet been reached and thus no clarity to stop the waffling back and forth between the two terms. Likewise, no attempt to sort out when or even if capitalisation of ‘Intelligent Design’ is justified or if non-capitalisation of ‘intelligent design’ is always preferred or if the two linguistic expressions carry the same meaning has been made at UD. This could be done simply by dedicating a single thread to the issue. But for ideological purposes, this is likely not going to happen.

Continue reading ‘Big-ID vs. small-id – Flip-Flopping IDM-Style’


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E-mail: gregorisandstrom@yahoo.com

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