Friday, 22 May 2015

ICQI 2015 Day 3: Are We Post-Human?

I went to alot of different talks today..I worked out that in terms of clinical psychology USA is no further ahead than we are and made alot of new buddies, particularly community based researchers from Canada. We had a sharing circle of sorts, telling stories about where we come from, our work, the challenges of being an academic and lots of laughs.

In terms of content what struck me the most was a long workshop on what is being described as the new philosophical paradigm after post-modernism...Post-Humanism also called the New Empiricism or New Materialism, This is not a fad I hasten to add after some researching, but a growing movement in philosophy. It goes something like this.

So post-modernism challenged Logical Positivism, focussing on language and discourse, or diversity and the marginalised, rather than grand theories, determinism, colonisation.

Now the Post-Humanists are coming to see that we must re-engage with the material world, not just focus on discourse. We are embodied we also have relationships with inanimate objects as part of our process of meaning-making: technology, but also through hyper-consumerism and objects that give us meaning in our lives. In addition to this materialism as the breaking down of dualisms..between mind and body, animate and inanimate, self and other. Our "identities' are fluid, change and emerge as different all the time in relation to this assemblage described earlier.

So ontologically the focus used to be on reason, then on stories and language..now ..help! Im not sure

So lets have a practical example to make sense of it a little more

See this article  
excerpt...We argue, yes, in our new pamphlet The New Materialism: How our relationship with the material world can change for the better, published to coincide with Buy Nothing Day, if you embrace ‘stuff’ in a different way. Instead of rejecting the material world, which ‘hair shirt’ environmentalists are often accused of (ironically so, as they spend their days trying to protect it), the new materialism represents a more deeply pleasurable and respectful relationship to the material things that surround us. Having more stuff stopped making people in Britain happier decades ago

Here is another example..take a client i have whose depression is caught up inextricably with the internet.....he is in this sense experiencing a post-human dilemma,,who is he? Is his identity within him anymore? is his 'self' a product of the conglomeration of the net, his network online..the human-inanimate divide is no possible?

Lets see if really does become the next turn in road....certainly it related directly to a number of other things I been reading, particularly Lakoff's book on Embodiment, which argue for the dissolution of mind-body dualism and you can also see how it has affiliations with Bahktin's concepts relating to the 'self'.

Is it possible, however, that philosophers have just arrived  at an ancient place, non-dualism, visited by Taoism and Buddhism many centuries ago?

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