‘Consciousness and the Posthuman’


In his paper 
‘Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science-Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman’ (2006), William S. Haney II argues that “the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology” (Haney, 2006 p.VII). Consciousness is important in distinguishing between machine and organism, as physicist Jean Burns notes, humans have volition, which is associated with consciousness, while machines do not. Posthumanism can be defined as a “human-technology symbiosis” (Haney, 2006 p.2), and while there are many benefits to the biology-machine interface, there are also many potentially negative consequences, in particular, the possibility of irreversible damage to human nature through invasive biotechnologies. Posthumanism aims to extend the human experience by artificially enhancing our mental and physical capabilities, and in doing so may undermine human nature and consciousness which would have a devastating far-reaching effect on the human species.

One work of science-fiction which deals with consciousness and…

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