In Rosi Braidotti Rick Dolphijn (ed.), Philosophy After Nature. London - New York: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 99-119 (2017)

Authors
David Roden
Open University (UK)
Abstract
I distinguish two theses regarding technological successors to current humans (posthumans): an anthropologically bounded posthumanism (ABP) and an anthropologically unbounded posthumanism (AUP). ABP proposes transcendental conditions on agency that can be held to constrain the scope for “weirdness” in the space of possible posthumans a priori. AUP, by contrast, leaves the nature of posthuman agency to be settled empirically (or technologically). Given AUP there are no “future proof” constraints on the strangeness of posthuman agents. -/- In Posthuman Life I defended AUP via a critique of Donald Davidson’s work on intentionality and a “naturalistic deconstruction” of transcendental phenomenology (See also Roden 2013). In this paper I extend this critique to Robert Brandom’s account of the relationship between normativity and intentionality in Making It Explicit (MIE) and in other writings. -/- Brandom’s account understands intentionality in terms of the capacity to undertake and ascribe inferential normative commitments. It makes “first class agency” dependent on the ability to participate in discursive social practices. It implies that posthumans – insofar as they qualify as agents at all – would need to be social and discursive beings. -/- The problem with this approach, I will argue, is that it replicates a problem that Brandom discerns in Dennett’s intentional stance approach. It tells us nothing about the conditions under which a being qualifies as a potential interpreter and thus little about the conditions for meaning, understanding or agency. -/- I support this diagnosis by showing that Brandom cannot explain how a non-sapient community could bootstrap itself into sapience by setting up a basic deontic scorekeeping system without appealing (along with Davidson and Dennett) to the ways in which an idealized observer would interpret their activity. -/- This strongly suggests that interpretationist and pragmatist accounts cannot explain the semantic or the intentional without regressing to assumptions about ideal interpreters or background practices whose scope they are incapable of delimiting. It follows that Anthropologically Unbounded Posthumanism is not seriously challenged by the claim that agency and meaning are “constituted” by social practices. -/- AUP implies that we can infer no claims about the denizens of “Posthuman Possibility Space” a priori, by reflecting on the pragmatic transcendental conditions for semantic content. We thus have no reason to suppose that posthuman agents would have to be subjects of discourse or, indeed, members of communities. The scope for posthuman weirdness can be determined by recourse to engineering alone.
Keywords Brandom  Posthumanism  Interpretationism  Normativity of Meaning  Sellars  Accelerationism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Thought and Talk.Donald Davidson - 1975 - In Samuel D. Guttenplan (ed.), Mind and Language. Clarendon Press. pp. 1975--7.
Some Reflections on Language Games.Wilfrid Sellars - 1954 - Philosophy of Science 21 (3):204-228.
Thought and Talk.Donald Davidson - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
What is Computation?B. Jack Copeland - 1996 - Synthese 108 (3):335-59.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-03-05

Total views
1,371 ( #3,925 of 2,507,894 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
58 ( #14,164 of 2,507,894 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes