From agency to apperception: through kinaesthesia to cognition and creation

Ethics and Information Technology 10 (4):255-264 (2008)
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Abstract

My aim in this paper is to go some way towards showing that the maintenance of hard and fast dichotomies, like those between mind and body, and the real and the virtual, is untenable, and that technological advance cannot occur with being cognisant of its reciprocal ethical implications. In their place I will present a softer enactivist ontology through which I examine the nature of our engagement with technology in general and with virtual realities in particular. This softer ontology is one to which I will commit Kant, and from which, I will show, certain critical moral and emotional consequences arise. It is my contention that Kant’s logical subject is necessarily embedded in the world and that Kant, himself, would be content with this view as an expression of his inspired response to the ‘‘scandal to philosophy... that the existence of things outside us... must be accepted merely on faith’’ [Bxl]. In keeping with his arguments for the a priori framing of intuition, the a priori structuring of experience through the spontaneous application of the categories, the synthesis of the experiential manifold, and the necessity of a unity of apperception, I will present an enactivist account of agency in the world, and argue that it is our embodied and embedded kinaesthetic engagement in our world which makes possible the syntheses of apprehension, reproduction and recognition, and which, in turn, make possible the activity of the reproductive or creative imagination.

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