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Title: Technihil : the cultural import of cognitive neuroscience
Author: Lindblom, Jon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 5310
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis aims to speculate on the implications of neuroscientific resources on aesthetics and cultural production by drawing upon conceptual material provided by ‘90s and recent accelerationist theory and speculative philosophy. Following the work of Ray Brassier, it sees a plethora of untapped potencies in the objective image of cognition unveiled by modern neuroscience – which is contrasted with the anti-scientific stance concomitant with much Continental philosophy and critical theory. Focusing primarily on the registers of embodiment and experience in recent forms of corporeal phenomenology and affect theory, it is argued that their intellectual advocates generally share a commitment to the unobjectifiable nature of so-called ‘embodied’, or ‘lived’, experience which does not sit well with the neuroscientific project of objectification. Instead, the thesis utilizes Thomas Metzinger’s PSM-theory of selfhood and Brassier’s work on the speculative implications of nihilism, science, and technology in order to outline an alternative account of embodiment and experience compatible with the natural sciences. The intention is to create a form of critical theory which it is argued not only is better equipped for addressing modes of power and exploitation in the present, but also for constructing alternate scenarios of the future. These twin issues are addressed on the one hand through an engagement with Mark Fisher’s and Simon Reynolds’ work on ‘90s rave culture and its mutation into present forms of postmodern cultural and psychosocial malaise, and on the other hand through recent accelerationist attempts to rethink the program of acceleration according to revisionary modernist and post-capitalist ends. It is argued that a cognitive reformatting grounded in the revision and remaking of the human on the basis of an updated model of digital psychedelia and a popular modernist aesthetic of cognitive mapping is crucial for overcoming the cognitive lacuna that Fredric Jameson characterizes in terms of a late capitalist discontinuity between structure and experience – and which the thesis suggests currently stifles the ambitions of critical theory on the one hand and cultural production on the other – and thereby realizes the transformative potentials of techno-scientific objectification by augmenting and transforming the parameters of the human.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral