Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Philosophy, Animality and the Life Sciences$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Wahida Khandker

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676774

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676774.001.0001

Show Summary Details

From Animal-Machines to Cybernetic Organisms …

From Animal-Machines to Cybernetic Organisms …

Chapter:
(p.77) 4. From Animal-Machines to Cybernetic Organisms …
Source:
Philosophy, Animality and the Life Sciences
Author(s):

Wahida Khandker

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676774.003.0005

This chapter begins with Canguilhem's analyses of the study of what he refers to, broadly, as ‘nonlife’: this includes the specific example of the ‘carrier of heredity’ used by Darwin to underpin his theory of evolution by natural selection, prior to the discovery of the structure of DNA. Canguilhem refers to ‘scientific ideologies’ as ideas that although not empirically demonstrable in themselves have, historically, served as the foundations for a number of scientific theories. The displacement of questions of ‘source’ of life or ‘final cause’ of a living organism in favour of questions about the conditions under which an organism functions optimally (the science of physiology) is achieved through a ‘devitalization of life’: or a renewed conception of living processes from the perspective of non-living phenomena, such as the process of crystallization. As an elaboration of this process of the ‘devitalisation’ of life, the chapter introduces the work of Donna Haraway, in her analysis of the concept of immunity not only as the shift that occurs from hierarchically organised body to living bodies as coded texts, but also as the problematization of the self-identity, individuality, and readability of the body, which the study of genetics has provoked.

Keywords:   Ideology, Cybernetic, Heredity, Georges Canguilhem, Donna Haraway

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.