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Cyborgs, Between Organology and Phenomenology: Two Perspectives on Artifacts and Life

Abstract : Cyborgs are usually loosely defined as the adjunction of a mechanical device to an organism. These hybrid entities have triggered several philosophical comments on their nature: are they harmonious wholes (organism-like) or rather unstable couplings? This paper situates cyborgs between two rival traditions of interpretation: organology and phenomenology. In the ``organological'' tradition, tools are considered as biological organs, as mere extensions of life, or vital strategies evolved by the organisms striving to survive. In the ``phenomenological'' tradition, tools are approached from the standpoint of the user, as a significant means available to interact with the organism's environment. This paper argues against a broad conception of cyborgs for which all entities combining organic and mechanical components can be called ``cyborgs.'' I distinguish ``organorgs'' (or tool-using organisms) from an authentic ``cyborg'' perspective. While the organorg can easily change its tools, pick different instruments and instantly dispose of them, a true cyborg has its tools literally grafted to its organic parts so that the mechanical parts cannot properly be said to be ``used.'' The cyborg standpoint opens up new perspectives on prostheses and the enhancement of human bodies.
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Thierry Hoquet. Cyborgs, Between Organology and Phenomenology: Two Perspectives on Artifacts and Life. Loeve, Sacha and Guchet, Xavier and Bensaude Vincent, Bernadette. French Philosophy of Technology: Classical Readings and Contemporary Approaches, Springer International Publishing, pp.257--277, 2018, Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, 978-3-319-89518-5. ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-89518-5_16⟩. ⟨hal-02649900⟩



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