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Queering cognition :
b extended minds and sociotechnologically hybridized gender
h [electronic resource] /
by Michele Merritt.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
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Dissertation (PHD)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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ABSTRACT: In the last forty years, significant developments in neuroscience, psychology, and robotic technology have been cause for major trend changes in the philosophy of mind. One such shift has been the reallocation of focus from entirely brain-centered theories of mind to more embodied, embedded, and even extended answers to the questions, what are cognitive processes and where do we find such phenomena? Given that hypotheses such as Clark and Chalmers' (1998) Extended Mind or Hutto's (2006) Radical Enactivism, systematically undermine the organism-bound, internal, and static pictures of minds and allow instead for the distribution of cognitive processes among brains, bodies, and worlds, a worry that arises is that the very subject of cognitive science, the 'cognizer' will be hopelessly opaque, its mind leaking out into the world all over the place, thereby making it impossible to rein in and properly study. A seemingly unrelated and yet parallel trend has also taken place in feminist theorizing about the body over the last forty years. Whereas feminism of the 1970s and early 1980s tended to view 'the body' as the site and matter of biological sex, while gender was a more fluid and socially constituted mode of existence, more recent feminist theory has questioned the givenness of bodies themselves. In other words, rather than seeing gender categories as manifestations of the already given sexed body, thinkers such as Butler (2000) and Lorber (1992) argue that the very notion of a body is often a product of scientific inquiry, which is itself a product of the power structures aiming to maintain a rigid binary between feminine and masculine gender roles. If the world at large plays such a constitutive role in determining who we are, then this implies that the tools we use, the language we speak, and the power relationships in which we are enmeshed are components of what it means to be embodied in any genuine sense. For thinkers like Haraway (1988) the image of the cyborg is most fitting for this new understanding of embodied subjects, as the cyborg is a coupling of machine and human. Gender and even biological sex will always be a technologically hybridized 'monster' consisting of matter, machine, and mind. The overall aim of my project is thus to bring the two concurrent developments in theorizing about embodied subjects into discourse. As the cyborg features largely in recent feminist thought about embodiment, so too has it been a prominent metaphor in philosophy of mind, ever since Clark (2003) claimed that we ought to think of our 'selves' more appropriately as Natural-Born Cyborgs. I therefore focus on this imagery as I go on to make the argument that this distributed account of cognition as well as of sexual identity is more fruitful for making progress in understanding 'the human' more generally. Likewise, I argue that bringing the discussion of sex and gender into the arena of an otherwise asexual philosophy of mind, will shed light on some important facets of embodiment that have been overlooked but that ought to be addressed if we are to have an adequate account of 'the proper subject of cognitive science.' My chapters include 1) a survey of the discourse between science and philosophy of mind leading to these embodied and extended approaches, 2) a first attempt at defending the extended mind thesis, 3) a discussion of how even the supposed resolution to the objections raised against extended cognition fails to properly take into account just how problematic subjectivity is, regardless of its being defined entirely organismic or not, as organisms themselves are highly malleable and socially constituted, 4) an explanation concerning how the same problematization of embodied subjectivity is ongoing in feminist theory, especially considering the phenomenology of transgendered embodiment, intersex, and technologically mediated bodies, 5) further elaboration on technologically enhanced bodies, exposing what I see as a continuum between bodies modified by 'hard' technologies, such as implants, prostheses or surgeries, and those modified by 'soft' technologies, such as gender norms, the social gaze, and technologically mediated metacognition, and last, 6) an argument for the image of the cyborg to replace 'organism' in cognitive science, along with the corollary argument that cyborgs ought to represent not just embodied minds, but should also be the metaphor in attempting to understand 'embodiment' more generally, which must, at its roots, be underpinned by gender and sexual identity. I argue that the imagery is fitting for the proper study of cognitive subjects as well as sexed and gendered bodies, but moreover, that just as the cyborg suggests a blending and hybridizing of seemingly unrelated elements, so too should the two areas of inquiry, philosophy of mind and feminist theory, pay heed to one another's use of this imagery and themselves begin to be more integrative in their approaches.
Advisor: Rebecca Kukla, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Queering Cognition: Extended Minds and Sociotechnologically Hybridized Gender b y Michele Merritt A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Philosophy College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Co Major Professor : Rebecca Kukla, Ph.D. Co Major Professor: Shaun Gallagher, Ph.D. Alex Levine, Ph.D. Thomas Williams, Ph.D. Andy Clark, Ph.D. Date of Approval: October 14, 2010 Keywords: Embodied Cognition, Extended Cognition, Embodiment, Queer Theory, Technology, Cyborgs, Feminist Theory Copyright 2010, Michele Merritt
Dedication I dedicate this dissertation to Ellen Wagner, my mentor and friend, who continues to show me what it means to persevere in the face of adversity. Thank you for believing in me all those many years ago and for remaining one of my biggest fans. I would also like to thank my committee members, both for their academic and emotional support. Without all of your insights, criticism, and most importantly, your belief in my project, I could never have accomplished this. In addition to those in academia for whom I am grateful, I would also like to thank my family. There is no way on earth I would have had the courage and strength to unde rtake all of this work without your love and on many occasions, your financial support And to all of my friends it has meant so much to me to have you in my life. I never engage in such silliness. Last, I want to thank anyone who did not believe in me Without you, I would have no one to prove wrong.
i Table of Contents List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... iii Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... iv Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 1 Chapter 1: From Encapsulated to Extended: Situating Cognit ion over the Last Fifty Years ................................ ....................... 1 2 1.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ .......................... 1 2 1. 2 Someth ing on the State of the Parts ................................ ..................... 14 1. 3 The Virtues (and Vices) of Token Physi calism ................................ ... 24 1. 4 Embodiment, Cognitio n and Artificial Intelligence ............................. 36 1. 5 Conclusion: On the Path to Extended Minds ................................ ....... 48 Chapter 2: A Decade of Dissent: Defending and R e Defending the Extended Mind ................................ ................. 54 2.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ .......................... 54 2. 2 Non Derived Conte nt ................................ ................................ ........... 58 2. 3 Kinds of Causes ................................ ................................ ................... 65 2. 4 HOC: Moderate Resolution or Hasty Retreat? ................................ .... 74 2. 5 Conclusion: Problematizing Subjectivity is Every Concern ................................ ................................ ..... 78 Chapter 3: Not Just Any body : Bodies, Embod iment, Embodied Subjectivity ................................ ...................... 81 3 1 Introduction ................................ ................................ .......................... 81 3. 2 H aving Anybody, Being Somebody ................................ .................... 8 3 3. 3 Bod ily B reakdowns ................................ ................................ .............. 92 3.3.1 Deafferentation : The Story of Ian Waterman ....................... 93 3.3.2 Phantom Limbs ................................ ................................ ..... 98 3.3.3 Somatoparaphrenia ................................ ............................. 103 3.3.4 Anarchic Hand (or Limb) Syndrome ................................ .. 106 3.3.5 M bius Syndrome ................................ ............................... 107 3. 4 Toward a P h enomenology of Bodily Having ................................ .... 109 3. 5 Ownership and Agency at the Reflecti ve and Pre reflective Levels ................................ ............ 11 0 3. 6 Conclus ion: Soft Assembled S ubjects ................................ ............... 1 15
ii Chapter 4: Sexing Embodiment: The Phenomenology of Gender, S e x, and Sexuality ................................ ........... 1 19 4.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ........................ 1 19 4. 2 Lived Bodies and Lifeworlds ................................ ............................. 12 3 4. 3 Girl Bodies ................................ ................................ ......................... 13 0 4. 4 Sexed Schemas? ................................ ................................ ................. 1 47 Chapter 5: Transgressed Binaries: Body Image and Subjectivi ty in Transge nder Embodiment ................................ 1 57 5.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ........................ 1 57 5. 2 Inner Selves, Outer Bodies, and the Construct i on of a Disorder ................................ ........................... 1 61 5. 3 Queer Theory and the Fi gure of the Transgender Body .................... 1 71 5. 4 Im agining the Transgender Body ................................ ....................... 1 83 Chapter 6: The Tec hnology of Queered Cognition ................................ .......................... 195 6.1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ........................ 195 6. 2 (Ex)Change Artists and Bodily Queering ................................ .......... 198 6. 3 Hard and Soft, Opaque an d Transparent: Technolo gy Above and Below the Radar ................................ .... 206 6. 4 The Ultimate Artifact ................................ ................................ ......... 213 6. 5 When One is Too Few and Two is Too Many: Haraw ................................ ................................ ....... 218 6. 6 The Sociotechnological Hybridization of Gender and the Construction of Human Nature ................................ ....... 2 23 Conclusion: Post Cyborgs? ................................ ................................ .............................. 2 30 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 23 3
iii List of Figures Figure 1.1: Depiction of Heider and Simmel Experiment ................................ ................. 20 Figure 1.2: Rodney Brooks and Cog ................................ ................................ .................. 41 ................................ ................................ ..................... 41 Figure 1.4: Kismet ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 43 Figure 1.5 Leonardo ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 43 ................................ ................................ .......... 45 Figure 6.1: The Many Faces of Orlan ................................ ................................ .............. 19 8 Fig ................................ ................................ ......................... 20 2 Fi ................................ ................................ ....................... 20 2
iv Abstract In the last forty years, signifi cant developments in neuroscience, psychology, and robotic technology have been cause for major trend changes in the philosophy of mind. One such shift has been the reallocation of focus from entirely brain centered theories of mind to more embodied, embed ded, and even extended answers to the questions, what are cognitive processes and where do we find such phenomena? Given that hypotheses Extended Mind Radical Enactivism, systematically undermine the org anism bound, internal, and static pictures of minds and allow instead for the distribution of cognitive processes among brains, bodies, will be hopelessly opaque, its mind leaking out into the world all over the place, thereby making it impossible to rein in and properly study. A seemingly unrelated and yet parallel trend has also taken place in feminist theorizing about the body over the last forty years. Where as feminism of the 1970s and gender was a more fluid and socially constituted mode of existence, more recent feminist theory has questioned the givenness of bodies themse lves. In other words, rather than seeing gender categories as manifestations of the already given sexed body, thinkers such as Butler (2000) and Lorber (1992) argue that the very notion of a body is often a product of scientific inquiry, which is itself a product of the power structures aiming to maintain a rigid binary between feminine and masculine gender roles. If the world at large plays
v such a constitutive role in determining who we are, then this implies that the tools we use, the language we speak, a nd the power relationships in which we are enmeshed are components of what it means to be embodied in any genuine sense. For thinkers like Haraway (1988) the image of the cyborg is most fitting for this new understanding of embodied subjects, as the cyborg is a coupling of machine and human. Gender and even machine, and mind. The overall aim of my project is thus to bring the two concurrent developments in theorizin g about embodied subjects into discourse. As the cyborg features largely in recent feminist thought about embodiment, so too has it been a prominent metaphor in philosophy of mind, ever since Clark (2003) claimed that we ought to think of our e appropriately as Natural Born Cyborgs I therefore focus on this imagery as I go on to make the argument that this distributed account of cognition as well as of gener ally. Likewise, I argue that bringing the discussion of sex and gender into the arena of an otherwise asexual philosophy of mind, will shed light on some important facets of embodiment that have been overlooked but that ought to be addressed if we are to h ave My chapters include 1) a survey of the discourse between science and philosophy of mind leading to these embodied and extended approaches, 2) a first attempt at defending the extended mind thesis, 3) a discussion of how even the supposed resolution to the objections raised against extended cognition fails to properly take into account just how problematic subjectivity is, regardless of its being defined entirely organismic or not,
vi as or ganisms themselves are highly malleable and socially constituted, 4) an explanation concerning how the same problematization of embodied subjectivity is ongoing in feminist theory, especially considering the phenomenology of transgendered embodiment, inter sex, and technologically mediated bodies, 5) further elaboration on technologically enhanced bodies, exposing what I see as a continuum between bodies technologies, such as gender norms, the social gaze, and technologically mediated metacognition, and last, 6) an argument for the image of the cyborgs ought to repres ent not just embodied minds, but should also be the metaphor in underpinned by gender and sexual identity. I argue that the imagery is fitting for the proper study of cognit ive subjects as well as sexed and gendered bodies, but moreover, that just as the cyborg suggests a blending and hybridizing of seemingly unrelated elements, so too should the two areas of inquiry, philosophy of mind and feminist theory, pay heed to one an integrative in their approaches.
1 Introduction used, and mostly ad hoc Andy Clark of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and Donna Haraway In a short but now infamously contentious paper entitled The Extended Mind (1998) Andy Clark and David Chalmers begin by po sing a rather simple question: Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin? Their question, although seemingly uncomplicated, in fact marks the beginning of over a decade of debates, publications, and conferences devoted to suitably answering the supposedly straightforward query regarding the location of cognition. The thesis they put forth, Extended Cognition, is itself a radical shift in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In particular, the last fifty years have witnessed the gradu al reallocation of focus from entirely brain centered theories of mind to more embodied, embedded, and eventually extended approaches to studying the mind. Hypotheses such as the ones Clark and Chalmers suggest, or similarly, Radical Ena ctivism, systematically undermine the organism bound, internal, and static pictures of cognition and allow instead for the distribution of cognitive processes among brains, bodies, and worlds. Worries arise, however, concerning precisely what the subject o f cognitive science will turn out to look like; namely, as leaking out into the world all over the place, thereby making it impossible to rein in and properly study. In response to these objections, Clark (2003) for example, has argued that
2 despite apparent difficulties associated with studying such a subject, it really is more biological too ls, and language. In other words, when answering the question concerning where concerning what we are, Clark suggests, the best way to conceive of ourselves is as blending of organism and artifact or more precisely, as cyborgs. Around the same time The Extended Mind was published, in the opposite corner of the academic universe, we find the feminist theorist, Donna Haraway (1991), asking: Why should our bodies end at the s kin, or include at best other beings encapsulated by skin? Cyborg Manifesto differs importantly from previous feminist theory insofar as it stands as a point upon constituted mode of existence, more r ecent feminist theory has questioned the givenness of bodies themselves. Thinkers such as Haraway and Judith Butler (1992) argue that the very notion of a body is often a product of scientific inquiry, which is itself a product of the power structures aimi ng to maintain a rigid binary between feminine and masculine gender roles. If the world at large plays such a constitutive role in determining who we are, then this implies that the tools we use, the language we speak, and the power relationships in which we are enmeshed are components of what it means to be embodied in any genuine sense. For thinkers like Haraway (1988) the image of the cyborg is most fitting for this new understanding of embodied subjects, as the cyborg is a coupling of
3 machine and human. Gender and even biological sex will always be a technologically Given these similar although unrelated reevaluations of who we are, concurrent in philosophy of mind and feminist theory, it is my aim in this project to bring the two developments in theorizing about embodied subjects into discourse. As the cyborg features largely in recent feminist thought about embodiment, so too has it been a prominent metaphor in philosophy of mind, ever since Clark claimed that we ought to Natural Born Cyborgs I therefore focus on this imagery as I go on to make the argument that this distributed account of cognition as well as of sexual identity is more fruitful fo into the arena of an otherwise asexual philosophy of mind, will shed light on some important facets of embodiment that have been overlooked but that ought to be addressed The first chapter surveys the last nearly fifty years in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. My aim in this opening chapte r, however, is not purely exegetical. Instead, the discussion is tailored toward exposing an oversight made by nearly all theories of mind to date namely, how body and situation shape and perhaps even constitute cognition. Specifically, I point out the f laws typically associated with behaviorism, type physicalism, and token physicalism. Although each is problematic in its own unique way behaviorism runs the risk of too liberally ascribing cognition to otherwise non cognitive entities, and type physicali sm is often accused of what Ned
4 functionalism can actually be guilty of both of these charges all three of these attempts to explain what cognition is and how it arises take for granted a crucial third element. By looking at recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), for instance, it becomes apparent that where cognition is occurring is assumed at the outset to be solely internal to the organism, or the robot as the case may be in AI research. It is this supposition that that plagues philosophers, psychologists, and roboticists in trying to come up with a suitable understanding of how cognition works and how we might come to duplicate it in a non human machine. It is not until theories of embodied cognition (cf. Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991) begin to be taken seriously that we find proper attention not just to the body itself, but to embodiment or how the body is situated in its environment, how the world shows up through the body, and how the body actually shapes how we think. It was Gibson and antecedent to this phil osophical movement, in addition to the phenomenologists of the early to mid twentieth century, in particular, Merleau Ponty (1962). These accounts of cognition set the stage for one of the most radical, yet, as I argue, most plausible hypotheses regarding precisely where we ought to locate the mind. Pushing what it means to characterize the mind as embodied, situated, and enacted conclusion, it becomes less and less clear where the mind stops and the external world begins. In other words, by examining how the environment can and most often does shape the way we think, a case can be made that certain p arts of that world in particular, tools that we employ to help ourselves think should be considered as parts of our minds.
5 In chapter 2, therefore, I spend a great deal of time fleshing out the hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC) and I rehearse so me of the difficulties with accepting the view that cognition is a distributed process spanning biological organism and non biological circuitry (cf. Clark, 2008, 2003; Clark and Chalmers, 1998). The chief aim of this chapter is to highlight the strengths of the HEC while attempting to adequately reply to some of the more challenging objections, namely, that cognition is driven by non kind, which disallows for its being constituted by an unruly and motley crew of processes, the mergers and couplings of which could never (2010; 2008) replies to these objections to some extent, I also argue that his most recent the hypothesis of organism centered cognition (HOC) is too large a seems to be giving up the original thesis altogether. Furthermore, by problematizing what Rupert has claimed must be the proper subject of cognitive science the subject itself it is clear that even centering cognition on a organism is dubious because t hat biological entity is only one component of a much larger and much more complicated story about embodied subjectivity. Developing an account of embodiment and cognitive subjectivity is the focus of the third chapter. First, by adopting Shaun Gallagher body image and the body schema, we are able to account more phenomenologically for the way the body shows up in experience. In particular, my body can be a reflective object of my perception and thought that is, I can im agine it or, it can be lived
6 through, pre reflectively, via a motor program executed below the level of explicit awareness. Likewise, in non pathological embodiment, I typically maintain a sense of ownership and a sense of agency embodied intentions for action and execution of that action. But just as I am able to a potentiality for detachment that cognitive I am also able to dissociate from my own body. To see how this is possible, I look at several cases of ultitude of levels and can be captured by a variety of phenomenological descriptions; it can be constituted reflectively and pre reflectively and can involve robust ownership and agency, only one of these dimensions, or potentially neither of them. This m ultifarious phenomenology of subjectivity generally at home pathological embodiment, is a constantly present feature of cognition. At the end of chapter three, I suggest comparing the body to other tools we use, in particular, regarding cases of breakdown. Just as I can dissociate from my body if I have, say soma toparaphrenia so too can I take a hammer to be wholly other to me, whereas, in pre reflective, non pathological, body schematic action, the hammer, much like the rest of my body is not present at hand It is rather an incorporated and integral component t o the larger system of hammering; and similarly, when I perform actions with my body, so long as I am not experiencing any dysphoria with any parts of it, I do not explicitly
7 represent it as an object to be manipulated. Indeed, I + my body are one system. So too, I argue, should we count me + my prosthetic limb, a blind man + his cane, and Otto + his notebook. That is, when the coupled system, at the pre reflective level, does not show up as two or more disparate objects, but rather, as one unified subject performing an action, the whole system should count as cognitive. This claim concerning embodied subjectivity that it is constituted at the pre reflective and reflective levels, both as a unified and as a hybrid system is carried over into chapter 4, where I suggest that we ought to consider the ways in which sex, gender, and sexuality figure into embodied cognition and subjectivity more generally. For one, science Likewise, as I argue, if we are to achieve a comprehensive account of cognitive subjectivity, it makes little sense to leave out a discussion of one of the very few sexed and gendered person, although of course, the specifics of these identifications can and do change. The argument I defend in this chapter begins with the premise that sexual identity, although much more tied to biological anatomy than something like gender roles or sexual orientation, remains highly contingent upon embodied practices rather than strictly on body parts. In other words, it is only through the lens of sexual reproduction, which is itself based on a narrative of sexual reproduction. Furthermore, by examining what Merleau Ponty (1968) has to say regarding the 1) just as malleable and s ocially informed as the body in its gendered identity and thus, 2)
8 through reflective body schematic level of awareness. Instead, by looking at examples provided by feminist phenomenologists such as Iris Young (20 05) and Elizabeth Grosz (1994), we see that very little about female bodies translates into hardwired facts about female embodiment Despite arguments made by psychologists such as Straus (1966) concerning the anatomy of female bodies as precluding certain actions and confidence, the case is stronger, I claim, on the side of the feminist phenomenologists, who, like Gallagher (2005), recognize the role of body image Grosz, gender identity in the form of a body image reflective body in achieves meaning only insofar as we can juxtapose this mode of cognition to some i.e. boy thinking if we want to say there is such a thing also alters. In short, the claim that there is anything inherently true and necessary of female embodiment based solely on facts about the biological organism is weak to say the least. However, as chapter 5 will explore, it is not so easy to simply dismiss all notions nherent gender identity. In particular, by looking at Gender Identity Disorder, Intersex Embodiment, and Transgender Embodiment, there are reasons phenomenological descr iption. The chapter begins with the proposal that the dysphoria experienced by persons who feel trapped in the wrong body can be likened to the phenomenology of the bodily pathologies discussed in chapter 3 in other words, we
9 might say that in cases of G is misaligned with his or her body schema, or that there has been a disruption in the sense of agency, ownership, or both. Examining narratives from transgendered persons is one way to affirm that this intuition might provide an accurate explanation, but the problem remains that among the narratives, as well as the medical and scientific discourse gendered identit y is somehow independent from the reality of the flesh itself. The modes of dissociative embodiment is often surgery i.e. altering a body that was presupposed to have no In order to address these concerns, I turn from purely phenomenological descriptions to the theoretical underpinnings of what has now come to be known as Transgender Studies. To this end, a detailed account of Queer Theory and its treatment of transgender as a motif for the subversion of traditional conceptions of sex and gender figure of transgender serves to illum inate the performative nature of all gender, we can come to think of the supposed binaries characterizing sex and gender as fluid, figurative, and eminently transgressable, much like I argue, in previous chapters, we ought to think rally. With Queer Theory as a point of reference, I return to the proposal made earlier in the chapter and suggest that within the field of Transgender Studies, there is evidence that trans theorists would support the notion that a misalignment of body ima ges is the best way to characterize the overarching
10 rendering of Queer Theory is particularly useful here, as it 1) allows for a conception of gender identity disorder th at resists an unpalatable Cartesianism, 2) helps to further refine and clarify the discussion of body image and body schema as they are proposed by philosophers such as Gallagher (2005) in order to weave sex and gender into an otherwise y of mind, and 3) sheds light on all embodied subjectivity and how it is constituted in terms of sex and gender. It is this last point upon which I close chapter exte nt this necessary yet eminently malleable facet of embodiment augments what we The final chapter begins by drawing an analogy; namely, just as the natural/unnatural divide serves as a myth to juxtapose non transsexual with transsexual, eminently dissociable, and yet always already technological nature of cognitive su bjectivity. To defend this claim, I argue that we ought to conceive of gender as a form of technology. If we do, then it is clear from chapters 4 and 5 that we are always already other to us; or, in Heideggerean terms, gender might show up as present at hand, a that from which I dissociate. To see why we ought to consider gender to be a technology, I further in conceived as technological in nature that is, they add to, aide, and augment human cognition. Based on this much more liberal notion of what counts as technology, to gether
11 with the idea that gender is a form of technology we are always already coupled with, human machine symbionts language, and now to blend not only human and machine, but is also a call for the blending of theori es and practices surrounding feminist theory, which itself should be thought of as a hybrid. Most importantly, Haraway adds to the discussion so far, something I claim is missing even in R idea that genuine decoupling from our technology is not possible, as it wrongly assumes that there were original, non technological wholes prior to this coupling. Because gender is one of the for the cyborg to biotechnological but a sociotechnological hybridization as well.
12 Chapter 1 From Encapsulated to Extended: Situating Cognitio n over the Last Fifty Years This is Descartes' error: the abyssal separation between body and mind, between the sizable, dimensioned, mechanically operated, infinitely divisible body stuff, on the one hand, and the unsizable, undimensioned, un pushpullabl e, nondivisible mind stuff; the suggestion that reasoning, and moral judgment, and the suffering that comes from physical pain or emotional upheaval might exist separately from the body. Antonio 1.1 Introduction Shaun Gallaghe r (2008) has recently provided a rich account of the historical underpinnings of situated cognition in the hopes of situating as it were, the current trend in philosophy of mind and cognitive science, which has shifted its focus from brains and encapsulat ed egos to organism environment systems. His approach is not purely simple historical guide but to suggest that there are still some untapped resources in these past p the same spirit as Gallagher, this chapter is intended to provide an account of recent trends in philosophy of mind, a field that now finds itself at a strange impasse. M y aim in doing so is not just to illustrate the historical progression of ideas; indeed, such a project could conceivably tell several distinct stories about many protracted battles: eliminativists vs. reductionists, non reductive vs. reductive physicalist s, and of course, the myriad of debates over the possibility of artificial intelligence, and these are just to name a few. Instead, the story I want to tell focuses on a specific facet of this historical trajectory,
13 namely, the way in which a suitable theo ry of embodiment has been systematically overlooked and avoided, at least until the very recent past few years. Examining this oversight will make clear why the particular impasse I have in mind that between the internalist and the externalist is a cul minating point, one upon which many of the other disagreements just mentioned eventually converge. In the wake of anti Cartesian metaphysics, militant physicalism, and the neuroscientific revolution, one might expect that in the place of immaterial mind s and free wills would be instead detailed accounts of bodies. What we tend to find however, is remains on the sidelines; it is assumed to be a necessary component of cognitio n, but this is typically all the thought given to human embodiment. It is taken for granted, in other words, that human minds have human bodies. This contemporary neglect of the body is not unlike the way Descartes 1 treated it so long ago. Despite his weak proof that bodies actually exist, even he was well aware of their intimate connection with minds; he simply failed to explain that connection properly. I want to suggest that this failure is not specific to Descartes, but is endemic to much of contemporar y cognitive science, insofar as it affirms the importance of embodiment and yet fails to account for its role in cognition. Again, nearly everyone 2 explanation of how and to what extent this i s the case that is the real source of disparity. And although I think the so called mind body problem has changed very little in this way since Descartes, I do intend to argue that the focus has shifted from a debate regarding 1 See in particular, Mediation VI, Ariew and Cress, ed. 2 Cert ain forms of cognition, in particular, social cognition, might however, turn out to have little to no dependence on the body itself per se, but more on embodied interaction. (cf. Goldman & de Vignemont, 2009)
14 what minds are what they ar e made of, what sorts of things they do, and so forth to a debate concerning where if we are willing to count parts of an otherwise external world as proper parts of the mind. 1. 2 Someth ing on the State of the Parts Dualism and in strict mind brain identity, philosophy of mind was split into two factions of materialist monism. Some chose, as Ryle did, to maint ain some version of 1968) chose to refine and defend mind brain identity in the name of parsimony. To be sure, these two options are not exhaustive, but their complementary strengths, weaknesses, and ultimate failures, along with the concurrent advances in computing, provide a space from which functionalism as an alternative explanati on of cognition can easily make advances. The purpose of this project is not merely historical however, and readers. Thus, I will gloss over many of the details of this history, hig hlighting instead what I take to be significant for the purpose of ultimately exposing a flaw not just common to behaviorism and mind brain identity, but to functionalism itself as well. As Fodor (1981) notes, one facet of logical behaviorism that makes it particularly appealing is its ability to explain mental causation. Appealing to material monism of any sort sidesteps the intractable problem of interaction between material and immaterial substances, but more importantly, explaining mentality in terms of observable behavior
15 behavior given sufficient historical information about thei r reactions to environmental in one given way or another depends on certain dispositions, which are themselves products of environmental history. Skinnerian and Ryleia n behaviorism alike avoid the pitfalls of the causal nexuses between immaterial and material as well as between inner fridge to obtain a beverage, this behavior (the obs ervable physical effect) is said to be caused by a dispositional state, namely, that when I desire a drink and the fridge is in close proximity to me, I will be disposed to walk over to it and procure a beverage. The etiology is captured quite simply by or dinary language, language which, as the positivists would have it, is freed from metaphysical obscurity. Mental states cause physical states by dint of 1) their both being physical phenomena and 2) the antecedent mental states themselves being behavioral d ispositions which tend to bring about the corresponding outward behavior. One concern with behaviorism is the perhaps insuperable difficulty it faces in (1959) painting example compellingly illustrates, the human mind seems eminently explanatory model for human behavior, Chomsky highlights that while we might be able to develop syst prior history, there is nothing in that personal history which entails a specific verbal
16 behavior in response to a painting. Taking linguistic behavior as a specific mode in which predi ctability is limited provides this insight: given universal structures of all human language, such as infinite generativity and recursivity, 3 it can be said that language itself is unpredictable and hence, human employment of it will depend not solely on p rior use, or even simply on some dispositional state, but also on the specifics of the situation. As the painting example illustrates, we can at best approximate a general list of typical responses for each person who views the painting, based on their pri or reactions to art or their current dispositional state. However, if person A is viewing Painting X under a variety of different circumstances, e.g., at one museum versus another, with a large group of artists or with a gaggle of schoolchildren, or if per son A is trying to impress person B who is also viewing the painting, the set of responses grows in complexity. Chomsky argues that it would be impossible to predict responses with 100% accuracy. t, concerns about pragmatics and sociolinguistic markers, the issue is further complicated by considerations such as what would make a response useful for each possible scenario, what would be polite or impolite in each context, and moreover, what sorts of responses might be viorism on linguistic grounds points to a unique status that language holds in terms of behavior. Language is walking purposefully towards the door as Chomsky (1957) su ccessfully demonstrates 3 Cf. Chomsky, 1965, in particular, Chapter Thr ee: Deep Structures and Grammatical Transformations
17 our to ability utilize and understand a language involves an often tacit awareness of structures that underlie the surface structures we encounter. For example, when I begin stringing together clauses and phrases with conjunctions whilst recounting a story to a friend, I have an implicit understanding that this process could go on indefinitely. Indeed, the longest sentence in any language is impossible to conceive, hence, a universal principle governing all languages, namely, that they are infinitely generative. literally unobservable, and yet, structures and principles such as these must certainly be part of the overall story of how we come to be competent users of a language. To put it briefly, language manifests itself as more than mere behavior. In other words, if Chomsky is right, then behaviorism misconstrues language on two grounds: first, while some aspects of language are behavioral, it i s wrong to claim that language just is another behavior. Second, if linguistic rules are the means by which linguistic behavior as well as other observable behaviors are often generated, and these linguistic rules, while being universal and finite at the d eep level, allow for an infinite and unpredictable set of surface constructions, then the further claim that all behavior should be predictable given enough Chomsky is the demotion from a theory that can explain all observable behavior to one that at best, can explain some of it some of the time. Yet, another worry for behaviorism that has arguably been successfully solved by alternative theories is its inabili ty to account for causation between mental states. While focusing all of their attention on how dispositions are causal antecedents for observable behavior, behaviorists overlook the possibility of unobservable behavior, as well as the
18 houghts often cause other thoughts. The assumption that all behavior is manifest through external bodily movement or speech is a hasty move at best, but perhaps the most damning feature of logical behaviorism is that the brain and central nervous system (C NS) are effectively left out of the discussion. To be sure, behaviorists are not interested in the nervous system, or they at least think it is of little use in understanding behavior; as Skinner argues, regarding a discrete behavioral response: We shall know the precise neurological conditions which immediately precede, say, the preceded by othe r neurological events, and these in turn by others. This series will lead us back to events outside the nervous system and, eventually, outside sought in the nervous system are, therefore, of limited usefulness in the predi ction and control of specific behavior [1953; 38]. Thus, the appeal to overt behavior assu mes that all antecedents of outward behavior are eventually traceable back to other outwardly observable behavior the CNS causes, if they count as causes at all, are intermediate and unimportant. Even more unfounded is the assumption that all behavior mu st be of the global, outwardly recongnizable, external variety. On a very coarse grained analysis, it might be true that one behavior can cause another, but then there is nothing to prevent us from refining our understanding of behavior to include things l ike the behaviors of neurons, somatosensory systems, and so forth, all of which are partially responsible for causing the more easily recognized outer importance is a pr oductive strategy, but for now, at this point in the historical other thoughts or even outward behavior is tantamount to claiming that it matters not what is going
19 screen and people viewing these otherwise mindless objects readily attribute mentality to them simpl behaviorism. Figure 1 is an image of one frame from the original video, in which the circle and triangles have been tracing a wild pattern around the large rectangular shape, which itself remains relatively still, except for one of its sides which swings back and movement; for example, upon seeing two shapes move together, one preceding the other u ntil eventually stopping behind the rectangle, subjects claim that these two shapes are of some sort, would prevent a normal embodied human, at certain angles, from seeing what is behind it. This is precisely what happens in the experiment; before long, the ely disregard the inner causes of behavior, the logical consequence of behaviorism as an explanatory mechanism is to allow anything whose outward behavior is characteristically
20 Figure 1 .1: Depiction of Heider and Simmel Experiment. Visual r epresentation of the short video played for experimental participants. The shapes move about the screen, going in and out of the large box and emotional state and corresponding behavior is attributed. One of my students, upon viewing this video, went so far as to conjecture that a love affair was ongoing with two of the shapes and in this scene, the third has found them out and then goes into a manic rage, finally breaking down the From: Heider, F. and Simmel, M. (1944). An experimental study of apparent behaviour. American Journal of Psychology, 57, 243 259. In contrast with tradi tional behaviorism, central state identity theory allows for internally caused mental states by simply identifying them with brain states or processes. In the name of parsimony, Smart (1959) for example, advocates a strict mind brain identity whereby any m ental process or sensation just is a brain process. This identity is argued to be a metaphysical claim about the nature of the mind and not necessarily a semantic one. In other words, if Jones is hungry, this does not mean the same thing as Jones is having this or that brain process, even if the two events described are in fact one and the same. By addressing this point, Smart is able to respond to objections that stem from the rather crucial observation that I might have a lack of epistemic access to my ow n brain processes but have perfectly transparent access to my beliefs, desires, and motivations.
21 While mind brain identity appears to explain what behaviorism could not, it is not without its own set of problems. For one, the role of the brain is moved n ot just back onto center stage, but is now the only relevant player in the entire story. We might question, for example, whether the rest of the sensorimotor system plays any role in cognition, or if mind brain identity can be forced into an untenable scen ario in which thought the very same kind of activity that embodied agents engage in is possible for beings without next section, but there is a corollary conc ern, which is evident if we consider just how difficult it is to perform metaphysical reductions without simultaneously performing intertheoretic one. As Fodor (1981) notes, because Smith is in pain does not mean the same thing as Smith has X brain state, identity theory allows us to talk about psychological types generally, at a level of abstraction from brain states. In other words, while minds and brains might just be the same entities, both psychology and neurobiology remain vital and necessary science s, as they concern themselves with two very distinct theoretical stances towards a single entity. And yet, the very element of mind brain identity that its proponents praise it for, its parsimony, would seem to suggest that if we can have one unified theor y of mind, then this would be even simpler than the dual theoretical identity originally proffered by Smart and other central state identity theorists. In other words, mind brain identity runs up against this dilemma: either take parsimony so seriously t hat the end goal really is one unified theory of mind call it neurobiology or carve up mental states in such a way that a single brain process could very rarely if ever be identified strictly with the more global mental process. Although I
22 face many ob Something on the State of the Art, is that it forces mind bran identity into either an eliminative materialist or an entirely non reductive physicalist p osition. Thus, if one wants to avoid internal inconsistencies of Churchland style (cf. 1986, 1981) intertheoretic elimination as well as avoid being forced into some sort of epiphenomenalism or property dualism (cf. Chalmers, 1996), then it would seem that one ought to steer clear of mind brain identity. On the one hand, as I mentioned earlier, the simplest theory of mind would seem to be the one that explains the most with as little work as possible. If it turns out to be true that neuroscience can actuall y tell us everything we need to know about minds, to the point that all mentality can be understood in terms of brain processes, thesis. Much like other once poorly understood phenomena (the theory of phlogiston being eliminated by the theory of combustion, e.g.), when we learn that there is a better the newer, actually true one. We simply eliminate our pr evious framework, as it has been deemed false. I happen to think that neuroscience is not a complete science of cognition, and I will defend this position throughout this project. While eliminative materialism might in fact allow for a complete science of the brain assuming that this is all there is to In other words, while behaviorists suffer from brain neglect, eliminativists seem to suffer from the inverse mania, brain obsession. On the other hand, if we take seriously the idea that global psychological states, such as pain, might be realized in various ways that are not always entirely captured by
23 simple identification of an exact brain process, then we face eve n more worries. What is strict identity then if Smith can be in pain and Jones can be in pain, but the two of them have different types of brain processes occurring? The typical reaction to type identity is actually that it does not allow for other life fo rms or other species to share in the same global mental types if they do not have the requisite brain processes, but I think the problem runs even deeper than this. Even intra exact same types of brain processes, then either we cannot be having the same type of mental process, or we do and strict identity does not hold. If we are not having the same and you assert the same feeling, then one of us is simply wrong about in what we are experiencing. This is problematic for identity theses, but even more vexing would be accepting the other disjunct, that perhaps type identity just does not hold of many global mental states. The identity theorist is ultimately therefore confronted with either rejecting the occurrence a vast array of mental phenomena that resist strict identification with specific brain processes, or worse, she must reject strict mind brain identity altogether, fa voring the phenomenology of non reductive mental states, whilst giving up the core of the original theory. Of course, the dilemma might be avoided if our constraints on identity are not so strong, namely, if it remains the case that mental types are alway s identical to some physical types of process, but they need not always map isomorphically mean that every mental event is some physical event, but that these physical e vents onto which mental events must always be mapped are not necessarily type specific, then perhaps there is a third option for identity theory.
24 1. 3 The Virtues (and Vices) of Token Physicalism The sort of physicalism put forth by central state identi ty theorists, is most properly thought of as type physicalism, or the thesis that every mental type is a physical type. Another way to put it would be to say that since the world is wholly physical, then minds must be physical as well, but more specificall y, that all mental processes are identical to natural kinds, which are themselves physical objects or processes. For example, microsaccades of the eye might constitute a natural kind of eye movement. 4 Thus, when you and I both look at an object, our eye mo vements are two distinct tokens of that one physical type of eye movement. In terms of minds then, this is a highly restrictive notion of what gets to count as this or that mental process. If pain is defined as the firing of C fibers, then any creature, ma chine, or entity that does not have the requisite physical process, will ipso facto not be in the mental state of pain. On the other hand, token physicalism makes a weaker claim insofar as it holds that each mental token is identical to a physical token. This does not necessarily imply that there are no longer natural kinds under a token physicalist picture, but if there are, they will most likely be redefined in terms of their functional roles. For instance, a heart might in fact constitute a natural kin d of organ, but only insofar as its function is to pump blood through the body. Hence, if we invent an artificial heart, even if it is not type identical to many other versions of hearts in the world, the token physicalist will have no qualms with calling it a heart. Likewise, mental types might indeed turn out to be realized exactly one physical token, which means that C fiber firing might be a strong indicator of 4 For a detailed discussion of these eye movements and their necessary involvement in perception, hence, cognition, see Martinez Conde, et al, 2009; Martinez Conde, 2009; Tronosco, et al, 2008.
25 pain, but it might be 1) that other physical mechanisms can realize pain hence the brain processes are not always necessary for the specified mental processes and 2) there might be instances of C fiber firing without an experience of pain thus, C fib er firing is not always sufficient for experiencing pain. All seems well for token physicalism, except upon closer examination, it really is just a dressed up version of the very general material monist claim that all things in the universe, including mi nds, are material. If we all agree that the world is comprised only of physical things then the real goal of philosophy of mind and cognitive science is not to determine what a mind is this has been answered by the unanimous rejection of Cartesianism but i nstead, we are seeking to provide an explanation of how mentality is constituted, what sorts of physical things, collections of things, or processes ought to be called cognitive. Given this much more specific aim then, token physicalism is about as informa tive as claiming that all matter is material. If however, we can come up with specific functional specifications for the sorts of physical processes that are supposed to ecisely one of the virtues of token physicalism it allows for the possibility of cognition being explained more in terms of function rather than physicality. This is because unlike type physicalism, which usually entails that mental types and physical ty pes are both natural kinds relegating all phenomena to the natural world, but does not insist that the feeling of hunger is so specific as to warrant it only being realized b y brain state X. The benefit of open and dynamic system rather than as the encapsulated, skull ensconced brain, the
26 latter of which is so often portrayed as a reifie (1959), Armstrong (1968), Hill (2001), and other strict mind brain identity theorists have argued, unambiguously, to be in a pa rticular mental state just is to be in a particular brain state. To be fair, however, even the strict mind brain identity theorists will clumsily refer 5 Hence, it stands to reason that they recognize that the b rain is full of processes C fiber firing being one paradigm case of such an event. Nevertheless, the brain itself is portrayed a closed system. Once again, the charitable interpretation would be to say that this is precisely how mind brain identity is de fined, and hence, the possibility, for example, that mental processes might be constituted by the interaction between brains, bodies, and environments, or that mental processes might be realized in a variety of physical mechanisms, some of which might not even involve a biological brain, is a non issue, given the established explanatory framework. Put another way, most would agree that the rest of the body contributes to the body and brain with input. Where theorists differ is in the setting of boundaries. To the question of just how much of the external world ought we count as part of the cognitive process the mind he problem is that in answering why this must be so, the best answer afforded is parsimony. We know that brains are really important for cognition, so to make things simple, says the identity only important element in cognition. This gives us a discrete and finite object the brain that can be scrutinized, studied, and mastered, 5 throughout the article to refer both to brain states and to b rain processes.
27 thereby allowing mastery of cognition. While parsimony is generally a strong inductive move to make in favor of one theory over another, to claim that it would be really nice and simple if the brain were the only thing in the world that realizes cognition and therefore it is the only thing that realizes cognition, is nothing more than wishful thinking. A virtue of the competing version of phy sicalism token physicalism is therefore that it leaves this possibility open, rather than assuming from the start that simplicity is the best option. It may turn out to be the case that only biological brains can constitute cognition, but if we can fin d other physical tokenings of functionally equivalent systems, then we should be ready to call these processes cognitive just the same. Thus, token physicalism is most likely paired with a functionalist interpretation of cognition, and functionalism, as we shall see, not only provides a framework for thinking about the mind in terms of dynamic and open processing, but it also avoids the major pitfalls of logical behaviorism and central state identity theory. philosophical argument as to why the defining feature of mentality is not its neurology, but rather its computationality. By redirecting the discussion of PAIN from being merely a brain state, to being a functional state of the entire organism, pain is not limited to identification with some brain state, which is the strict reading of type physicalism, nor must it even be identified with a biological body state, a more liberal notion of type physicalism. And, unlike behavior ism, pain is more than just wincing and groaning. The dispositions to act in one way or another given certain inputs, and its actual behavior given those inputs (Putnam call
28 onalist literature since Putnam retains a sort of humans. In fact, part of Putn machine functionalism and logical behaviorism is the further move of claiming that all organisms that feel pain in other words, their mentality can be described and indeed must be at least partially understood by reference to inner processes. This essentially means that the functional organization of an organism, so long as it counts as typically productive of pain like behavior and pain behavior, which thereby allows for pain to simply be an internal state of the system. Whe re behaviorism and identity theory fall short, functionalism appears to pick up the slack. Not only does it allow for internally caused mental processes, but most functionalists are amenable to some sort of multiple realizability thesis, which absolves the m of the worries associated with strict type identity. If mental processes can be realized in various sorts of ways, from slightly different neural processes to physical e, then the concerns about an overly restrictive and unrealistic metaphysics of mind seem irrelevant. A caveat about functionalism is perhaps in order however: while functionalist interpretations usually favor a token physicalism, this is not a necessary e ntailment of
29 adopting such interpretive strategy. Polger (2006) for instance, maintains that type physicalism is possible, indeed a likely outcome of functionalism, given that we will eventually have to specify, with some constraints, what sorts of physica l mechanisms can constitute the functional organization necessary for cognition and hence, only certain as to whether or not functionalism implies extended cogn ition a debate which centers These disputes tend to suggest that functionalism alone is not intended to provide a comprehensive ontology of mentality, but is rather an interpretation of how mentality works, which in turn is supposed to guide research in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science in a particular way namely, to treat the mind not necessarily as a computational mechanism, which may and usually does involve a brain, and can include a wide variety of other physical processes. On this read however, the nature of what this physical system might be is vague. In this sense therefore, functionalism and token physicalism are not robust metaphysical theories, but are rather, as Putnam and others originally claimed they ought to be: ways to conceive of how minds work. The details of what and where minds are in the world remain open questions. Why then ad opt a functionalist framework? As stated above, thinking of the mind as a machine places emphasis on what minds do such that the task of answering what they are can be reformulated so as to be better asked as such: what sorts of physical things out there are in fact constitutive of cognitive processes so understood? Such a reformulation does not begin with Putnam of course, as we can see the transition quite
30 the debate is of little concern to me, but what is important to consider is the way in which functionalism and AI research are the first frameworks in which the boundaries delimiting where physic alism occurred, than it is seemingly undermined by functionalism, computationalism, robotics, and cybernetics, which suggest that the grey squishy matter between our ears might not be the only cognitive player in town. If mental states can be realized by a wide variety of physical processes, then the brain mania brought about by neuroscience should be short lived, with functionalism quickly taking its place. Rather than wholeheartedly endorse functionalism however, I want to be more cautious. Based on the failures of type physicalism and behaviorism in providing a realistic and comprehensive account of how the mind works, it is reasonable to claim that neither of the two alone should be conceived of as the best story we have about the mind. Functionalism, on the other hand, as it aligns itself with a thesis of multiple realizability, at least prima facie, appeals intuitively to our common sense understanding of cognition. If I am to believe that Jones and I can have the same type of thought behavior schema, e.g. we both think that pizza would taste really good and believe that there is pizza in the fridge, and thus, we get up to retrieve a slice, from whence does this belief that we are both in the same mental state of HUNGER arise? The behaviorist will clai m that it is only by virtue of observed behavior that we make such an inference, but then this could mean
31 that my friend Jones has nothing in between his ears and is a behavioral zombie as it were. There is nothing to prevent maintaining this as a logical possibility under the behaviorist framework. However, if I were to answer the question from a type physicalist identical brain cause it rules out the possibility of Jones having a slightly different neural schema at time t than I do and yet still being hungry just as I am. It also rules out the possibility that my dog is hungry, that other beings with type distinct brain states ca n be hungry, and so forth, unless of course, HUNGER as a global state of the whole brain or better, the whole organism, is allowed to brain identity anymore. Based on simple verification procedures, many of which involve observing behavior, verbal reporting, etc, it seems counter intuitive to claim that something like PAIN is not being experienced both by me when I stub my toe and by my dog when he misses his Frisbee a nd instead crashes into the fence, even if I learn that my Unlike a strictly behavioral interpretation, a machine functionalist interpretation has as a virtue, a further specification that there must be a possib le machine table description for the cognitive state in question, such that not any old collection of materials will suffice for the sensation HUNGER. In this way, functionalism shares with behaviorism that they both allow for natural, typically effortless attribution of mental states to others via behavior, but functionalism also allows that internal mental states are causally efficacious. To put it another way, functionalism appeals to the intuitive idea that if someone or something is behaving enough lik e myself when I am in mental state
32 A, and if I believe that this creature is capable of experiencing the world similarly to me due to an implicit belief I have about their physical composition as being also similar enough to my own, then I will naturally e ndorse the idea that there are two distinct physical realizations of one mental type. For all its virtues, functionalism still carries around a lot of theoretical baggage. Chief among this baggage is the grain size problem concerning multiple realizabilit y. As discussed above, agreeing that two distinct physical systems are in the same mental state depends on what we mean by mental states such as HUNGER or PAIN whether we are talking about general food seeking behavior, specific cravings, sharp pain, dull pain, localized pain, and so forth in other words, the specificity with which we are characterizing the mental process. As Bechtel and Mundale (1999) note, the irresistible urge to claim that psychological states are multiply realizable stems from the typical philosophical usage of psychological measures to map the brain. More specifically, the inconsistency with which these correlative mappings are made might hint at a case against MR. Typically, researchers have used a coarse grain to classify mental states as among brain states. However, as Bechtel and Mundale note, if we keep the grain consistent for both the psychological and the neural classifications, the case for MR does not fair so well. A more fine grained mental classification would allow for differentiating mental states among individuals or even within the same individual over time. For example, rather than the coarse mental type PAIN, we might have PAIN 1 PAIN 2, and so forth, to denote varying degrees and even kinds of pain, such as burning, sharp, or pulsating. Utilizing this same fine grain to analyze the brain, we might be able then to
33 map these nuanced versions of PAIN onto brain processes that refl ect these subtle differences. It is usually the case that in apparent instances of different brain activity failing to produce apparent differences in mental states, one has usually just not used a fine enough grain to analyze mental states (177 8). Bechte l and Mundale go on to argue that given a fine enough grain, it will rarely, if ever turn out to be the case that genuine multiple realizability is occurring. However, using a coarse enough grain, claims about multiple realizability are too easily and too loosely made. The thesis of MR is appealing for precisely this reason however; it is intuitive to claim that I, my dog, and even the blood sucking mosquito annoying the both of us can all be hungry. However, depending on the context in which the compariso n is being made, this might turn out not to be true. Lack of context, Bechtel and Mundale claim, makes it easy to assume that MR is a viable thesis about cognition. It might be that Lisa and her pet octopus have the same mental states, realized by differe nt neural structures, for example; if they are both hungry and this hunger is associated with some general food seeking behavior. However, regarding other factors, such as how the food is sought, what food is sought, under what conditions, etc, then the fo od seeking behavior and its corresponding mental state are different. As Bechtel and Mundale rightly point out, asking whether two things are the same or different only makes sense with respect to some third thing. Stating for example, Lisa and her pet oct opus have the same PAIN, would mean that each of their individual L) and her O) are identical just in case they are both instances of PAIN more generally. So, PAIN as the third thing could be specified differently for Lisa and her octopus; we might say that PAIN can be realized by C fiber firing in human brains, but it
34 is realized by O is reasonable to assume that Lisa and her octopus have the same mental states, but if we consider the context and keep it fixed while doing comparative analysis, both psychologically and neurally, then the case for multiple realizability appears rather dub then matters become even worse. It is highly unlikely that, for example, Lisa and her pet octopus are actually in the same total state, given the largely different embodied and environmental contexts in which they are situated (202 3). In other words, if context must be the same in order for two organisms to be realizing the exact same PAIN, then MR is a rare occurrence indeed. The example above is just one among many. Law rence Shapiro (2000), for argument that a psychological entity is often associated with several distinct neurological states (238). He claims that in an attempt to forge an existence proof for multiple realizability by neural plasticity, the reality of the neurobiological evidence is overlooked. The rewiring experiments actually show that the rewired rodents do not see exactly the same as normal rodents i.e. their visual acu ity for recognizing light gradations is largely impoverished. Furthermore, the auditory cortex of a rewired rodent comes to look identical to the visual cortex possessed by its unwired friend. Thus, he argues, we have neither a case in which the same funct ion is realized in two different ways the rodents with the different the rewired states, nor a case in which the same function is realized in two different ways the two physical systems realizing the me
35 matters. In other words, if one brain system or component comes to resemble another such that they are indistinguishable, then the claim that the two brains can both realize the same mental state is u ninteresting (2000; 648 9). Surely, there are more objections to MR lurking in the literature, but it is sufficient to note here that accepting MR without scrutiny is problematic. Perhaps the most important consequence of the grain size problem is the un favorable bottom lines functionalism can be reduced to depending on how far and in which direction we push it. As Block (1980) characterizes it, one can either be forced into an unfair chauvinism or an unpalatable liberalism concerning the nature of mental processes. That is, if Bechtel, Mundale, and Shapiro are right, then we must either insist that only organisms with precisely human cognition or we allow that anything so long as it has the proper input ou tput pushed to one end of the extreme, functionalism entails that only physical systems that resemble closely enough the ones that we have established are capable of thin king which just so happens to be humans thus, we are back to an undesirable strict mind brain identity, or as Block calls it, a species chauvinism. Pushed in the other direction however, functionalism m ight force us act as though they do and furthermore, because the program underwriting them looks sufficiently like the machine table description of a human mind. As we mov e on through later chapters, I intend to argue that this latter option is a bit of a straw man version of functionalism and hence, the dilemma is falsely constructed, but for now, it suffices to
36 note that if we are not careful in how we specify what sorts of physical processes might be capable of functionally organizing in such a way that constitutes thinking, either too few or too many entities seem to walk away from this story with minds. Once again, it is helpful to consider that functionalism is not inherently metaphysical in its overall claims. By shifting the focus from what a mind is to how it is realized, all that is being insisted upon is a change of emphasis. As the above discussion illustrates, the big metaphysical questions concerning just wha t sorts of functions can be realized remain thorny issues. If we want to avoid slipping back into logical behaviorism or type identity theory, these questions deman d answers. Rather than continuing on with armchair a priori engineering by purebred philosophers, I think examining some of the more interdisciplinary approaches to cognition is in order. Not only will the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, robotics and phenomenology provide insightful and potentially more realistic ways to approach the problem, but by quickly becomes evident that when seeking the elusive where of cogn ition, we have been looking in all the wrong places. 1. 4 Embodiment, Cognition, and Artificial Intelligence Before turning to the more recent trends in philosophy of mind and cognitive science that take the body much more seriously than their predecessor s, I want to first consider the project of Artificial Intelligence (AI). My aim here is not to provide an historical overview and it is most certainly not in any way an attempt to settle the dispute
37 between the believers and non believers. Instead, I want to focus on the fact that despite serious advances, the type of AI imagined by Kubrick 6 and others has not occurred as far as anyone can tell. This simple point, whether you take it as a signal that the achievement shall never happen or believe contrarily, that it is just around the corner, is an example of a real world attempt at applying the functionalist paradigm in order to achieve a particular scientific end. The fact that for the last fifty years or so AI has continued to come up short in terms of cre ating sufficiently human like thinking machines highlights the same idea I mentioned in closing the last section. By looking for the mind among wrong places; they are not looking any where for the mind. This question of how cognition works, as we have seen, carries with it some notion of in what this functioning is taking place, and yet, functionalist driven cognitive roboticists have systematically neglected the body an d its role to play in the executing of said table. Hence, we find, as I shall discuss, robot after robot that blows itself up, runs into walls, and is unconvincing at the Turing Test. Relying mainly on Hubert Dreyfus as well as several roboticists at MIT w ho seem to be exceptions to this general rule of body neglect, I shall attempt to illustrate how and why I think the turn to embodied approaches in cognitive science is a reaction to the intractable identity theory vs. behaviorism debate, but also, a respo nse to some of the failures in AI. In 7 Hubert Dreyfus sketches several of the major attempts in AI, along with the assumptions about cognition generally that subtend each. I shall not attempt to discuss his account in det ail; I think we can glean the relevant 6 7 be citing exact page numbers.
38 original phenomenologists Husserl and Merlea u Ponty in particular as well as the Gestalt psychologists, to show that what has yet to be replicated in any machine is the ability to properly understand the situation involved in this or that cognitive action. Husserl (1931) referred to this situatio The Idea of Phenomenology (1964), Husserl expoun ds upon the ways we perceive a cube; we can only ever see a particular side of it, which is dependent upon the angle at which we are positioned with relation to it, both of which are manifest by a particular profile of the cube namely, its position in ti me and space relative to our own positions, and so forth. To put it more simply, we always experience a presence in absence. Things appear to us as partial and yet whole at the same time, those parts that are absent visually are nonetheless present all at once. How is this possible? In Ideas I Husserl claims we must of the encounter with the object as well as understand our own relation to the object, spatially and temporal ly. Hence, we have an outer and inner horizon in which experience into us, nor do we seem to participate in these activities entirely via trial and error. To quote Dr In chess and in recognizing sentences, we find the same phenomenon playing a crucial role. Our sense of the whole situation, outer horizon, and our past experience with the specific object or pattern in question, inner h orizon, give us a sense of the whole and guide us in filling in the details [1992; 242].
39 What has truly been left uncaptured by roboticists is not the higher level rational functions often assumed to be uniquely human, such as logical reasoning or idea l language production and comprehension. Instead, as Dreyfus notes, the part of intelligence that we share with animals pattern recognition has resisted simulation. As well, natural language comprehension and use remains to be perfectly simulated, as e ven the best chatbots such as Suzette best new bot of 2009 8 or A.L.I.C.E 9 three time winner of the Loebner prize hich we approach each perceptual and cognitive experience are what computers systematically fail to come equipped with, and this is in part because such knowledge, he claims, must be embodied a point Merleau Ponty (1962) makes explicit in Phenomenology of Perception. The problem with the AI project thus far, as Dreyfus sees it, is that researchers continue to In order for a computer or robot to achieve what Piaget (19 interact meaningfully with them, there would have to be an internal model of every object encountered in every possible sense modality, along with a s et of comparative principles for each object in each modality. Encountering an object visually and tactilely; therefore, it would need to pass through this analysis before the robot could interact properly with it. As an example, consider the ease with whi ch a typical human can reach into the 8 Chatterbot Challenge award recipient. See online at: http://www .chatbots.org/chatterbot/suzette/ 9 2001, 2002, 2004
40 refrigerator and obtain an egg. Grasping the egg without breaking or dropping it requires a complex set of physical rules governing force, grip, and so forth, as well as the interaction of this tactile modality with th shape of the egg. Most of us never even think about what goes into a simple task like this and when asked to explain how we do it it is likely that our explanations do not even approximate the complexity wi th which the action is actually performed. As I will discuss seamlessness of action is lost, regaining the proper motor functions to complete even the most basic tasks can prove difficult, if not impossible. 10 Instead, for most of us, we are intelligent systems could ever achieve this seamlessness of action is due in part to the fail and does play a vital role in encoding this information that is to a large extent, below the level of conscious awareness, roboticists, he conjectures, will consistently and continually fail in their endeavors. There are, however, some roboticists Rodney Brooks and Cynthia Breazeal, for instance who have taken this phenomenological lesson seriously. Both of these MIT roboticists have taken cues from Marvin Minsky, w hose robotic arm 11 was one of the first to be capable not only of picking up objects, but navigating around obstacles to obtain the continually evolving project that began as jus t a head, torso, and arms, with nowhere near 10 In particular, deafferented patients suffer from this problem. One patient I will be most interested in discussing is Ian Waterman, who is in fact able to recover a large part of his motor functioning. 11
41 12 exists, in the form of video cameras. H earing and touch are on the drawing board. Proprioception in the form of joint position and torque is already in place; a vestibular system is on the way. Hands are being built as you read this, and a system for a picture of Cog in his earliest days with Brooks and to the right of that is photograph of the hands Cog will eventually have. Figure 1.2 Rodney Brooks and Cog ootsteps but has focused her attention more on the ways in which humans perceive and express emotions. Originally insofar as it is only a head, but the detail with w hich the facial features have been constructed is beyond comparison with any other project in AI to date. The robot is 12 http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/humanoid robotics group/cog/cog.html It is interesting to point out that the face portion of Cog curr own research team and name as does a currently underway biochemical subsystem (Adams), by component, by sub mechanisms that more genuinely reflect and respond to some of the concerns regarding embodiment we have discussed thus far.
42 13 Our hardware and softwar e control architectures have been designed to meet the challenge of real time processing of visual signals (approaching 30 Hz) and auditory signals (8 kHz sample rate and frame windows of 10 ms) with minimal latencies (less than 500 ms). The high level perception system, the m otivation system, the behavior system, the motor skill system, and the face motor s ystem execute on four Motorola 68332 microprocessors running L, a multi threaded Lis p developed in our lab. Vision processing, visual attention a nd eye/neck control is p erformed by nine networked 400 MHz PCs running QNX (a real time Unix operating system ). Expressive speech synthesis and vocal affective intent recognition runs on a dual 450 MHz PC running NT, and the speech recognition system r uns on a 500 MHz PC running Linux. All of this allows Kismet to express a full array of emotions as well as to respond to other humans who express those emotions. In this sense therefore, Breazeal is responding to the recent trend in philosophy and cognit ive science to view the emotions as fundamental to consciousness (cf. Damasio, 2005; 2000) and as constitutive of our embodied social cognition (cf. Gallese, et al 2004). The thinking behind Kismet has helped Brezeal launch her most recent project, Leonard o (pictured next to Kismet), a fully embodied emotional robot, that can learn from instruction, including voice tone and facial expressions. not taking embodiment seriously, h is point concerning formal rules remains. Because Cog and Kismet still operate with a set of formal rules, all of which must be analyzed and utilized for each action, the goal of possessing a set of seamless embodied motor skills has not yet been achieved. Indeed, neither of these robots can pick up an egg, let alone engage in a game of table tennis, activities that humans perform in real time quicker than any robot could ever hope to, according to Dreyfus, because of the implausibility that it could ever r un through all the rule sets quickly enough. 13 http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/humanoid robotics group/kismet/kismet.html
43 Figure 1.4: Kismet Figure 1.5: Leonardo. Pictured here, Leonardo is learning via behavioral feedback including facial expressions and tonal differences in the voice of his teacher how to turn on one
44 sufficient to count or discount a system as cognitive. Just because it takes person A five minutes to complete a logic pr oof but it takes person B twenty minutes to complete that same proof, we do not conclude that the former is a thinking human while the latter is not. Moreover, these sorts of tasks logic, mathematics, abstract reasoning interestingly enough, are what m ost artificially intelligent systems are capable of, more so than most humans it turns out. However, the so that allows for the continual updating and integrating of the sensory modalities in response to input is what h as not been properly duplicated, at least not in terms of timing. We can see, given the relatively brief history of the AI project, it appears more reasonable to conclude that the progress towards replicating the motor skills and embodied abilities of huma ns, regardless of timing, is making serious strides. Consider, 14 robot, which is currently being tested as a any terrain a human (or dog for that matter) can; it can react to changes, can overcome obstacles, and can even respond to challenges not immediately present to its onboard slippery ice as well as recover from being kicked by a human opponent who has snuck up from behind. 14 http://www.bostondynamics.com/r obot_bigdog.html
45 Figure 1. 6 walking uphill in snow, slipping and recovering balance on an icy surface, climbing an u nstable incline, and jumping over and obstacle. All of this is not of course to suggest that Big Dog, or Kismet or Cog for that matter, have fully replicated human cognition in all its complexity. Big Dog, for instance, is specifically designed to help carry ammunition and supplies over rugged terrain and as such, is not endowed with the full array of higher cognitive tasks found in a chatbot such as A.L.I.C.E. Moreover, it is not my intention to settle the debate once and for all between Dreyfus and pro ponents of AI; I think settling this dispute involves an empirical question that can only be answered in due course. Nevertheless, I have highlighted these first, to show study and creation of artificially intelligent systems, but also, to suggest that these changes that have taken place in AI have equally contributed to the phenomenology of
46 embodied ex the environment itself begins to take less of a backseat. Indeed, the final iteration of the situated theories of cognition extended cognition puts the environment in center st age. So much of the recent work in AI has influenced philosophers and cognitive scientists, but also performance artists such as Stelarc, whose robotic arm and implanted ear challenge the idea that the utilization and near seamless integration of tool and tool user cannot be replicated. It is to these theories of cognition which find themselves in the middle of this awakening in AI that I now turn, as I will be at pains to argue throughout this project that it is not just that we see ourselves more and more reflected in our machines, but that we see ourselves more and more as a reflection of those same machines. Despite optimism concerning the progress of AI thus far, it remains to be seen whether a robot possesses all that a human does in terms of embodie d cognitive abilities. In short, my robot friend is inferior to my human friend when it comes to being able to hike along a mountain path, cross streams, dodge tree branches, and duck under rock outcroppings, all while taking in the breathtaking views and engaging in a hearty debate human cognition, therefore, that roboticists have not fully captured in artificial systems is the ability to absorb external information, filter it for relevancy, and ope rate upon such representations of the world in meaningful ways, without having to explicitly, at the same time, represent the rules for doing all of these things. The same puzzlement vexes philosophers when they confront the question of just how the physic al brain can represent the very external things that are supposed to be causally efficacious in bringing about experience in the first place. In
47 other words, that the body and mind are open systems is not denied; we take in food, light, minerals, perceive and learn from the environment. We allow the external world to penetrate our minds, but for the most part in the history and theories of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, it has never worked the other way around; our minds do not penetrate the worl d because our minds remain stuck in our heads. To be sure, the brain is active insofar as it is constantly in motion, sending signals to this or that bodily system, Nevertheless, these processes take place solely behind closed curtains, within or inside the confines of our skulls, and hence, a dual world of process arises from this picture. In other words, the received view has been that mental representations of the world go on in the brain and thus, internally, while the processes or objects that these mental processes represent take place in the external world. The trouble with this view of representation as taking place in a head is that it treats the brain ultima tely as a passive receptor of information and effectively ignores its active contribution to the world beyond its skin and skull boundary. This is problematic because it is difficult to explain how a closed neural system such as the brain can actually nature however, when we take the mind itself as a dynamic and open perceptual system and allow it to reach beyond its biological brain barrier to actively create and change the Perception of the world involves, he argues, potentials for action. We see not simply a world of inert objects, but rather, action ready situations and hence, o ur minds actually constitute the world in terms of what is action ready and what is not. His theory has
48 helped usher in a new wave of cognitive studies, which involve understanding cognitive processes as embedded (Haugeland, Menary, 2006b), and even extended (cf. Clark and Chalmers, 1998; Clark, 1998, 2003, 2008; Rowlands, 2003) in the world. 1. 5 Co nclusion: On the Path to Extended Minds In order to explain how representatio n is demystified by adopting these views of mind which emphasize its embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended character, it is helpful to look at the ways representation is de located under these accounts. Furthermore, if each of these four characteristic s of cognition, which result from the Gibsonian and Putnamian traditions are placed on a continuum ranging from minor to radical de location of representation, then it becomes easy to see the gradual henomena in a physicalist world. In its stead are left the problems of explaining action, situatedness, and coupling much representations themselves will be called into question, or at least will need to be drastically reconfigured if we are to keep with what I consider to be a more sensible view The location of cognitive processes is fairly clear, or at least can be more easily posited, as being somewhere in the body if boundaries are set at the skin and skull. In other words, embodied cognition (cf. Varela, Thompson, and Rosch, 1991; Thelen & Smith, 1994; Thelen, 2004; 2001) is a theory that could support a minimal mind brain identity, or at least a mind body identity; namely, the mind is embodied in the physical
49 workings of the brain. If the brain barrier seems too strict, then the mind can be expanded to encompass other bodily processes, but neve same people who claim to be defending a version of embodied cognition nonetheless argue as to whether or not this means the mind functionally decomposes to biological systems, it is necessary to examine precisely what embodiment entails. For Fred Adams or Ken Aizawa (cf. 2001; 2008; 2010), having a bod y means having a precisely defined cognitive objects. More brains too dissimilar from human brains. For Haugeland, however, since embodiment is essential to cognition, and embodiment is not just about the biological brain, and not even just about the biological body, it cannot be reduced to either of these constit uents. An embodied account of cognition need not locate the mind entirely within the brain and as we move along the continuum of locality, a more embedded mind emerges. Namely, while Haugeland is certain that bodily situatedness is necessary for conscious marks off one mind from another is misguided. While Haugeland assents to the idea of i.e. physical systems that persist in the world and do indeed shape our conscious experience he nonetheless thinks that this taken for granted assumption often t he means by
50 this is that cognitive processes are not necessarily reducible to those processes readily differentiated by biological function, surface discontinuity, or spatiality. and 15 is one that is intimately tied to the env interfaces of the perceptual organs like the eyes and ears are where the world can sneak into the mind, Haugeland argues that representational beings such as humans are in a h brain, body, and world are not necessarily distinct components that interpenetrate one another along narrowly defined interfaces; rather, in coming to represent something, or to multidimensional, non reducible, and integrative characterization of representation de centers the brain and places much more significance on the embedded element of cognition. Dreyfus (1972; 1992) and Manzotti (2003), for instance, have suggested. Rather than the internal copies of perceived objects, there is simply the manner in which the obj ect is given coupled with the perceiver who intends 16 it in this or that manner. While the intracranialist would have it that a representation is the result of internal symbol manipulations and transduction between and among sub systems in the brain, Haugel and sees the ability to represent the world as the result of collaborative efforts among these various levels of interaction. The very word he uses to describe cognition, interactive 15 The title of chapter 9 in Haugeland (1998). 16 simple as seeing the chair as a chair, e.g.
51 points to another departure from the rigid localization of mind in a phy sical body, by calling into question the passivity of the mechanism (whatever it is supposed to be on the dichotomy between perception and action, the former of whic h merely sits there and inceives sensory data, it is better, Haugeland argues, to view perception and action as a unit, a commingled occurrence happening in real time. 17 Since it is reasonable to suppose that perception is a large part of representational a bility, then a more enacted story about discussion so far, as one moves along the enactive continuum, the story tends to become more and more anti representationalist. Indeed, results in presentations active constitutions of our world but never do we genuinely re present. What we typically think of as representations are therefore simply new presentations. Indeed, the enacted acc ount of perception that Haugeland alludes to is taken up by I see it, is yet another small move along the line of gradual de localization of consciousness. Arguing that perc role in our abilities to represent the world. Representations just are, on this view, action potentials, gleaned fr om a dynamic web of collaboration among the mind, body, and world. It is not simply that the outer environment is actively penetrating our sensory 17 1998, 221.
52 meaning making that constitutes rendering the objects of perception as action ready in world, when the very constituting element of our cognition, interaction results from a comming led, active, and intimately collaborative slice of many levels, such that teasing them apart, studying each one in isolation, or speaking of one causing the other in a necessarily linear fashion is not as straightforwardly plausible as the intracranialist would like us to believe. active externalism (cf. Clark and Chalmers, 1998). Not only do the environment and the to ols we use aid in cognition, but in the type of high bandwidth enacted coupling that occurs when a person participate in the cognitive process. The classic example of active externalism comes from Clark and Chalmers (1998), who argue that not just meaning, but beliefs extend out consult his notebook, which contains every memory he has stored for the past several years, including directions to the museum at which he is scheduled to meet his friend, Inga. The simple moral of the story is that when asked to draw a distinction between information, while Otto uses an external notebook, but in the larger context of what sort of action is being performed namely, desire to get to the mu seum, belief that it is on 53 rd Street, and acting in ways that will fulfill this desire these are functionally
53 indistinguishable. Furthermore, all of the standard objections one might raise about tc, are easily remedied by reminding the reader that these same dysfunction potentials are equally applicable to the
54 Chapter 2 A Decade of Dissent: Defending and Re Defending The Extended Mind The idea of environment is a necessity to the idea of organism, and with the concepti on of environment comes the impossibility of considering psychical life as an individual, isolated thingdeveloping in a vacuum. John Dewey, The New Psychology 2.1 Introduction As the first chapter has shown, the failure to properly account for the inadequate AI engineering. It has also led to a schism between those who do take the embodied, embedded, and enacted aspects of cognition seriously thereby choosing to and those who claim that these elements are indeed important but can nonetheless be explained via a framework of intracranialism. In comportmen t play a role in cognition, one can either take a radical position concerning the degree to which these non brain factors actually constitute cognition, or, one can maintain a conservative view, allowing that embodiment and situation contribute to the over all cognitive experience, but are not proper parts of it. There are intermediate positions to be sure, but in this chapter, I want to to follow the debate, as it has raged on now for a little over a decade, between the so called EXTENDED (cf. Clark, 2008) proponents and the intracranialists (cf. Adams and Aizawa, 2008). In so doing, I intend to provide support for the externalist side, but I will also highlight some inconsistencies and oversights with this position. The aim is to develop an even more radica l view, one that
55 sticks more closely to the original 1998 thesis, as I think this argument remains the best we have so far in explaining cognition. In a recent critique of the Extended Mind (EM) hypothesis, Adams and Aizawa (2010) accuse Clark and Chal That a notebook or any other object or process might be coupled to a cognitive agent and thereby aid in her cognitive processing, they claim, has been conflated with the idea that such coupling imp lies that the object or process is actually a constitutive part of the Question: Why did the pencil think that 2 + 2 = 4 ams & Aizawa, 2010; 67]. This misunderstanding, Adams and Aizawa argue, highlights what is wrong with pretty much all accounts of extended or distributed cognition (cf. Haugeland, 1998; Clark, 2001; 2005), as such arguments mistakenly attribute cognitio n to objects or processes simply by virtue of their being tools used by a cognitive agent. What makes a process cognitive, they assert, is not what sorts of external objects are employed, but rather, the agent. ition is constituted by certain sorts of causal process that involve non Clark (2008) notes, there are two elements to this argument; on the one hand, the claim about content says that in order for a process to count as cognitive, the representations, concepts or information employed must be non derived, non extrinsic, and internal to the
56 system doing the processing. On the other hand, the claim about causality says that only specific kinds of processes are sufficient for bringing about such non derived content. I will examine this particular criticism of the hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC) as well as the responses Clark (2008; 2010) and others have offered to counter it. Rather than proceed simply by way of recasting the d ebate and further buttressing the way that the accusatory finger they have pointed might be better turned back on their own account of extended cognition on two charges: first, they claim, extended cognition unnecessarily imbues discrete parts of coupled systems with cognition. As their critique suggests, in a system such as a blind man using a cane to navigate his way through town, go, what obstacles to avoid, and so forth. In other words, Adams and Aizawa have set up the argument such that if ex tended cognition is true, then this entails implausible and undesirable consequences. Second, they have charged Clark with overlooking the special sorts of processes that subtend cognition, namely, that it involves trading in non derived content and that t his ability is caused by nomological regularities which happen to be, as far as we can tell, specific to human neurobiology. This second accusation can also be reformulated as a denial of an undesirable consequent; if extended cognition is true, then In this chapter, I intend to show that neither of the two conditionals regarding HEC hold. For the first, the idea that HEC implies that cognition can quite literally be found in any object, so long as it is coupled to a human is based on a misunderstanding of
57 what distributed accounts of cognition are supposed to offer. In the end, I will suggest Aizawa fail to recognize the reductio behind their own accusation. As Clark (2008) notes, if we ask of a V4 neuron how does it know that the museum is on 5 3 rd street, and answer, because it is coupled to the human agent, the absurdity of the original objection unintelligible when applied to some putative part or aspect of a cogn itive agent or engaged in a recall task, then the whole person is the cognitive system, not each of his or her arms, legs, or neurons. And even if it turns out that only hum an brains can realize genuinely cognitive states, this in no way implies that a brain cannot be or is not already a coupled system. As we shall see, many genuinely cognitive systems, which include at their core, a human brain, remain largely coupled either to brain implant technology, or to external tools, all of which can arguably be said to constitute this or that particular cognitive process. The second conditional is a bit trickier to dismantle, as it involves arguing that the received view of human cognition is flawed. Nevertheless, it is my contention that a large part of the internalist externalist debate is not just about where cognition is to be found, but is also about what sorts of processes we want to call cognitive. Examining es to the content and cause objections will highlight the ways in trading in non derived content is neither necessary nor sufficient for a system to be marked as cognitive. Second, in order to address the
58 worry that coupled improbability of locating the specific causes underlying cognition given an externalist picture, I will look further at the ways in which Rupert (2004) pushes against the HEC, but will cognitive system can be caused by the coupling of human organisms and artifacts. It will not be sufficient however to simply re l atest concession of Organism Centered Cognition (HOC). Although his response provides a way to stave off some of the worries raised by Rupert and Weiskopf, it is also an overhasty retreat. Thus, in order to disprove this second condition of Adams and Aizaw namely, that the received view of what cognition is and where we can expect to find it might need serious revision. 2. 2 Non Derived Content In order to expose the problemat Aizawa, Clark examines each component of their definition in turn. The first necessary characteristic of cognitive processes, according to Adams and Aizawa, is their being comprised of non derived content. P aradigm cases of items bearing non derived content derived immediate response, one might d emand that Adams and Aizawa provide a way out of such viciously circular stipulations. Indeed, if the question at hand is what makes something count as thinking, and you answer, if it bears non derived content, to which I
59 reasonably ask, what then, is non derived content, and you reply, thinking then I will it is, well, cognitive. The explanation Adams and Aizawa provide regarding how and why non derived content ac tually constitutes thought spans a large amount of text (1992; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2010; Dennett, 1990) and a full discussion of the debate concerning it is too time consuming and not entirely relevant for our purposes here. The way they defend non derived c ontent can be summarized as thus: mental content arises from very different sorts of processes than non mental content; in other words, mental content is said to be non derived just insofar as it is intrinsic to a cognitive agent and are therefore not depe ndent or at least are only partially dependent on external objects or processes. To further illustrate, they cite an example from Clark (2005) in which he seeks to defend the idea that derived content can genuinely be said to characterize cognitive process ing in a case such as thinking about set theory by way of representing Euler circles to oneself. Clark argues that the meaning of the Euler circles, even in our heads must still be derived from social convention, but nevertheless, the circles feature as pa rt of our thought process. Adams and Aizawa respond first by charging Clark with overlooking a crucial difference: Intersecting Euler circles on paper getting their meaning is one thing; intersecting Euler circles in mental images getting their meaning is another. Clark apparently overlooks this difference, hence does not bother to provide a reason to think that Euler circles in mental images get their meaning via social convention [2010; 72]. So, according to Adams and Aizawa, there is a principled difference in the way mental items become meaningful and the way external objects do. Nevertheless, they can be accused of precisely what they charge Clark with; namely, they never provide a
60 compelling reason to believe that such a principled distinction exists. What they do go on to argue is that mental items are constituted by different sorts of processes than non mental items. To quote them at length: It is like this. The dependence of meaning of the mental image of intersecting Euler circles on the social contrivance regarding the intersection of Euler circles is just like the dependence of the meaning of a mental representation of a car on the contrivance of a car. Had the car not been invented, there would not have been mental images of cars H ad the usage of Euler circles not been invented, th ere would not have been mental images of Euler circl es for set theoretic purposes. This sort o f historical truth, if it is a truth, does not show what Clark might want it to show, namely, that the conte nt of certain mental items derives (in the relevant sense) from a social convention [2010; 74]. Here we see the idea that non derived content might be partially dependent upon external objects without the invention of cars, we would not have the releva nt mental images but this, they argue, does not entail that the mental image we have of a car is derived from social convention. Another way to put it: mental content most certainly depends, at least in a large part, upon our having perceptions of extern al objects, but in order for it to be considered derived mental content must be said to arise solely via socio linguistic convention. However, Clark is not concerned with showing that the actual content is not itself intrinsic; rather, that the meaning of the intersection of the Euler circles must be back to classical semantic externalism. The content of a mental state, such as the wetness of water or its drinkabili ty, can be non derived, but its meaning, namely, that it is H20, is out the stuff that is composed of hydrogen and oxygen molecules. We might think of it in this wa y as well: clearly, thoughts, perceptions, and the like usually depend on some
61 external objects in order to be contentful. Indeed, every thought and every perception are thoughts and perceptions of something. This is one level or type of mental content, wh ile meanings are often much more complex and often do derive entirely from social convention. The idea that one of the Euler circles functions as a representation of a particular set, whose members are in some way related to other sets of entities represen ted by other Euler circles, is all part of the larger social contrivance known as set theory. While the truths of set theory might indeed be human independent or perhaps even Fodorian innate concepts (in which case they would be entirely non derived), set theory as a practice, the way we come to know these truths and understand them, is an external, social practice, from which mental meanings involving set theoretic principles are entirely derived. In this sense therefore, we can think of the relationships among pieces of mental content as the sorts of cognitive content that Clark wants to claim can be derived and hence, something can be extrinsic and still count as genuinely cognitive. Adams and Aizawa foresee this objection, as they claim: Insofar as there must be a social convention regarding the intersections of Euler circles in order to have a mental representation regarding the intersect ions of Euler circles, this is not a fact about the constitution of the content of a mental image of the inte rsections of Euler circles. [2010; 73]. Again, the idea is not that the images are what Clark is claiming to be derived, but regarding the intersections of the Euler circles. Clearly, information about what those inter sections mean, imply denote, and so forth, should count as cognitive and yet, even as Adams and Aizawa claim, these representations are constituted by social convention.
62 Adams and Aizawa go on to argue therefore that the original thought experiment i n which Otto consults his notebook in order to remember the location of MOMA (Clark and Chalmers, 1998) involves nothing more than a coupling in which an external object, the content of which is derived, aids r cognition we want to attribute to Otto must still be going on within his head, most likely in the form of a standing belief that his notebook is a reliable source of information that supplements his imperfect memory. The ability to execute actions based on these beliefs neural patterns of activation which produce their content intrinsically. In response, Clark (2008) claims that Otto and his notebook is not ipso fa cto a Principle, if we can imagine that a process which is otherwise external to a system were going on inside of it, and then would have no qualms about calling that extern al turned internal process cognitive, then the divide between internal and external is not in itself sufficient for marking off cognitive processes from non cognitive ones. Neither is location of processing a sufficient marker for derived versus non derive d content. As he come to satisfy the demands on being, in virtue of their role withi n the larger system, and Aizawa (2005) endorse this very idea when they provide an exposition of their view on non derived content by way of machine intelligence. If, a s they suggest, we were to design a thinking machine modeled on human thought, there must be symbols or
63 representations that mean something to the machine solely by virtue of their being eanings might be to the machine cannot be derived. And yet, Adams and Aizawa concede that it might turn Y, and Z in virtue of satisfying conditions for both derived and non larger system of Otto + Notebook, it is conceivable at least that the entailment conditions for something being both derived and non derived are i ndistinguishable. Even if we must admit that the notebook encodings are entirely derived, the demand that absolutely no part of a cognitive system can trade in conventional representations, argues Clark (2008, 2005) is too stringent. Suppose there were M artians, he suggests (2005), who had an extra biological mechanism responsible for storing bitmapped images of blocks of text, such that they could later recall and use the images, much in the same way Otto utilizes his notebook. Surely, Clark argues, we w ould grant cognitive processing, and if we can accept that some skin and skull bound processes trade in extrinsic representations, then it makes no sense to claim that onl y those processes involving derived content that occur in the head count as cognitive. Thus, if other forms of memory are going to count as memory at all, then, as the Parity Principle holds, it would be overly presumptuous to exclude synonymous cases of m emory based solely on the fact that the confines of the brain have been breached. Based on the functional similarity of memory retrieval in these various cases, Clark (2008) concludes that every truly cognitive system need not operate entirely with
64 intri nsic representations, nor must every proper part of a cognitive system operate with such representations. Interestingly, Adams and Aizawa (2008) claim to have never made such demands in the first place: each cognitive process must involve non said that Clark has misrepresented their position and that their actual argument runs something like this: for something to count as truly cognitive, it must tr ade in non derived representations at least some of the time But then, if this is the case, what good does such a specification do if we are trying to define and delimit the mark of the must be non derived, then Otto and his notebook can easily be smuggled back into the picture, as quite clearly, and Aizawa want to maintain, then they are not at o cognition might be characterized by one or the other or both kinds of representational processes. At the end of the day, nevertheless, Adams and Aizawa stubbornly resist the idea that certain sorts of extrinsic content, especially that content which is externally derived, could ever feature as a proper part of a genuinely cognitive system. In order to understand why they keep returning to this intracranialism as an explanatory marker for cognition, we must now turn to th e other of their two conditions, namely that genuinely cognitive processes arise from specific types of causes, none of which could be external to the system or agent in question.
65 2. 3 Kinds of Causes The motivation for claiming that specific causes of cognitive processes are we find in Adams and Aizawa a continuation of the claim that what makes human thought special is that it involves non derived content and this kind of content can only concerns, Rupert (2004) echoes the notion that if cognitive science is to remain a meaningful enterprise whatsoever, it should proceed like any oth er unified science, by attempting to discover causal regularities or nomological features of the human mind. In fact, we should expect that cognition should be explicable in terms of as few laws as f mind and that this science, like any other, should strive to be elegant and simple. I have explained above why it is at least dubious that the mark of the cognitive will be made solely on the basis of finding systems that trade in non derived represen tations, but even if we accept that this is what truly characterizes cognition, intracranialism is hardly a quick inference to be made. Adams and Aizawa seem to help themselves to the assumption that non derived content must be internally produced, without explaining precisely what the mechanism is that is responsible for such production. They are not foolish enough to claim strict mind brain identity, as Clark fact representations a re manufactured by human brains (Adams and Aizawa, 2001, my emphasis). Is it really a fact that the brain is the only means of intrinsic content production? Or is this the very debate we are trying to settle?
66 far construed. First, I have only been hypothetically granting Adams and Aizawa the original claim that cognition is marked by non derived content, and so, if this turns out not to be the case, looking for special ki nds of causes solely for non derived content is rendered pointless. However, if their argument were to work, it would still not follow that what goes on inside the head is the only place to look for the cause of non derived content. On the one hand, perhap s the entire organism plays an essential causal role in producing these representations; in fact, one need not stop with the organism itself, but could conceivably argue that many environmental factors actually cause intrinsic content. This might seem to c ountervail the very definition of intrinsic as being entirely generated from within, but it need not. The very question on the table is what exactly do we mean by a cognitive system and so, if our answer rests on the notion that it must internally produce Otto+notebook=one entire cognitive system, then surely, the notebook can produce non derived content. Nevertheless, Adams and Aizawa do not find this crucial piece of the puzzle compelling enough to discuss. They simply assume that the whole of cognition is captured by a technological virgin human body, and in their more extreme moments, a naked brain. B processes must involve at least some operations whose content is intrinsic. It becomes immediately clear that this only hurts their case, as we no longer know precisely how much o f the system must trade in these non derived representations, how often, and to
67 what extent. Determining the law understand seems a rather arduous task. Besides, if we open the door to allow that some derived o r even socially constructed content might actually constitute certain cognitive processes, then intracranialism is not only a difficult inference to make, but a foolish one. Perhaps Otto and his notebook constitute a cognitive system and to be sure, Otto h as some intrinsic content, such as the standing belief that the notebook is trustworthy, that if he desires to go somewhere, he ought to consult it, etc. But then the occurent belief that the museum is at such and such location, which is content that sure ly features as a proper part of the cognitive process, is a matter of socially contrived symbols and scribbles in notebook. So, Adams and Aizawa are faced with the dilemma of either having to stick to their original guns, thereby begging the entire questi on concerning the what and where of cognition, or they retract and then must deal with the consequences of allowing that cognition is hybridized and often causally dependant on extrinsic content. Suppose Adams and Aizawa did concede the second horn of th is dilemma and accepted that at least some of the time, cognition is constituted by more than mere neural activity and can include coupled systems such as Otto and his notebook. The worry remains for them and for Rupert (2004) however, that there would be no end to the odd couplings we might consider to be cognitive and hence the laws governing such systems will grow increasingly complex and unwieldy. In the name of parsimony therefore, we should assume that cognition is bound to the human organism, or main tain a hypothesis of Human Embedded Cognition (HEMC). While coupled systems might in fact facilitate cognitive processes, the actual cognitive process itself remains embedded within the organism, such that cognitive science remains holistic and intact, its subject matter
68 simply being the human brain or perhaps the entire human organism. While it should be granted that a science of mind should have a unified set of processes it studies, this demand in no way proves that the causes subtending such processe s are entirely within the organism. For one thing, by insisting that we look for specific kinds of causes for cognitive processes, Rupert tacitly sneaks in the notion that the effects the cognitive processes themselves, have been comprehensively catalogue d and comprise a unified set. To be sure, we have some very coarse grained mental types MEMORY, BELIEF, HUNGER, etc., but these cognitive kinds 1) are not the only types t at all discovered by examining brains or even entire organisms for that matter. Surely, memory, belief and hunger were psychological phenomena long before we had any idea that the brain even played a role whatsoever in any of these events. Take depressio n, for example. While we can identify dopamine levels as indicative of emotional states, this is at once only a recent discovery and furthermore, as any critical philosopher of science will attest, brain chemistry is at best strongly correlated with more c omplex psychological states. So how did we go about determining that persons can be in a cognitive state of sadness over long periods of time before we had neuroscience? It seems that observable behavior lack of eating, sleeping, loss of interest, and qu ite simply, verbal reporting is a large part of how we come to understand that there is a type of mental state called depression. To be sure, behavior is belongs to an organism, but often, it is generated by organism environment interactions, which exte nd well beyond the scope of processes internal to our brains or bodies. If we are using such broad descriptors to define the suitable types of processes to be studied by cognitive science, then, as Clark
69 (2008) asks, what principled reason do we have for r some form of higher level unification one hand, our coarse grained psychological types are hardly unified or agreed upon in the first place and thus, it is a bit hasty to go looking for their causes, meanwhile delimiting those causes to the ski n and skull barrier; on the other hand, even if we do have a common sense understanding of what sorts of processes are to count as types of cognition, such understanding is so often on the human + her tools, the human + her environment, or the human + her culture, and not the isolated and encapsulated brain. spend enough time discussing, is that by insisting that 1) cognitive science should study only natural kinds, we must also accept the corollary argument which is 2) that only natural kinds can have causal regularities. This further suggests 3) an assumption that we have some principled way to distinguish between natural and non natural types of processes. In turn, this of shown to be a natural kind. Regarding 1), this is an assumption made by nearly all natural science, hence the term natural modifying science, and yet, why should we believe that cognitive scien ce is necessarily a natural science? As Gallagher and Zahavi (2008) define it, cognitive science is already an assortment of other sciences: neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, and even philosophy, the last of which could hardly be said to only study na turally occurring kinds of processes. If cognitive science is itself not entirely concerned with natural kinds, then perhaps part of its reaches go beyond law like regularities. Even
70 if the case were made successfully that cognitive science, like any other science, must proceed by discovering causal regularities, nowhere in any of this reasoning is the further entailment that what we might call a non natural process could not have law like regularity of which we could easily discover and record. A paradigm case of a non natural kind would be computers, as they are prototypical human artifacts. Nevertheless, such artifacts technological memory enhancements, calculating devices, and word processors are surely describable in terms of causal regularity, henc e we have computation, and is generally not whether that computation takes place in a Mac or a PC. In other words, the causal regularities studied in science are often function al roles and have little to do with the realizers of those processes. So, on the one hand, we might think that the distinction between natural and non natural kinds is of no use insofar as both natural and non natural kinds of stuff can still realize the same processes of which we are interested in studying in natural science. The very simple point Kim (1992) makes concerning the non naturalness of Jade applies here. Jade can be said to be a composite, itself not being a natural kind, but instead composed of two naturally occurring kinds of minerals, jadeite and nephrite. Nevertheless, we treat cally say that a cake is unnatural simply because it is made of flour, milk, eggs, and so forth. Furthermore, cakes have specific causal regularities governing them. They burn if baked at too high of a temperature, they grow mold if left out for too long, and they have certain
71 including the human organism or the brain for that matter, arguably decompose into parts, some of which are not entirely biological themselves. A brain has no meaning or function if not to control a body and hence, many people now speak of the brain and the central nervous system as one thing. Likewise, we typically mark off bodies by virtue of referring to the skin barrier that seems to provide a boundary from environmental outsiders, and yet, the body remains constantly penetrated by these external factors, especially in the case of technologically enhanced bodies transformed by prostheses and kind of specie, regardless of their penetrative and alterative qualities. Hence, the lesson to be which we are composed is not what makes us natu ral kinds. If we are natural kinds at all, plugged in, wired up, and technologically modified peculiar verbiage, Anot her point to consider regarding natural kinds and causality is that even if we were forced to admit that causal regularities are the means by which we discover natural kinds, it does not follow that cognition is itself a natural kind. Indeed, as the previo us discussion indicates, we have plenty of reasons for thinking that cognitive processes are caused by a whole array of phenomena, from biological to technological and hence, law like regularity regarding such a diverse set of causes seems dubious at best. As Levy is not a natural kind. It is a compound entity comprised of at least two (and probably
72 We can summarize the implications of the discussion above as follows: Science deals in kinds. If it only deals in natural kinds then if cognition is a natural kind, we should expect causal regularities governing it that we can pick out and study. It is possible that these nomic structures ex ist even if cognition does not occur entirely within a non natural kind, it still can be the subject of cognitive science. In other words, something can have law like regularity and still not be considered natural, such as an extended mind. The larger point here seems to me to be that it is arbitrary whether we call something natural or non natural in science. What matters is whether sufficient law like regularity is present so as to study the entity or process in question. Extended cognition, So much for relying on natural kinds of causal processes as a means for marking off cognitive from non cognitive phenomena; nevertheless, a worry remains, namely that without causal regularities we cannot identify with any regularity, the cognitive agent which is of course, the real subject of cog sci. To be sure, there is a sense in which he re is why. The problem as I see it, according to Rupert, Adams and Aizawa, et al, is that without the ability to reference regularly occurring causal kinds, there will be no way to effectively decide what is the proper subject of cognitive science and what is not. Traditionally, they claim, the human mind, or more broadly, the human, is the what cognitive science studies and if we begin extending what it means to have a mind or to be
73 a cognitive agent too far, we will thereby relinquish the entire science t hat concerns itself with otherwise regularly occurring natural phenomena. While I concede that humans are regularly occurring phenomena, this by no means suggests that limiting the study of their cognition to what goes on inside their heads will magically make clear what it means to be cognitive agent. If Rupert is so worried about the loss of unified personhood in the wake of HEC, he might do well to consider that this problem is not specific to HEC. Indeed, as far back at least as Hume we are forced to re alize that defining a person is treacherous business, and this lineage continues with Parfit (1971), Perry (1975) and others, who remind us that even referring to a body as the bounds of personhood will never be a sufficient criterion for marking of one ag ent from another, nor will memories, personality traits, or phenomenological descriptions. Thus, pointing the finger at HEC and charging it with dissipating the subject of cognitive science merely distracts one from recognizing the same inherent difficulty It would seem therefore that Rupert (2004) conflates two worries that he thinks are endemic to HEC: 1) the dissipation of the cognitive agent and thus, the su bject matter of cognitive science and 2) the over saturation of the mental into an otherwise endless better left to another project altogether. As we have seen, the i ssue arises with or without extended cognition and furthermore, it is a separate concern that we need to define and delimit cognitive agents as opposed to cognitive processes. Regarding 2), this appears to be the chief concern underpinning all criticism le vied against HEC. Thus, Clark (2007, 2008, in press) has recently presented a more modest view, Organism Centered
74 Cognition (HOC) in an effort to assuage some of the paranoia which accompanies envisaging a world bloated by cognition. 2. 4 HOC: Moderate Resolution or Hasty Retreat? genuine extent to which human cognition, though not organism bound, remains 9). The hypothesis is that at t imes, cognitive processes might in fact reach beyond the skin and skull barrier of the human organism; nevertheless, the organism and in particular the brain/central nervous system, remain the core constituents of human cognition. Thus, Organism Centered C ognition (HOC) represents somewhat of a withdrawal from the original thesis of HEC, as it places the Clark (2008) still thinks HEC can be maintained and hence, HOC is mere ly a modification of it, in some sense, HOC places constraints sets boundaries as it were, on mathematician+pencil coupling, for example, seems to center on HEC as providing no such 18 such that the reformulation ameliorates this concern by reminding us that the brain, although not the only component involved in cognitive processes, remains the chief executor of them. Has the worry entirely subsided? The HOC still suffers from the inability to specifically mark cognitive processes from non cognitive ones, insofar as the only claim 18 The senior partner/equal partner description is borrowed from Dan Hutto, personal communication.
75 being mad e is that the human organism is a necessary component of cognition. Surely, having a human body or brain will not suffice for cognition all by itself. Furthermore, EXTENDED, as Clark (2008) now calls it, still governs the overall picture we should have of minds; namely, that while organism centered, mental processes are not always bound to the organism. Thus, the question remains, just how far do they reach? Is it possible, as Clark and Chalmers (1998) suggest that a belief about what time a meeting is to b e held can be constituted by a coupled system involving two organisms, one of whom is an absent to what Braddon Mitchell and Jackson (2007) he idea that a functional description of cognitive processes should allow some degree of multiple realizability, even across various physical substrates, does little work here. Common sense functionalism would seem not to extend so far as to include coupli ngs such as literally coupled people; if I cannot ever seem to remember where the theater is, but my spouse can and, upon driving to a show, I depend on his memory to get me there, it hardly seems like something the everyday functionalist would endorse as a singular cognitive process. Moreover, it would be difficult to determine whose mind is extending in such a scenario. We might appeal to a senior partner thesis once again, such that whoever is actually driving the cognitive process along most robustly wo uld around whom we would say cognition is centered. Indeed, if I have a faulty memory and my play an extremely important role in achieving this part of the equation. However, it would not quite be right to say of my spouse and me, if we both arrive at the theater on time, that only one of us was thinking. Based on HOC, of course, we both have brains and
76 under normal circumstances, would be considered separate and disti nct organisms. Hence, if cognition is organism centered, then the coupling of two organisms seems to muddy the waters. biology, but instead admits to degrees of flesh machi ne or even person person couplings, (2004) worry about the HEC, namely that it suffers from cognitive bloat wherein the whole world is potentially imbued with cognition, is only that much more exacerbated by corollary organism bloat counting any and all organism like configurations as organisms, seems to follow. Even Clark (2003) reco gnizes in great detail how much of language, and hence, so much of the world actually gets incorporated into our bodies and likewise, our bodies are constantly being pushed bey ond their usual biological barriers. To be sure, the biological body, by definition can only include what has already been deemed biological kinds of processes but the human body with its plastic hearts, its cochlear implants, and its prostheses, is hardly limited to strictly biological parts. A further complication arises when we consider the possibility of disembodiment that is often afforded at the intersection of bodily subjectivity and technological enhancements, such as those found in virtual worlds new gaming console, Natal in which the controlling device is neither a joystick nor a Wii ) but is instead the
77 frame and kinesthetic movement in order to produce a real time avatar on the screen, one which the player then controls with her body. If one were playing a wakeboarding game, most of the range of motion that would accompany being towed behind a live boat and maneuvering through real water. In a scenario like this, while the organism is indeed an integral part of the overall gameplay, where the player experiences her self is argu ably not anywhere near that biological mass activity and can arguably be said to have left her body in some capacity. This is not to say that a person playing Natal is experiencing anything like a genuine Out of Body Experience (cf. Blanke & Metzinger, 2009), as the body remains integral to the gameplay and is never taken as a separate object to behold in the way patients who have suffered from OBEs often claim to have been floating above their bodies looking down upon them. Nevertheless, there is a sense in which a person participating in a highly realistic virtual world has displaced his or her self from the center, such that organism centeredness does not hold up so w ell. While the brain may still play a role in driving the processes behind the control of the body, the feedback from the game itself must also play an important if not essential role. Not only this, but when asking where the action is happening in this si tuation, one need only observe a crowd of video gamers, in particular an audience of them, to see that no one cares what is going on with the controllers (even if those controllers turn out to be embodied subjects) but their eyes are, like the player in th e game, glued to the screen. What this small digression illustrates is that the worry Rupert has raised about locating a cognitive subject for the purposes of fruitful cognitive science is a serious
78 concern, one that is not ameliorated by claiming that c ognition is organism centered. This is because what Rupert has touched upon is not simply the task of marking off one biological body from another. Given current definitions of organisms in biology, this should be relatively straightforward. Rather, Rupert has charged HEC with the inability to mark off one human like subjectivity in general is possible. 2. 5 Conclusion: Problematizing Subjectivity is Every body To a large extent, Rupert is absolutely correct defining and delimiting cognitive subjects is difficult. Where he goes wrong however, is in assuming that this task is made more challenging by assuming that cognitive processes are dynamically distributed over brains, organisms, and external tools. It would seem, with a quick scan of the entire history of philosophy that no one has yet to pin down precisely how subjectivity is experienced, an d this has certainly not yet been accomplished by reducing subjecthood to biological processes. Thus, to point to finger at HEC for its impotence in solving the mystery of subjectivity is only to accuse any theory, intracranial or otherwise, of the same fa the purposes of engaging in scientific study of persons, psychologically, cognitively, and linguistically, and hence, he might rightly point out that an entire accoun t of subjectivity is not needed for such endeavors. Cognitive science can and has indeed been conducted upon the one body = one person model for its purposes. Again, t his is where Clark will
79 agree that the organism plays an key part in locating cognitive experience, but to think that human bodies themselves are sufficient for understanding all of cognition, psychology, and subjectivity in general, is a huge oversimplifi cation, one to which even Rupert will not likely assent. Surely, when someone is engaged in scientific study of a interactions, and transactions with the world; hence, cogniti ve science must somehow The brain may not be sufficient for such a vast array of experience, but then, is the body enough? Rupert wants to keep cognition confined a nd embedded and his HEMC proposal attempts to rein it in once and for all. Likewise, Clark, although allowing for so easily tracked with its implants and prostheses, along with the experiential domain which often has persons feeling as though parts or all of their bodies are not even their own. It will be worthwhile therefore, to examine problematic embodiment in som e detail in order to see why neither HEMC nor any other science in which it is an obje ct, relatively static, and highly constrained by genetic, chromosomal, and cellular processes. Embodiment denotes the way that body is experienced This phenomenological consideration and the juxtaposition it affords us between understanding first, why the experiential domain properly understood must be distributed over more than mere biological bodies, but also, that when we understand just how
80 problematic embodiment is, we will begin to see why subjectivity itself, the very element interactions. Much like I will argue that embodiment is not reducible to bodies, I will push this argument f urther to suggest that cognitive subjects are never wholly contained within that skin skull barrier. In other words, by properly problematizing embodiment and subjectivity, something I think Clark and the externalists have failed to do thus far, I will be able to marshal an even stronger case against their intracranial opponents.
81 Chapter 3 Not Just Any body : Bodies, Embodiment, Embodied Subjectivity But because I who am a man have seen the cadavers of men dissected, because I have read articles on physiology, I conclude that my body is constituted ex actly like all those which have been shown to me on the dissection table or of which I have seen colored drawings in books [Sartre, 1956; 401] 3.1 Introduction In Being and Nothingness, Jean Paul Sartre spends a great deal of time dis por soi and en soi ) and often thing an object for science a nd medicine to investigate if we try to understand our own peculiar existence solely in terms of the body, in itself we shall always come up short. The way my body shows up for me, he body sense, therefore, prefiguring the anti reductionist response to claims regarding the rstand, once He is also highlighting a crucial difference between how we might experience our own embodiment in ways indescribable by objective accounts of bodies. In other words, when I experience my body, I do not do so in the same way I experience the bodies of others, nor do I experience it like any other object, such as the cadaver on the operating table
82 Sartre mentions I might be able to conceive of having a bod y like all the others out there in the world, but I achieve this only through my body and hence, my body is also my being. Recalling that, as Rupert (2004) argues, in order to be a meaningful and might provide just such a point of reference. Indeed, as we have seen in the previous chapter, based on parsimony, thinkers like Rupert argue for something very much like a reduction of cognitive subjectivity to an objective bo dy object, be it the whole body or perhaps even just a specific part of it, namely, the brain (cf. Adams and Aizawa, 2010). Thus, the reductionist idea that cognitive processes are always contained in a body object is at least a working theory worth consid eration. Even if, as Clark suggests, we allow that cognitive processes are not bound to the body, but are instead typically centered on it, the question remains: what precisely are the limits of this body? In other words, given bodily malleability, it is n ot a straightforwardly simple task to definitely state where the body ends and the rest of the world begins. In turn, marking off cognitive subjects is a tricky than just my biological body and may even, as the CEO secretary example from Chapter 2 illustrates, center on two or more such bodies. As it turns out, this question of embodiment or, the question of how I live through my body is problematic for intracranialist s an d externalist s alike. In what follows, I intend to expose some of the experienced in th e way science would deem that it ought to be there is often a disconnect
83 where we are and the subjective phenomenological account of where I find myself. 3. 2 Having AnyBody, Being Somebody What it means to ha ve a body is not as straightforward is it may seem. The very utterance I have a body is enigmatic insofar as it sets the subject, I in opposition to the body, as an object for me The history of this problem is long and complex and I shall not attempt to sketch it in detail, but will instead jump immediately into contemporary discussion. Indeed, by doing so, one can see the same thematic difficulties that have persisted for centuries continually resurface, as nearly all language surrounding ownership of th e body, both in philosophical and scientific quarters, channels the Cartesianism these disciplines have sought for so long to disavow The paradox of bodily having or the idea that the body is something owned by me, is what I seek to further clarify in th is section. To begin, consider human bodies from a post neuroscientific revolution vantage the rest of the body is treated more like an extremity to the brain. When it comes to something like mind reading, the ability to infer what someone is thinking or feeling, for example, it is assumed that this ability is localized in the brain, possibly in the mirror neuron system (Goldman & Gallese, 1998) or distributed among several systems. The debate between simulationists ( e.g., Goldman, 2006) and theory theorists ( e.g., Gopnik & Meltzoff, 1997; Perner, 1991), is about how the process is carried out, not about where the process takes place. It is an unspecified preconception that the execution of mindreading is a brain event. Eve n in hybrid theories (e.g., Nichols
84 and Stich, 2004), although Fodorian (1983) anti localization modularity talk pervades the discussion, the idea that the substrate of these activities, whether we want to call them modules or mechanisms, is the brain and the brain only. Brain centered cognitive science and philosophy of mind is perhaps most fervent when it comes to the question of how conscious experience in general is made possible. The hypothesized answer the Neural Correlate of Consciousness (NCC) has yet to be found, but the assumption that consciousness can be reduced to a brain process or set of processes is certainly guiding the research ( e.g., Koch, 2004). Subsequently, proposals r be explained under an consciousness studies. The very idea that the NCC is presupposed as existing is telling. It is not a general bodily correlate of consciousnes s, but a specifically neural one. Embodiment has purposefully and systematically been left out. To be sure, a brain is a body or part of a that retain their funct This is not an entirely fair assessment, given that it is obviously presupposed in studies of say, vision, that eyes are a necessary component and the recent focus on saccades and microsa c cades (cf. Martinez Conde, 2008, 2007 2009; Martinez Conde, et al, 2009) is a testament to such awareness. Furthermore, we might consider that a person needs in addition to eyes, th e extra ocular muscular system and good control over head posture and movem ent in order for the eyes and the saccading they perform to function properly. T hese things depend further on the vestibular and proprioceptive systems for
85 general body control. In other words, neither eyes nor brains float around detached and disembod ied whilst realizing visual and cognitive awareness, and yet for the many of the NCC investigators, the brain represents the sin qua non question about mentality If we therefore ask a brain centered NCC investigator what it mea ns to have a aware of oneself as situated in this or that particular biological organism, one that is controlled and words, given that the correlate of find that sense of ownership, that consciousness of oneself as embodied But notice how body, such that we imagine the brain as a relationship, one in which the balance of power i s in the hands of a senior partner namely, the brain. The idea of distributed control among brain and body, or even brain, body and world is often ignored or dismissed, as is of course, the more radical view that brains and bodies and environments are all cf Hutto, 2006 ) There is a similitude between the senior partner view of the brain and the immaterial Cartesian soul, th at disembodied ego which Husserl ( 1960 ; 1931 ) later referred to as the I pole of experience. Even though the brai n centered theorists of the late twentieth century claim to be denouncing any form of dualism, a persistent form of it
86 Cartesian Medit ations and elsewhere, 19 stands over and above the body, who takes his or her body as an object for this or that having in the first place. 20 Owning the body for the physic alist and phenomenologist alike therefore amounts to admitting somewhat of a dual natured self. Even in the naturalistic world mysteriously splits my self into both a subjec t of my experiences and an object for me The difference between physicalism and phenomenology regarding this split between the body as subject and the body as object is that while the former tends to brush the problem aside, the latter takes it as an issu into discussions of cognition and embodiment (e.g. Legrand, 2006 ) Physicalists, for example, often attempt to explain the apparent fissure by suggesting that in other words, whatever dualism is present is simply a grammatical consequence (e.g. Ryle, 1945). Nevertheless, it is not simply a matter of linguistic convention that motivates proponents of the NCC to think that the brain is though it is not a substance dualism, like the Cartesian picture of bodily ship as it were, has been identified as the brain (the captain) and the rest of the body, a mere vessel. Of c ourse, any good physicalist will renounce the idea that the brain and the body are ontologically distinct and can thus avoid the pitfalls of Cartesianism and yet, 19 Cf. Ideas various other translated fragments from the archives in Leuven, esp. 1964. 20 Husserl, albeit at times quite Cartesian, is not always as strongly so. He expre sses a different conception in Ideen II where he sets out his view of the lived body and something akin to an enactive view all of which influenced Merleau Ponty. Also, the transcendental ego was not regarded as a spiritual substance in the Cartesian wa y.
87 when it comes to explaining the problematic nature of having a sense of ownership of my body while simultaneously being that body, little more than hand waving typically results. It is taken for granted by Koch (2004) and others that this supposed body as subject/body as object split, like consciousness more generally, will be eventually be descri bable in strict neurobiological terms. These assumptions are not the basis of the phenomenological method and, as we shall see, not only does the sense of ownership Ponty, 1962; Gallagher, 2005; Zahavi, 2006), problematizing and describing this of cognition. As we have seen so far, not everyone in cognitive science and philosophy of m ind has reacted to the neuroscientific revolution in the way reductive physicalists have While Thompson, and Rosc h 1991; plays in cognition. The Gibsonian tradition invites serious discussion, for example, about proprioception and its contribution to cognition. Where the body is in re lation to other objects is ascertained via a concatenation of all the sensory modalitie s, and has been argued by some Proprioceptive awareness can be further analyzed, as Gallagher (2005) sug gests, into the different roles it plays in what he calls a body image and a body schema. The former draws on multiple (including sensory and emotional) input s to create an explicit that is hile the latter,
88 which primarily serves the demands of motor control, involves a much more tacit awareness of the body and its situatedness in the world. If I think about my body and decide it is out of shape, I am conjuring an image, or if I participate i n an unfamiliar activity like learning to dance the tango for the first time, I will benefit from paying very close attention to my feet, my posture, and the position of my arms, which means I will be employing a body image. Contrast these examples with wa king in the middle of the night to obtain a glass of water or putting on clothes while simultaneously watching television. When action is habitual or automatic, there is no need to take the body as an object for movement For example, I do not need to pay attention to what my fingers are doing as it buttons my shirt; rather, the body itself provides a schema for action such that in a way, it knows normal and familiar action, Gallagher ar gues, the body schema plays a crucial role. In cases of body schema breakdown, such as in the case of Ian Waterman (henceforth, IW ) for instance, who as a result of a viral infection and subsequent mylenated nerve fiber damage, which resulted in the loss of proprioception and tactile sense below the neck, is unable to perform everyday tasks with the automaticity most of us are accustomed to, the body is no longer a transparent lived through medium. Rather, the body as Gallagher suggests, must be used as a tool, its image manipulated and controlled to produce the desired action. More will be said about IW and other embodiment abnormalities later, but it suffices at this point to note that there seem to be two modes of bodily having; one in which we do explicitly take our bodies as representational images, objects to behold, This distinction was made explicit in Merleau
89 Phenomenology of Perception (1962) when he discusses the ways in which perception involves motor skills and is not reducible to simply experiencing an array of sensory data. His example, that of touching silk, is one that begins as a confused sensory state, but with pr actice, transforms into an automatic and immediate recognition, one that it is nearly impossible to explain. In such processes, Merleau Ponty claims that our bodies do not appear to us as objects to manipulate, nor do our senses present us with heterogene ous ready that such as occurs when we go from awkwardly splashing and nearly drowning to smoothly gliding across the water in an effortless swimming stroke, we have acquired the xperiential background. The objects of our perception are therefore no longer bodily movements or specific body parts, but instead are the tasks in front of us (249). In addition to Gibson, the phenomenological tradition has greatly influenced thinkers l ike Gallagher (2005), when it comes to bodily having ; but also, thinkers like Clark (1998, 2003, 2008), Haugeland (1998) and Zahavi (2003, 2007) have all taken cues from phenomenological investigation s when attempting to understand a mind that is embodied and embedded in a world. Similarly, Heidegger (1962) and Scheler (see Zahavi 2003) who in turn influenced thinkers such as Merleau Ponty ( 1964 ) and Sartre ( 1966 ), set their phenomenological sights more towards being embodied, and being in the world ( and a way that is ) A s Heidegger (1927) notes, the world is not wholly other to me, but I am always involved
90 it and because of this pervasive involvement I often fail to notice the primary re lationship between me and my body, my tools, and even language, because for the most part, that relationship is invisible to me. I will return to phenomenological descriptions as a means to complement and add to the discussion of embodiment in cognitive s cience in a later section however, as I think getting clear on precisely what the current trends are with respects to bodily having is where one should start. Rather than engage in a standard historical project in which the origins of or influences on cur rent theories is somehow unearthed, I think by beginning with the varying viewpoints on embodiment and then examining the ways in which phenomenological descriptions are employed, either implicitly or explicitly will illuminate the historical underpinnings in a much more interesting manner. An analogy can be drawn between distinction and the distinction Heidegger (1927) draws between the present at handedness ( Vorhandenheit ) and ready to handedness ( Zuhandenheit ) with wh ich objects show up to us. The well known hammer example is intended to point out that in most cases, the tools we use are barely noticeable; when using a hammer for example, one does not focus on the hammer itself but more on the hammering and in this sen se our tools are often more like extensions of our bodies thereby becoming part of the body schema. In cases of breakdown, malfunction, or in moments of theoretical reflection however, the hammer becomes present at hand, an object we consciously think ab out and see as distinct from ourselves. As Gallagher points out, our bodies can similarly be therefore take it as an object, or even a tool for my use, and thus trea t it as present at
91 hand (as in the form of a body image). F or the most part, however, we walk, talk, move around, and interact with one another in a much more holistic and unreflective way In other words, our body is most often ready to hand, because we are most often operating with what Gallagher terms a body schema. This analogy between the way tools appear to us and the way our own bodies are lived through and represented is not perfect of course, nor do we think of tools as inherently attached to our bodies. Nevertheless, in some cases, our bodies do feature more like present at hand tools, when, for example, we feel detached, dysphoric, or just simply clumsy and awkward, such as in the case of t aking a ballet class for the first time. Likewise, as the overarching aim of this project is intended to argue, the ready to hand feature of tools we are most often accustomed to experiencing, means that our body external objects into itself, thereby extending The idea that my body can at times fade into the background and at other times, it is more like an explicit object I must manipulate, is phenomenologically uncontroversial. Contention arises, however, when we attempt to take this phenomenological description and utilize it in a philosophical or scientific explanation about cognition generally. As the previous paragraph suggested, we can experience ourselves a s if detached from our bodies, or so at least it seems. It is an interesting question to pursue therefore, if we ask, just how severe can this feeling of detachment be? Answering this question would point towards a more general answer to the question, how much does our cognitive experience depend on our being attached to a body? Moreover, by examining the phenomenology of embodiment, we can begin seriously to ask to what extent is the body schema plastic and
92 extendable, such that tools and other external ob jects might become part of the body whole. If it turns out that embodiment, even in cases of what I will collectively term embodiment is malleable, then it would have to foll ow that cognition is better understood body. As is the case in much of cognitive science, one way to approach the question cases in order to see what sorts of breakdowns are occurring. These breakdowns typically highlight what, in non pathological scenarios, is at play. There are hosts of possible to consi der, but I will limit the discussion to five, as each highlights a unique dissociation between the objective body and subjectively lived through embodiment and provides clues for understanding how embodiment plays a role in cognition and action. In partic ular, by looking at the levels of experienced dissociation, we can approach an answer to the question concerning how much cognition is dependent Thus, I will begin with the rare case of Ian Waterman, who suffered deafferentat ion, a nd will then proceed to discuss aplasic phantoms, somatoparaphrenia, alien hand syndrome, and Mbius syndrome. 3. 3 Bodily Breakdowns The following examples of abnormal embodiment are found regularly throughout the literat ure, from cognitive science to gender studies and from philosophy of mind all the way back to classic phenome nology (e.g. Merleau Ponty, 1962 ). Despite the
93 regularity with which cases such as phantom limbs or Somatoparaphrenia are simply explicated, once b eyond simple description, the interpretations vary wildly. Nativists, intracranialists, externalists, essentialists, and post modernists have all weighed in on at least one of the cases below, and because of such disparity, I shall proceed first by simply citing evidence and exemplars from each category of bodily breakdown. Then, in the next section, a closer look at the supposed philosophical implications of each will be undertaken. 3. 3 .1 Deafferentation: The Story of Ian Waterman Ian Waterman (IW) is by far t he most discussed single patient in the contemporary literature on proprioception. This is because his condition is extremely rare and intriguing, as he suffered damage to the large myelinated nerve fibers in his peripheral nervous system which are normal ly responsible for proprioceptive awareness and the sense of touch The damage resulted in his loss of automatic motor control below the neck. Speech, facial expressions, and head movement remained normal However, his implicit proprioceptive awareness a feature of embodiment taken for granted by most of us has been lost In normal bodily action I am able to engage in the smooth coping that often without thinking abou t my body or having my limbs in my visual field. For IW, however, to move about, dress himself, or do anything normal functioning persons can do automatically he must instead concentrate with great intensity on the task at hand. Indeed, he must maintain w hatever part of his body he wishes to manipulate within his visual field in order to achieve the desired action. Therefore, performing multiple tasks at
94 once, such as walking while talking on the cell phone abilities often taken for granted by those who engage in them routinely are difficult for IW. He has no trouble talking, since the proprioceptive loss is from the neck down, but the amount of concentration he requires to walk distracts him from the conversation. in terms of a distinction between his use of body image and body schema while the later is the more pre reflective sense of bodily location and relation to objects outside of it. In other words, for most of us, buttoning our shirts while slipping on shoes how far each of our limbs are from one another, from external objects, and so on. In normal functioning, th e body schema provides the control needed to sit upright, walk image of himself, concentrating wit h great intensity on posture and his arm as it moves to grasp an object or his legs as he places one in front of the other as he walks across uneven surfaces Practice does not make his movements any more automatic; each time he reaches to grasp something for example, he has to think through the action. Only a few aspects of his locomotive movement have come close to being automatic namely, certain aspects of his leg movements while walking, and this is the case only on relatively smooth surfaces. IW i s able to drive an automobile, but he will never be able to drive while talking on the cell phone. ally the case in non
95 emphasized, when we interact with the environment, vision, sensorimotor control, and proprioceptive awareness usually work seamlessly together, such that we hardl y ever notice them as distinct systems. Nevertheless, even in non pathological experience, we An example Dreyfus (1972) cites in this regard is driving, It is safe to assum e that every person who has ever learned to drive a car, despite how quickly and easily they may have picked up the skill, went through a phase in which all of the discrete components of the task the steering wheel, the brakes, the gears, and so forth were individualized and consciously reflected upon. As we become more accustomed to the rhythm of checking the road, accelerating and decelerating, and gauging the sharpness of upcoming turns lly, we find ourselves talking on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette, and adjusting the temperature, all while speeding down the highway and zipping in and out of traffic. be argue that even in clumsy and inefficient driving, our ability to move our limbs in space, to unreflectively control our bodies, and to execute actions without explicit visua l imagery remains. In other words, the reason a task like driving begins so awkwardly is not a feature of our embodiment per se but is rather a lack of mastery over our tools. We I will attempt really a distinction without a genuine difference; however, even if it is the case that the driving example is insufficient to demonstrate that in non pathological actions, we can
96 succeed. If I am accustomed to jogging along a particular path, I might very well engage in a conversation with my running partner or if I am alone, it might even be the case that I the jog itself, but instead have outlined a paper or planned a party. Contrast this familiar experience with jogging on a path that is entirely new, one that contains many unknown obstacles such as rocks, tree roots, and fluctuating topography. Quite literally in this the way in w hich Ian must watch what his feet are doing at all times. Add to this of going on at eye level, we might smack into a tree, another person, or a building. For me, but not for IW, over time, the manipulation of discrete body parts, calculated movements, and detailed planning become more automatic. and I no longer represent my body to myself as a manipulable object. On the other hand, seeming automatic, to Ian, the maintaining a visual awareness of his body and uti lizing his body image remains a constant necessity and hence, the body schema with which genuine automaticity is achieved in non experiential framework. 21 What we can glean from this discussion of IW, as well as the comparisons between his case and non pathological embodiment is two fold. First, we learn that in 21 normal looking grasping and reaching.
97 normal, everyday andfamiliar actions, there is no need to consciously monitor sensory input, motor action, vision, and prorprioception. At the pre reflective level of bodily experience, In other words, I do not experience any dissociation with my body; it is not an object for me when I am say, walking through my house while talking on the phone. It is also not the case that I feel uncomfortable in my at homeness can be disrupted to the point that in order to engage in otherwise simple tasks, taking the body as an object for me is absolutely es sential. Hence, the second thing we learn is that there are non pathological experiences in which I can become more distanced from my body; indeed, it is helpful to do so in some cases, such as learning a new skill. A question mark hangs over these phenome nological findings however: when More importantly, have we not resurrected a troublesome dualism by suggesting that not only in pathological cases, but in everyday unco mfortable or awkward actions, we can tease ourselves apart from our bodies? In order to answer these questions, I will turn to fracturing of the cognizer from his or he r body. As I will continue to highlight throughout these cases however, there appears to be a need to distinguish between a pre reflective and reflective level of awareness when discussing automatic versus non automatic action. Herein, I think, will be the key to understanding from whence bodily dissociation, in all its various forms, arises.
98 3. 3 .2 Phantom Limbs involving loss of one or more limbs is not so uncommon. Amputations i n the U.S. are estimated to affect on e in every 200 persons (Adams, et al, 1999) with reasons for the surgery ranging from injury, to cancer, to dysvascular complications, the latter being the most common and increasingly prevalent cause. 22 The typically ac companying phantom limb syndrome has fascinated philosophers, psychologists, and doctors alike for ages. Sensations felt in parts of the body no longer present led Descartes, for instance, in a fit of radical skepticism, to doubt that we can really ever tr ust our senses and that all bodily knowledge is dubious. Even more astonishing is that persons born without one or more limbs (aplasic) often claim to experience phantom sensations in the missing limb. Aplasic phantoms affect a much smaller percentage 23 of the population, but nonetheless, their existence has suggested to many (Melzack, et al, 1997; Ramachadran & Hirstein, 1998) rains. Although the symptomology is not entirely agreed upon in the medical community, the received view (cf. Simme l, 1958) about phantom limbs has been that they are only experienced in patients who have had amputations late enough in life so as to be ab now missing appendage. However, countervailing evidence obtained by We instein and Sersen (1961) shows that a significant number of persons born without a limb do experience phantom symptoms. Despite the phenomenological acc ounts of aplasic phantoms, several theorists (Melzack, 22 Fact sheet for U.S. amputations, National Limb Loss Center, 2008. 23 Cf. Wilkins, et al. (1998), in which it i s estimated that only 7.6% of persons with congenitally missing limbs experience phantom sensations.
99 1990; Merleau Ponty, 1962; Poeck, 1964) have argued that the phenomenon of forgetting which is present only in amputees, makes a big difference as to how we ought to interpret the role of body schema in shaping the experience of the missing limb; in other words, the phantom symptoms of an amputee and an aplasic are markedly different and hence ought to be referred to as distinct phenomena. in which amputees who otherwise are fully aware that their limb is missing, will still act as though it were present in an attempt to use it Examples from Poeck (1964) such as leg amputees who continue to attem pt to walk with both legs, suggest, according to Gallagher (2005) missing limb continues to function schematically in motor behavior for an indefinite time. It continues to play a part in the organization of instrumental or locomotive actions. Its absence i 90). Put another way, amputees exper ience their phantoms representationally at the body image level to be sure, as they claim to have kinesthetic experiences of pain, itching, and so forth in the missing limb. But they also experience their phantoms pre reflectively, as part of their bod y schema, and hence in automatic, sensorimotor action, there is no sense of Gallagher goes on to argue that even in cases of aplasic phantoms, there must be an innate body schema While t he debate concerning nativism is far beyond the scope of body schema shape his discussion of phantom sensations. First of all, as he argues concerning amputees and fo rgetfulness:
100 The phenomenon of forgetting is actually a normal part of normal motor action. Movement in general and specifically the continued functioning of a phantom part in movement, does not depend on a vivid representation or percept of the body, or specifically of the missing limb. Rather, forgetting is normal and possible precisely because motor behavior does not ordinarily require t hat my limbs be included in my perceptual awareness. [2005, 91] Likewise, therefore, persons with congenitally missing limbs do not represent the limb to themselves in normal motor action. So, that their body schema innately includes or does not include the missing limb? Hardly so, and it is just as conceivable that forgetfulness and non forgetfulness alike are products of learned behavior or what Merleau As we have To be sure, a pattern of neural activation might in fact be what subtends many of our memories, but as the Otto case, and pretty much any human who is highly dependent on an external device such as a day planner can attest, a lot of our memories seem to be out of our heads. If so, then why would it be such a stretch to claim that the phenomenon of forgetting might also be the result of bodily encoded behavioral memories, memories that extend beyond the brain and into the rest of the body which also learned at one point to intera ct with the now missing limb? Even more along the lines of an externalized explanation of phantom phenomena would be to take what Meuse (1996) asks us to consider, which is that body images are often culturally informed and highly dependent on social pract ice, and to then conceive of the source for aplasic phantoms as entirely socially derived. This proposal, which could be put in terms of shaping our own body schem a (see, e.g., Brgger, who suggests the involvement of mirror neurons).
101 other information for that matter, is once again, beyond the scope of this project, and furthermore is arguably an intractable debate, especially when it comes to aplasic phantoms. There is no evidence of the phenomenon until late childhood and by then, a vast array of motor, linguistic, and cognitive skills have been acquired, not to mention, a large amount of social information has been absorbed by the child. Determining if the experience of a phantom limb is entirely the result of an innate bodily representation, deeply embedded social ideals about the body, or some combination of the two would requi re first, that the neuroscientific accounts were conclusive and second, that the phenomenology of aplasic phantoms were somehow unified and systematic. Although embryonic studies have been undertaken (cf. Hepper, et al. 1998) in order to determine at what point lateralization of the left and right limbs occurs, they have been interpreted both as providing evidence for innate bodily representations (Ramachadran & Hirstein, 1998) and for the necessity of environmental interactions beyond what goes in utero fo r the pha ntoms to occur (Price, in press). Moreover, some congenital para and development. G iven all of this disparity, it would appear fruitless to try and determine, What does present itself as plausible, howev er, is that we could investigate further the phenomenological descriptions of phantoms, both reported by the aplasics themselves, and the third person accounts given by doctors, scientists, and philosophers.
102 What sorts of sensations are felt in the missing limbs, for what duration, and with what frequency? When engaging in everyday actions such as dressing, walking about, or cleaning the house, are the patients aware of the limb as missing, or is it more that the proprioceptive awareness had by aplasics see ms to include the missing limb as if it were really there, when one is acting automatically, at what Gallagher (2005) would refer to as body schematic level of pre reflective bodily know how? In other words, dividing experience into the two levels of expli cit body image versus tacit bodily action might prove beneficial in determining at what stage of body world interaction the phantom is prevalent As Gallagher argues concerning amputees and phantom limb syndrome, the membe either due to training or by some innately specified predisposition missing a limb (trying to walk on an absent leg, e.g.), what is actually happening is that the body schema is simply pr oducing the sorts of movements we would expect to occur for anyone pre reflectively. The same is true of aplasic phantoms insofar as pre reflectively, the limb shows up as really there, and hence, before there is even time to pause and consider the nature of the sensation, my proprioceptive awareness tells me that there is pain in my left arm. It is only in reflective experience that persons experiencing phantoms will state that they are aware that the limb is actually non existent. Aplasic phantoms and sta ndard phantoms alike illustrate that embodiment is experienced pre reflectively as unified, undifferentiated, and for the most part, without awareness of its discrete parts. In this sense, we need not worry about whether the body schema is innately specifi ed to encode four limbs or whether aplasic phantoms result from some psychological response to perceived norms of embodiment. Those questions miss the
103 understood, a s this is to already attribute too much reflective ability to a system which is by definition, pre reflective. It would seem therefore that whether in pathological or non pathological cases, if fully functional, the body schema operates as a unified and no n dissociating whole. 3. 3 .3 Somatoparaphrenia While aplasic phantoms represent a case in which the holistic nature of the schema can result in a pre reflective sense of owning more limbs than one actually has, on the other end of the spectrum, the somatoparaph renic renounces ownership of one or more appendage s that really do exist In extreme cases, denial of an entire side of the body occurs. Technically, somatoparaphrenics are not simply asomatognosic, meaning they do not just deny ownership of a body part, b ut they also attribute it as belonging to or a relative, bodies, and as such, phenomena surr ounding the disorder are much the inverse of those accompanying aplasic phantoms. Where the former is deluded into thinking the limb actually attached to his or her body is in fact not part of the body whole, the latter experiences sensations in limbs that are not even present. While little is known about somatoparaphrenia, it is generally characterized as one of the many sub versions of the more general delusion, an o sognosia which is the denial of an illness or injury. This is because in most cases of s omatoparaphrenia, the patient has suffered a stroke resulting in right hemisphere damage with
104 hemiparesis/plegia. The refusal to accept the brain damage is translated into some form of disregard for the correlated paretic or plegic limb; in other words, fr perspective, the source of the problem is not in his or her head, but instead resides with the troubled appendage. The problems are not limited to denial of ownership of body parts, which is in fact labeled asomatognosia but, according to a questionnaire given to hemiparetic stroke patient s by Baier and Karnach (2005 ), an o sognosia is further subdivided into somatoparaphrenia, someone else, anasodiaphoria, or a lack of concern/notice of the limb, misoplegia which involves a specifically negative attitude towards the limb, personification or the naming and/or anthropomorphizing the limb, kinetic hallucinations, or the feeling that the limb is moving of its own volition, and perhaps most stri king, patients may claim that the limb simply appeared, as if by magic, a condition known as supernumerary phantom limb syndrome. The above catalog of syndromes highlights the nuanced pathologies that accompany specific brain damage. Although it might be said of all the various forms of anasognosia, that they are of common origin, namely, a hemiparetic stroke, simply relying on the neuropathology as an explanation of the varied psychopathologies is not very illuminating. Thus, in a later section, we will investigate the various modes of ownership and agency operative in these forms of anasognosia, paying particular attention to somatoparaphrenia, as it shares some similar phenomenology with various other pathologies that have hitherto been otherwise ignore d. Examining cases of bodily pathology, such as somatoparaphrenia, shows not only that we can and often do become dissociated from all or parts of our bodies, but also, that there is an important difference
105 between the way the dissociation shows up to us i n conscious experience as opposed to would suggest a permanent loss of his ability to find his bodily place in the world and yet, through a manipulation of his body i mage, he is able to override the otherwise disabled system. Likewise, in somatoparaphrenic patients, it is quite possibly the case that brain unowned. For instance, Katerina Fotopoulou, at the University of London, reports an interesting case. Fotopoulou has a post stroke patient with somatoparaphrenia. Her left arm (paralyzed and without proprioception or sensation), she claims, belongs to her granddaughter. This i s her response when she is asked about her arm and made to look at it. But when she is shown her full image in a mirror, and asked about her left arm as it appears in the mirror, she correctly identifies it as her own. When asked about her arm she looks down, directly at her left arm. Whenever she looks the mirror she identifies it as her own. 24 This suggests that there may be different kinds of perc eption of body as object as Gallagher (2010) suggests. But it also suggests that this cannot be explained purely in terms of damaged brain areas. Nothing changes in the damaged brain areas when the woman looks into the mirror and re establishes her body image on the basis of a visual and literal image in the mirror. The brain, damaged as it is, plus the body, paralyzed as it is, cannot provide an explanation of this re established image. To the brain and the body, one needs to add a particular instrume nt in the world, the mirror, to explain this re established unity. This renewed body image is thus not 24 A similar phenomenon of mirror correction has been found to cause immediate recovery from anosognosia for hemiplegia ( Fotopoulou et al. 2009).
106 reducible to brain processes; it extends to processes that include engagement with the environment beyond the body. 3. 3 .4 A narchic Hand (or Limb) Syndrome One such condition that receives relatively little attention from philosophers concerned with agency and freedom of the will is Anarchic Limb Syndrome (ALS). Typically affecting a hand or arm, patients with ALS experience a loss of control over a part of their bodies such that one hand will reach out and grab objects, repeatedly touch things, and perhaps violently strike other persons or even the person to whom the rogue extremity belongs. Because it is a syndrome, this means that little is known about th e precise cause of the disorder. Neurologically, ALS has been shown to occur after strokes or brain trauma; in particular, damage to the basal frontal lobes and the corpus callosum is often correlated with the occurrence of the synd rome ( Josephs and Roessl er, 2001 ). ically those who opposed to the other, as if the two originated from distinct cognitive agents with distinct intentions (cf. Nishikawa, et al., 2001). As this quick survey suggests, the disorder is far from a unified pathology and thus has no cure. Likewise, the phenomenology behind ALS is rife with inconsistency and variation. One constant that seems to emerge however, is that patients with any form of ALS report a l ack of control (a lack of a sense of agency) over their rogue limb either
107 some or all of the time. This fact will be of key importance when we attempt to tie phenomenological s tory. 3. 3 .5 Mbius Syndrome Another way persons might feel detached from or not in possession of their bodies is found in patients with Mbius syndrome. An extremely rare syndrome, affecting approximately .002% of live births per year, 25 it results from underd eveloped cranial nerves, the nerves emerging immediately below the brain stem. In particular, numbers VI and VII are most often the affected nerve pairs, as these two, which are motor and sensorimotor respectively, control movement of the eyes and facial e xpressions, particularly oral movements involving smiling, frowning, pursing of lips and even chewing and saliva regulation. With these nerves impaired, Mbius patients are expressionless and babies often have trouble nursing, often uncontrollably drooli ng, a problem that persists into adulthood if not corrected. Mbius patients however, are typically otherwise unimpaired, having normal intellectual and physical development. Socially, on the other hand, they struggle with conveying and recognizing emotion s In other words, their social cognition is impaired thoughts, and feelings, as well as effectively communicate their own in a non verbal manner and as a result, they are often mislabeled as either autistic o r even mentally disabled (Cole, 2000; Cole and Spalding, 2008) 25 Verzijl, et al (2000)
108 Because Mbius syndrome is congenital, like aplasic phantom syndrome it raises some interesting questions about innate body representations, albeit in importantly different ways. Simulation t heorists (cf. Goldman 2006; Proust, 2002) and Theory of Mind Theorists (cf. Stich, 2007 ; Baren Cohen et al., 2000) alike have argued that social cognition which is largely dependent upon facial recognition, is an innate ability, one that is impaired when certain parts of the body are underdeveloped or damaged at birth. Nevertheless, cases such as Mbius syndrome, as frequently happens in the cognitive sciences, often yield wildly varying interpretations as to what the mechanism behind learning to understa the scope of the present discussion, and yet when persons with impairments are used as but m issing such disparity suggests that not enough careful consideration is truly being If we think of a Mbius patient as simply lacking the appropriate theory of mind or sim ulation skills, then the actual experiences of the patients are often overlooked, leading to an overintellecutalized understanding of emotion, which is not readily available for translation in n athan Cole (2000) explains: I do think I get trapped in my mind or my head. I sort of think happy or I think sad, not really saying or recognizing actually feeling happy or feeling sad. Perhaps I have had a ing a name to is not a thought at all but it is a feeling, maybe I have to intellectualize mood. I have to say this thought is a happy thought and therefore I am happy. (p.254)
109 3. 4 Toward a Phenomenology of Bodily Having In this section, I will attem pt to bring together the bodily pathologies discussed in 3.2 by highlighting some similar features found in the phenomenological descriptions from both the patients and those who study them. As it turns out, there are some which often paradoxically bespeak a Cartesian ideolog y about the body as a mere vessel while simultaneously endorsing a psychophysical reductive explanation By taking a closer look at the body image/body schema distinction and the sense of ownership and lessons we can learn from experi confused accounts of subjective experience can be better understood. If, as Gallagher and Zahavi (2008) have argued recently, the phenomenological method is not pure introspec tion or simply a collection of subjective descriptions of experiences but is rather an account of how those subjective experiences are made possible in the first place, then we can begin to uncover how the body may in fact show itself to an individual subjective descriptions of embodiment, a phenomenology that remains faithful to riginal insights must attempt to reconcile what we might discover in terms of the eidetic or essential structures of experience on the one hand and
110 experience. In this regard, I will suggest that once again, a look at the pre reflective and reflective levels of awareness might provide just such reconciliation. Rather than assuming that individual and subjective descriptions of experience are contradictory to current empi rical science, it is more defensible to think of the two modes of explanation as operating on different levels. While neuroscience may indeed inform us about some of these essential structures of experience those that phenomenologists would argue are the proper parts of an overall account of subjective experience generally there are important lessons to be learned from the level of reflective awareness as well, such as the fact that in reflection, one can often become detached from oneself and hence, wi ll come neuroscience. 3. 5 Ownership and Agency at the Reflective and Pre Reflective Levels We need not simply assume that body image can affect body schema if we cons because of this, even maintaining an upright position in a chair was at first impossible for him. Through careful manipulation and perceptual focus on certain areas of his body he has been able to achieve more controlled movements, however, so much so that he has sort of recreated a body schema, as Gallagher and Cole (1996) suggest, a virtual one However, he will never regain genuine somatic proprioception, as the nerves that subtend it are forever destroyed. Thus when G allagher, Cole and McNeill ( 2001) experimented occluded from his visual field he was still able to gesture, although he lacked the topokin etic control that
111 This lends support to the argument that he creates a sort of virtual body schema, facilitated by linguistic and communicative processes. As long as his hands are in his visual f ield, he maintains topokinetic control over them and can appear to gesture as automatically as someone with a fully intact body schema; but when his hands are not within visual proximity, this ability is lost. Thus, if the interpretations of phantoms and I W lend credence to the argument that the body schema is susceptible to manipulation or substitution, respectively, by the body image the question concerning the nativity of the body schema mentioned earlier can be replaced by a the more relevant question having to do with plasticity and hard wiredness. Just how malleable is the body schema? It would seem, regardless of its innateness or whether or not it is neurally locatable, that it must be s it is the means by which regular motor action is made possible and in most cases, it is prior to an explicit body image. However, it might make sense to think of both schema and image as being are cases in which the schema can be shown to be malleable and likewise, if there are cases in which body image is arguably more hardwired than we might have guessed, these would be sufficient respecified than the other. In order to explore this option, I will look in further detail at the sense of ownership/sense of agency distinction as it occurs in abnormal, manipulated, and normal embodied actions. The aim is to show that how I experience my self as the owner and/or author of my actions as well as my body, is a function of both schematic and imagistic levels of awareness. If both of these can be shown to be equally composed of hardwired and
112 manipulable components, then it would seem that embod iment generally is soft assembled, constituted by biologically hardwired features as well as coalitions of tools, albeit a necessary component of cognition, is essentially a self organizing system, open to environmental influence, machine interfacing, and a vast array of soft assemblages. Thus, while we might be able to say that there are facts about bodily systems or sub rigidity of this wiring seems to be conting ent upon very specific developmental and environmental interactions. In other words, expose the body to very different stimuli and The image/schema distinction h owever, is only part of the story. Embodiment is body for the purposes of manipulating it and acting with it. To be sure, in cases of an clearly see a disruption of the former, which thereby forces the burden of executing actions onto the body image, a feature that, as we learn in normal everyday action, is not readily utilized for such purposes. But what is missing in this account is an words, as an embodied subject, I also experience a sense of ownership of my body it is mine and does not belong to any other subject the actions it perfor ms. Unless external forces act upon me, I have a sense of agency over my body when I go to pick up an object, take a walk, or feed the cat. In the cases we have looked at concerning abnormal embodiment, some or all of this sense that I am the executor of my actions is absent. Perhaps most salient among the cases is ALS, as the patients with this syndrome almost uniformly report not having
113 control over the alien limb. The alienation one experiences between themselves and their rogue limb might not just be an issue of control however; indeed, the hand might be so ownership of his or her body or its parts as well. Clearly, this is the case in somatoparaphrenic patients w ho literally denounce ownership of an extremity or limb. observational consciousness of the body, an ideational, third person stance in which I take my body as an object. R ather, it may depend on a non observational access that I have to my actions, an access that is most commonly associated with a first person we go to pick up a glass of my simply that we have a reflexive and seamless relationship with ourselves, one that is typically unnoticed, automatic, and below the radar of conscious representation. s hammer however, when the tool we are so accustomed to them. I like to thi nk of my countless experiences as a ballet dancer trying to perfect a pirouette and exclaiming in frustration that I just could not seem to get my belly to stay in dissoc iation such as these are fairly common, but they do not signal any sort of pathology or disorder in the way that an ALS or Mbius Syndrome patient would. The pathological cases do however, highlight the ways in which ownership and agency are often highly conjoined experiential domains, but can also be teased apart. The
114 somatoparaphrenic might still feel as though she can control her limb, it is a result of its simply being attached to the rest of her body, but that the limb itself is not in fact her own. On the other hand, IW might have never lost the sense that he owned his body, but during the initial stages of his illness, he certainly lost all sense of agency over it. Gallagher suggests that such teasing apart of ownership and agency can also occur in normal embodiment when external forces are at work, such as in the case of someone knocking you down by surprise. If I get pushed by a reckless football fan at the game and go tumbling down the bleachers, I will certainly not think that I was the author of this fall, but, Gallagher suggests, it is still I who am falling. Again, the point is that while in extreme cases of dissociation, the feeling of lacking agency or ownership or both might be persistent and hence, pathological, in normal everyday embodied action, we rarely, if The point of highlighting the ways in which agency and ownership can be disrupted in both pathological and non pathological cases is to allow a space in which to ask the more pressing question: exac tly what should we make of the phenomenological simply spun our wheels describing and trying to understand all these bodily breakdowns only to come to the conclusion tha t the subjective accounts given by those experiencing them are simply at odds with a more objective or scientific understanding of embodiment? While it might seem that this is the case, another look at the levels at which dysphoria might be experienced ind icates that the I taking myself as object seems to only occur reflectively. Consider as an example, someone with unilateral neglect. To be sure, upon speaking to a person with this condition, we learn that a sense of ownership is
115 missing, but, we might won der, is this loss of ownership present all the time ? If a person with unilateral neglect is walking down the street while talking to a friend and window shopping, the parts of the body otherwise neglected by the brain, are functioning normally insofar as t hey are instrumental to the task at hand. A person with this condition maintains agency over the disowned limb therefore at the pre reflective level because, I submit, the body schema is functioning as usual. However, the body schema, given that it is inhe rently pre reflective and non imagistic, does not maintain ownership over one part of the body, while losing it over another. In what Sartre (1956) calls the pre reflective unity of conscious experience, in other words, there are no divisions among parts o f the body, or experiential axes such as owning and authoring. Once the dissociation occurs, we are already representing to ourselves the specific part or parts from which we feel detached. It is my contestation that this is the case for all bodily dysphor ias that they occur experientially at a body imagistic and reflective level of awareness. irrelevant in determining who and where we are. The pathological cases illustrate an extreme end of such unimportance but they shed light on the ways in which although normal embodiment is usually subtended by the mutual interdependence of schematic processes, ownership, agency, and a body image, even these can be disrupted in moments of reflection or in times of externally generated loss of control. 3. 6 Conclusion: Soft Assembled Subjects Another way to think about embodied subjectivity in light of the cases we have ogic cases and the
116 Next to their hand, they also see a rubber hand or some such replica of a human hand. The experimenter will then stroke both hands simultaneously with a paintbrush while the participant stares at the rubber hand. The majority of persons in such experiments report feeling the sensation of the brushing in the spatial location of t he rubber hand and not their actual biologically attached appendage. Thus, simply by cutting off the visual would otherwise not be part of my proprioceptive awareness become incorporated into my experience, so much so that I am convinced that where my experience is being felt is not even in my body. is not totally about my actual bi ological body, but instead, this sense of self arises by the soft assemblage of my biological body, external props, and direct manipulation. Turning back to pathology for a moment, it is worth noting that in treating somatoparaphrenia, one preferred method is to place a mirror in between the two legs, with the one that is owned occluded from view, and then allowing patients to attempt to The subject would move their unaffected leg and simultaneously see in the mirror, the unaffected leg appearing as the affected leg. This would then link the motor pattern and body schema to their conscious awareness of the leg as theirs (cf. Ramachandran & Hirstein, 1998). Cognition involves thinking to be sure, but it als o to a large extent, involves placing myself in space in relation to the rest of the world, a feat achieved not simply by
117 of where that body is in space. Given our discus sion so far concerning how malleable this embodiment can be, the intracranialists should be more concerned than ever. Pointing component among a whole array of other tools we employ in order to experience ourselves as agents, owners, and thinkers. If this chapter has not been compelling enough as to this soft assembly argument about cognition, then it might help to consider another important facet of embodiment that wi ll most assuredly shape the way cognitive subjects ardly any of these scientists or philosophers of mind have actually attempted to understand this entire organism to which they pay homage, in which the y one of the most salient ways we can see e mbodiment actually molding mentality arises from biological sex and the gender roles that get attached to these categories. In my than to peer into the construction o f gender roles, sexual identity, and embodied sexuality. In the following chapter therefore, I aim to first argue that an account of embodied subjectivity not only must include sexed bodies as part of its story, but it must begin with them indeed, a viab not possible without such a conceptualization. I will then go on to argue that the soft assemblage of gender, which is the very basis of subjectivity itself, is always already
118 constituted as a hybri d of biotechnological and sociological tools, none of which are reducible to nor contained solely within, the biological body.
119 Chapter 4 Sexing Embodiment: The Phenomenology of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereo typing of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl." Shirley Chisholm Hence it is that the shape of something is especially meaningful. James Gibson 4.1 Introduction As discussed in chapter one, an important shift in thinking occurred when Gi bson perception, as it is often called, provided an interactionist framework that rejected the inner outer split between mental and physical processes. The world shows up to us in meaningful ways insofar as it affords us a range of potential actions. However, our bodies themselves determine to a large extent just how useful an object in the world will be, a point Merleau y codified. perception, the overall picture is the same: perception is a feature of humans + their rd view would have it. Because, however, Merleau Ponty is steeped in the traditions of Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler and others, he is less inclined to focus on the specific biological underpinnings of embodiment and more on the experiential elements that comprise
120 means through which action and perception are possible. The lived body is not simply an Merleau Ponty stresses that the dynamic interaction of our bodies with the world is what constitutes perception. Our environment plays a crucial role in shaping what we are able to perceive and what we can do, such as in the case of certain objects appear in afford us sitting opportunities while others, like cacti, do not. Perceiving these affordances requires interacting with the objects themselves and hence, perception is not a matter of inwardly cognizi ng an externally constituted world. Thus, both Merleau Ponty and Gibson therefore emphasize the mutual interdependence focus on the ways in which our physiology shapes o ur perception of the world a world with our bodies Merleau Ponty extends this discussion to encompass not just the ways in which the body is lived through but how it can thought about In particular, Merleau Ponty adds to the discussion the way we form images of our bodies, images which then come to be an important source of who and what we think we are. These interactionist approaches fit nicely with the argume nt from chapter three, that embodiment, cognition comprises on the one hand and what it is to be a cognitive subject on the other. intended to capture the way that body+world should be the focal point of any theory of cognition and cognitive subjectivity. There are reasons to think that simply examining the brain, even when trying to determine th e correlate of pathological embodiments such as
121 AHS, will not tell us much about to have this syndrome. Likewise, to talk involves more than skin and skull. Nevertheless, there are important ways in which the body as a physical object delimits the range of experiences we can have. Indeed, Clark (2008) recognizes the necessity of the brain for cognition, as he is even willing to grant it hence, there are certain biological facts about the body that must be place. This chapter will therefore be an attempt to uncover some of the ways in which bodies thos e physical organisms that I argued to be only part of the story of embodiment shape cognition and help constitute subjectivity. Rather than proceed by way of endless examples from vision, haptic perception, or skeletal construction, which provide rich accounts of the way the human body is said to constitute bodily affordances, 26 I shall focus on an aspect of the body, as well as of embodiment, that is even more fundamental to cognition, but one that is systematically overlooked in cognitive science. To b e sure, one can be an embodied subject and not have eyes with which to see. One can also be, like IW, lacking in particular proprioceptive abilities or perhaps, like someone suffering from a Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Pathology (HSAP), rendering them ins ensitive to pain, heat or cold. The definition of being an embodied subject cannot be essentialized by reference to skeletal structure either. Being bipedal is a feature of most humans, but not all. And, as we have seen, even having all limbs intact is no t sufficient for experiencing them as your own or 26 Besides of course, Gibson (1966), others have offered detailed accounts of the way the visual system (cf. Martinez Conde, 2009), haptic perception (cf. Streri & Spelke, 1989), and the body generally (cf. Varela, way our bodies are molded and adapted to the world.
122 thus far discussed. This facet i play, even if precisely what that sex amounts to is questionable. Whenever I conceive of myself as this or that kind of person a professor, a dancer, a swimmer it is always implied that I am also female. I might not represent this fact to myself explicitly with I am engaged in an activity such as running, in which I need not think about my body; rather I simply act through it. Nevertheless, much like there is a tacit knowledge of where my body is in relationship to other objects, so too is there an always present awareness t hat I am not just person, but a female person. It is one of the most fundamental forms of identification and also one of the most universal. No matter which corner of the world or crucial to identifying who and what you are. For the most part, people can be classified as male or personal categorization is based on biological facts about the body geni talia, chromosomes, hormones but just how much do these facts shape embodiment ? To ask a slightly different yet related question: If there is a body schema, a program for action that It w ill be my contention that for the most part, biological sex is not an inherent feature of embodiment but is instead an artifact of science, which is itself a byproduct of
123 a matter of contention to what extent sex, in the strictly biological sense is prior to, a result of, or reducible to gender feminine, masculine, a hybridization of the two, or some ot her categorization and vice versa, it will remain the case 1) that biological sex is only one among many facets of gendered subjectivity, and more generally, cognitive subjectivity, and 2) that both sex and gender have been relatively ignored in cognitiv e science and philosophy of mind, thereby overlooking several crucial constituting factors subtending cognition and embodied subjectivity In order to defend these claims, I will examine the ways that sexed bodies actually afford the subjects who own them s pecific actions, perceptions, and cognitions, but also, the ways in which the world and the objects present in it will show up differently based on sexual identification. Such descriptions will not however, come from the standard literature on cognition, a s there really is not much from which to draw. Instead, I will turn to feminist theory about the body and embodiment in order to provide always insufficient for, and is never prior to gendered embodiment. 4. 2 Lived Bodies and Life Worlds That our bodies are important elements in the overall understanding of how the world shows up is deeply rooted in philosophical history. However, this idea is typically
124 founded upon the more negative assumption that the body is corruptive, and the senses, albeit the primary means by which we receive information about the world, are not to be tru Republic II IV) nowledge must originate in sensory experience, was quick to remind us that at best, we can hope to be fairly certain about the associations we draw from those sense impressions. What Hume did do however, was to remind us that despite the epistemological un certainty which accompanies knowledge via sensory impressions, this source the body is our only mode of interaction with the world. Thus, according to Hume, any notion of disembodied egos or pure rationality detached from embodied experience was specul ative but also uninteresting. If we want to uncover the basis of human knowledge and cognition, we must start, he claims, with sensory experience. Consider, for example, what Husserl (1936) says of the life world and how we actively constitute ourselves and our environment in a In whatever way we may be conscious of the world as universal horizon, as coherent the belong to th e world as living with one another in the world; and the wor ld is our world, valid for our the not expect any theories regarding bodies or embodiment to be concerned with sexual difference, as this would be somehow after the
125 Merleau Sexual dense and problematic assertion, it is helpful to consider it in the context of the rest of the chapter. This section of A Vindication of the Rights of Women is full of insightful ways in which sexuality indeed molds cognition, but it fails to take properly into account the way that sex itself, the way a person is identified biologic ally as female or male, provides a Ponty of embodiment, he does very little to demonstrate h ow and why this might be the case. Sexuality, the way Merleau Ponty uses it in this section, refers to some sort of conglomeration of gender identity and sexual orientation. Hence, he provides us with examples of sexual preference masculine males who a lso desire feminine females, feminine females who prefer a masculine male, females who like other females, and so forth. And certainly, these sexual preferences will shape the way one perceives the world. Indeed, if I am a more masculine female but I stil l prefer masculine males as partners, one can only imagine the sorts of behaviors from everything to my dress, the activities I engage in, ways I go about flirting and seducing the other sex, and so on that are contingent upon the fact that I perceive myself as a more masculinized female than most other females, but that my sexual orientation still draws me to masculine males. Nevertheless, these complex and socially informed categories gender and sexuality are typically thought to be a level remove never really get a sense that Merleau Ponty is interested in asking the question: how does
126 the actual sexed body, prior to these gender roles and desires, inform perception, if at all? Nevertheless, a closer look at Merleau might suggest that he means not to tease the two apart, such that when he does discuss the socially informed gender roles one might take up, he is at once describing the way the sexed body is given meaning. surely, there are important ways in which having or not having a hand will alter the way the world appears, and Merleau Ponty, much like Gibson, does not overlook this fact. The book is rife with examples of the body and its relationship to the world. In The Visible and the Invisible we find a unique discussion of the hands in particular, and their ability to both touch and be touched as in the case of touching one of my hands to the other he is hyper aware of the ways in which particular biological facts about our embodiment lend themselves to very specialized ways of knowing the world, but also our bodies. In a moment of touching one hand to another, there is when my right hand touches my left hand while it is palpating the things, where the 'touching subject' passes 4) In other words, what has come to be where the parts of my body are in relation to one another, is highly malleable and contingent upon an ever shifting sense of age ncy and ownership of these discrete elements. In one moment, my hand agent, the one doing the touching, can be turned into a hand object, the one being touched. Likewise, as we have seen in previous chapters, there is reason to believe this sort of reversi bility between subject and object of
127 perception occurs with tools as well, such as in the Rubber Hand Illusion or simply in everyday pre reflective body machine incorporation. embodiment having a hand is in any way like the necessity of having a sex. First, it should be noted that Merleau Ponty fails to even consider those who are missing a hand or are missing both, either congenitally or due to amputation. Thus, we might w onder just how much does perception get shaped by having a hand? Moreover, despite the lengthy discussion of gender roles and sexual desire, there is no discussion of the ways in which the sexed body, qua necessary constituent of the human body, molds cogn ition. We do not find any sort of analogue between the highly interesting subject object reversal made possible by the proprioception of the hands, nor are there any insights into the ways in which this necessary fact of human existence that it is sexed plays into gender roles and sexuality. So, on the one hand, it is satisfying to find a philosopher who recognizes that it is not just any body that is always already present to us in perception, but his or her body; on the other, it is quite unsatisfying that the analogy between necessarily having a hand and having a sex is never fully explained. There is one way to interpret the passage however, that might help better relate it to Merleau in which I am engaged. As the example of subject object reversibility in touching the hands together suggests, I do not conceive of my hand necessarily as a subject nor as an object. What is necessary is that depending on the action, my hand can show up as either one. In the Phenomenology of Perception a body and its constituent parts:
128 There is in human existence no unconditioned possession, and yet no fortuitous attribute. Human existence will force us to revise our usual notio n of necessity and contingence because it is the transformation of contingency into necessity by the act of repetition [1962, 170]. If necessity of bodily having is only made so through repetition of otherwise con tingent a handless or sexless person as a fact not so much about the biological body itself, but instead, about the ways in which the body is utilized in action Having hands becomes necessary through the repeated use of them in human activity, but they are indeed contingent, as not all persons have hands. In terms of sexed bodies, it is even more about bodies is shows up as necessary through the constant repeating of gender roles, sexual desires and actions, and other socially sedimented truths about who and what males and females are. In other words, this particular reading of Merlea u Ponty on sex performativity as the chief mode of production of sexed bodies. As she suggests in Bodies that Matter, the signification of bodies proceeds first by way of examining what bodies do how they perform and thus, the lived body is always cast as a man or a woman. The repeated performance in which we all engage as man or as woman much like Merleau be cast as necessarily male or female. To be sure, my interpretation is reading quite a bit into Merleau Ponty and when it comes to perception in general, all of the interesting differentiations he draws between maleness and femaleness seem to disappear Namely, we get a story about perception qua human as if all the differences in bodily comportment based on sex did not matter:
129 In perception we do not think the object and we do not think ourselves thinking it, we are given over to the object and we merge into this body which is better informed than we are about the world [1962; 238]. Ponty characterizes his schema corporel, and what Gallagher (2005) translates as the body schema both theorists suggesting that body knowledge normally operates whether we consciously represent it to ourselves or not. For Merleau Ponty and Gallagher alike, in most of our everyday actions, such as pouring ourselves a drink, or grasping an egg to when we go to explain how we were able to pick up the egg and use just the right am ount of pressure to firmly grasp it and yet not crush it in our hands, unless we are in fact physicists, we usually cannot. But is it true that regardless of sex, our bodies all know the same things? In other to the world and does the world show up importantly formative aspect of that embodied perception? The answer to these questions is, I think, no. In the following section, I will explore arguments, some of which originated contemporaneously with Merleau about and experience this world.
130 4. 3 Girl Bodies In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir (1949) provides a detailed account of the contradictory recognition of their humanity, on the one hand, and their ob jecthood, or being for on the other hand. While western rational discourse tends to afford men the Beauvoir argues that in particular, because of regulative bodily functio ns such as menstruation, women are never entirely free. Her body must be kept watch over, monitored, cleaned, and adorned tasks that deter her from being a fully transcendent person. In other words, it is because of the sexed body itself that the norms o f society, which place women in the home, with the children, and on a pedestal as an object of beauty, get constructed. Thus, Beauvoir contributes to an already emerging distinction one that traces back at least to Mary Wollstonecraft 27 and one that also surfaces in the literary works Virginia Woolf, 28 Katherine Mansfield, 29 and many more between the sexed body and the gendered person. Take, for example, what Wollstonecraft concludes at the end of her third chapter: In the superior ranks of life how sel dom do we meet with a man with superior abilities or even common acquirements? The reason appears to me cle ar, the state they are born in was an unnatural one. The human character has ever been formed by the employments the individual, or class, pursues ; and if the faculties are not sharpened by necessity, they must remain obtuse [1792; 56]. 27 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792. 28 iver, mother, object of beauty, etc (as is the dominant theme of party preparation, which comprises an entire day and presented in many ways through out the novel, in particular, the shifting nomenclature of the protagonist (1929) and The Waves (1931). 29 Cf. The Garden Party, 1922.
131 superior intelligence or any other supreme achievement. Like any other fac ulty, intelligence must be acquired through learning, practice, and repetition, regardless of women are not generally ociety is transferred onto the body of all females as an inherent and necessary truth. There are of course, some interesting parallels with this account of necessity and that of Merleau acting over and o ver again, that the body and all its trappings begin to show up as necessarily implying this or that ability. Likewise, Beauvoir teases apart sex and gender to expose the contingency of the latter concealed as a necessary outcome of the former. While bei ng a female is a given, contingent, and not relegated to a particular body type by any ontological necessity. Nevertheless, it has historically been treated in precisely this way. Female bodies are passive, receptive, regulated by cycles, and less capable of performing strenuous tasks, and hence, female minds are incapable of robust existential freedom, that transcendence promised by rational contemplation by an intellect unfettered by such worldly constraints. If we try to dissolve the entailment between biological sex and gender roles however, society, from the home into the workplace. as such that at ways women actually move about
132 separate the one from the other constructed Young argues tha t Beauvoir still insists that it is a feature of the female sex itself which gives rise to the common historical and societal understanding of gender roles and their relationship to it. Like Young, I will eventually argue that the sexed body, as a static thing, is not enough to explain the seemingly asymmetrical lived experiences of men and women; rather, we must look to gender embodiment for this. Exploring gendered embodiment the sexed body determines the unfree and factic nature of our lived experiences, it is often quite the other way around. Namely, the sexed body is much more an artifact of gendered experience and arguably does not even make sense outside of such considerat ions, much concerning bodily boundaries, and an account of subjectivity that transcends those erently sexed bodies should afford us particular actions and perceptions to some degree, so it is worth should be so deterministic of their action potentials. Young begins whole body and extends towards the target, almost as if to travel with the ball himself, the girl simply swings her arm, leaving her spine, legs, and shoulders relatively still. Straus
133 goes on to claim that since these differences are observed at such an early age, ther e must be inherent anatomical discrepancies in female and male embodiment, such that girls are simply born bad throwers, while boys come equipped to play baseball. However, through extensive research, Young goes on to show that there are other bodily movem ents, postures, and attitudes that arrive on the scene much later in life, all of which are mainly attributed to feminine persons and female bodies, but none of which are necessarily the case, based solely on biological sex. For example, women tend to keep their legs close together or crossed when sitting, a posture little girls do not readily maintain. Likewise, while men move freely and openly, swinging their arms and walking with large strides, women tend to remain more closed into themselves, arms cross ed over their bodies, books held into their chests, taking shorter, more careful steps. Young even cites a personal example from hiking with male companions; while they bounded across a stream, she hesitantly tested out certain stones, held onto branches, and calculated her me even though once I original thesis: women experience their bodies as encumbrances, but moreover, we are taught to be afraid of getting hurt and as such, our actions will reflect such timidity. To be sure, not all women fit this characterization, which is why it is easy to claim that we are taught and not born into our bodily postures and attitudes. What is more illuminating however, is that from this account of motility rather than from a strictly biological understanding of bodies, Young is at least able to begin bridging the gap iving through the body as a means to achieve desired actions. In other words, by focusing on actions themselves, we
134 performing tasks, women often must focus on their bodies as objects to be manipulated, fragile encumbrances, and a manifestation of their awkward immanence, while at the same time existing as human as a free and knowing subject. Thus, women occupy the rather tenuous space between free and unfree, human a nd non human. A similar tension is present in Merleau not as concerned about the differences between the sexes, save the few problematic passages discussed above, his account of intentionality as be ing rooted in embodiment provides thinkers like Young with a much more concrete phenomenological description for me and at the same time can be a subject, one which is me. Compared to a Husserlian I pole, wherein a re latively disembodied ego is which describes consciousness, and not necessarily embodied consciousness, as both a possible intentional object but also the subject of intentionality 30 Merleau Ponty extends these discussions to encompass the body as both the subject and object of experience. As he asserts, perception emerges from the interrelatedness of situation and environment and not purely fr om a knowing subject. And as we have seen, his contemporary, Gibson, puts forth a similar thesis, namely, that while the body is important for determining the space of possible actions, the world is what affords us the ability to discern such action potent ials. Likewi se, the view of enactive perception (cf. 30 Although Sartre is pays much more homage to the body as a constituting element of conscious experience. Nevertheless, we do not find such a robust account of the body as conscious and body as object of consciousness as we do in Merleau Ponty, nor do we find the extension of this experiencing subject into the w orld of objects, such as we find with the example of a blind man and his cane.
135 maintain Gibsonian currency by claiming that it is in the dynamic process of interacting with the world that perception arises. No examp le better characterizes the ramifications of these approaches than Merleau navigate through the world. In determining where to place his next step or surveying the terrain, the interface between the man and the world the one that matters for the perceptual action that is is not his hand, which is clutching the cane. Indeed, the cane, through which the man receives signals and perceptual cues and the end of which is actually the point of contact with t To put it another way, while the man is engaged actively in trying to find his way around, the cane is not an object for his intentional consciousness; rather, it is a that through which the world ap biological organism allows the further interpretation that the image I form of my body when I am in the mode of taking it as an object for me might very well depend upon what me. Ponty retains the Husserlian notion of presence in absence, even with respect to the body. Like any perceptual o bject, whose manifold of sides, aspects and profiles is always only partially given to us, the body is never entirely an object for me (92) While I can never escape my body and retreat into pure thought, I can also never have my body in its totality as an intentional object. Its presence to me consists partially in its absence ently as
136 fail to do so as the once visible sides retreat into invisibility while the others emerge into my visual field, so too will parts of my body elude me. R eturning to the discussion of gendered embodiment, on Merleau account, it would seem that all human existence, at least at some time or another, occupies that contradictory location between immanence and transcendence. At a fundamental phenomenolog ical level, as described above, we are never entirely for as Young (2005) ingeniously points out, by looking at the specific actions and social spheres that women occu py, the tension is perhaps felt stronger by women who are constantly expected to be both a subject and an object, rather than simply living through their bodies. Thus, in an action such as crossing a rocky stream during hiking, I experience an ambiguous tr anscendence I must confront my own body as an object to manipulate while at the same time acting through my body as subject of the perceived action, an inhibited intentionality up for me in the wor discontinuous unity while being one unified subject, I must also take my feet as objects unto themselves, discontinuous from me in a sense, as I try to move myself over the treacherous terrain (35 38). While I think extending Merleau realm of feminist theorizing about the body is a much needed and helpful endeavor, I want to suggest that comprehensive story. Besides discussing the ways in which female embodiment is enacted in various motilities and postures, more needs to be said about the way the body
137 itself shows up to me, such t hat this last mode discontinuous unity is experienced. Young only hints at the ways I might represent my body both as a whole and as a collection of discrete parts, and I think this is because the focus has so far been too much art of Merleau One way of accounting phenomenologically for the differenc e between growing up female and growing up male would be to appeal to the way the body itself is represented. The way I perceive my body during action is multi dimensional; hence, many theorists from many different arenas have cashed in on explaining the v arious modes of body representation. Merleau always already a living through my body has its roots in psychological trends prior to his opment of Ponty, Schilder spends a significant amount of time discussing phantom limbs as a means to argue that the way we experience our bodies is often different than the objective accounts we give of them. am living my body. To cite again Merleau incorporating a cane into his body hand is said to be the outer limit of his embodiment, there is a similitude between this ct, and can include
138 play in a given action. The body image, for Schilder and Merleau Ponty, is not an isolated representation of the body, but instead, as Grosz argues is a postural schema of the body, its position and situation, and the environment. This is significant in terms of the differences in bodily comportment among various types of persons because, as she puts it: The body image does not map a biological bo dy onto a psychosocial domain, providing a kind of translation of material into conceptual terms; rath er it attests to the necessary interconstituency of each for the other, the radical ins eparability of biological from psychical elements, the mutual de pendence of the psycholo gical from the biological, and thus the intimate connection between the question of se xual specificity and psychical identity [1994; 85]. I think Grosz is correct to point out this important unifying element in bodily awareness and to suggest that it might provide the link between how my body is experienced both as an object for me and the subject of the actions in which I engage. Indeed, if neither my biological body nor my gendered psyche can solely constitute who I am, as both are modes of knowing my body and are always preceded by living through my body, then explaining the body image as a postural schema that situates me in a world, allows objects to show up at all for me, including my own body, seems like a plausible interpr etation. Nevertheless, if we are to understand why I experience my body in the way Beauvoir describes it, as being overlain with immanence, especially in actions requiring me to distance myself from my body, or in cases where I face the world with an can be shown that for the most part, what is meant by body image is still itself a mode of taking the body as an object for me, then perhaps the unifying modality is n ot imagistic at all, but is more kinesthetic, enacted, schematic.
139 the body image and body schema, I think there is good reason to take such empirical findings seriously in a phenomenology of sexed and gendered embodiment. It is not enough however, to simply apply findings in cognitive science in order to embellish phenomenological descriptions. I intend to show as well that much of the phenomenology science and philosophy of mind. In particular, I think the differences described by feminist phenomenology between male and female embodiment add to the discussion /body schema distinction. Paying attention to these r Identity Disorder (GID), the distinction needed for dialogue between the two phenomenology and cognitive science The conceptual distinction between body image and body schema is own body. In contrast, a body schema is a system of sensory motor capacities that function without awareness or the necessity of perceptual monitoring course, conceptual distinctions only go so far when trying to give a detailed description of actual embodiment, especially a phenomenology of the gendered body. Nonetheless, empirical as well as phenomenological evidence to endorse such a distinction.
140 In terms of female and male embodiment then, the body image would include all might form an image of myself as embodied in a feminine way; for example, shorter, weaker, and more fatty than my male counterparts, which will thereby aid in my forming experienced by me n as well, and it is not a universally applicable attitude for all women. It should come as no shock that in traditionally masculine activities including many sporting events and other physical activities such as automobile repair women are less likely to feel at ease, while during activities traditionally conceived as feminine childcare, perhaps, or knitting men are less likely to be comfortable. Again, there are exceptions, but the majority of women are more concerned with their appearance, keepin g themselves safe, and avoiding harm, and as such, will be more timid and awkward in a situation like the one Young describes of bounding across a rugged mountainous stream. These empirical facts themselves are not as interesting as are the modes by which all female bodies that they are just bad at hiking. We are taught to keep clean, to adorn ourselves, and to avoid harm, while little boys are taught the opposite. All it takes to re perform her male competitors, to see that much, if not all, of the attitudes we take towards our embodied actions are learned. Even if we consider less robustly embodied activities, such as mathematical or scientific reasoning, types of thinking that until recently, have been dominated by men, we can see that if encouraged and properly
141 trained, women can do just as well at these activities they otherwise report being The point of all this discussion is not simply to reiterate an already well rehearsed argument that women and men are raised to value different things. Rather, what I want to highlight is that those very things women are taught to value he most men feel comfortable, tend to promote full subjectivity and transcendence. As Wollstonecraft, Woolf, and other proto feminists note, the ability to be educated, to read, fully actualized humanity, and these activities are those from which women have been traditionally excluded. What I want to add to this is that the very same promotion of subjectivity and transcendence is present in the construction of the man as the more physically adept and athletic of the two sexes. Being able to change your own oil, scale a cliff wall, or complete a triathlon have been l inked to individualism, self sufficiency, cleverness, and power, while, as many Marxist feminists (cf. Landry & McLean, 1993) have noted, housekeeping, childrearing, and other traditionally feminine activities are not. Thus, the inhibited intentionality a nd ambiguous transcendence which accompany so incapable and disallowed the privi leges of fully actualized subjectivity. am willing to defend them as corollary components in body image deployment. Gender might not always play a role in motility, but if i t does, it most often is a function of a
142 body image and not a body schema. It is malleable, subject to manipulation from without, and is often the product of social conditioning. This is not to say that the body image I have of myself as woman cannot alte r my body schema; quite the contrary, as the examples I have discussed so far illustrate, if I have constructed an image of myself as fragile, in need of safe keeping, or less physically capable than others, eventually, my body schema will follow suit. In other words, I will automatically act as if these contingent facts about my body image were necessary truths of my body schema. Conversely, if the schematic processes subtending an action are already a particular way, then the body image will alter based o n the fluency of motion. We can think of IW here yet again his schema was essentially non existent and as such, his body image responded to the lack of motility and control by assuming some of the roles otherwise attributed to the body schema. Likewise, if I have a propensity toward a certain type of movement for instance, if I have natural turn out and flexibility, bodily traits which are necessary for ballet dancing the resulting image I have of myself will be one of capability, but moreover, I will probably not use my body image as much as I would need impossible. There are two things worth noting concerning these examples of body image/body schema influenc e: first, while the two are easily dissociated conceptually, they are not always so easily dissociated at an experiential level. Perhaps the best evidence for such a claim comes from an embodied skill such as dancing. In particular, in ballet, body image p lays a crucial role as soon as I stop thinking about where my arms are or if my stomach muscles are engaged, I fall over and yet, this imagistic representation of where
143 I am in space and what all the parts of my body are doing, begins to function almos t schematically, as I improve my technique. Indeed, professional ballet dancers claim to not think about their bodies at all; however, if you ask them how they executed a specific movement, they resort back to an explanation that utilizes the body image ju st as much if not more than any automatic and unreflective schema. In more everyday examples, the is a case in which the body image might dominate, such that I conceive of myself as less athletic than my male friends and such already predisposed to awkwardness, but the fact that this conception of myself can interfere with the subconscious body schema and its processing suggests not two separate experiential realms, but rat her two distinct levels of awareness, both of which are intimately intertwined, influencing and possibly interfering with the other, but also potentially working as a unified system. Second, in discussing the way image informs schema and vice versa, we ea sily lose sight of the very concepts we set out to examine in relation to all of this, which was the role of the sexed and gendered body. This is because when I describe myself in s I do the sure, I am tacitly aware at all times that I am a woman, and likewise, that my biological sex is female, but the extent to which this information alters my embodied action is not entirely clear. What is relatively clear is that in successful motor action, if I utilize an image of myself at all, it will be a positive one, and it should not matter what sex or gender I am. Conversely, if I feel awkward or timid when trying to climb a rock wall, I
144 difficult. I simply feel scared. I might later reflect that if only I were more like my male friends, I could climb more confidently, but it hardly seems that I do this in the middle of acting. What I do think various actions are therefore even more malleable than the body image female athletes, but there is also a vast array of traditionally feminine actions applying cosmet ics, walking in high heels, cooking, and perhaps even flirting or specifically feminine modes of seduction with which the women who are skilled at them are always fix ing a car engine, becoming a physics professor, or being muscular and athletic are most often conceived of as masculine, does not express a necessary contrast. However, as Merleau Ponty notes, through repetition, these otherwise contingent facts become so ingrained and sedimented that they appear inevitable. One might wonder then, how a reh earsed that it becomes an automatic and unreflective fact about the body schema. As I stated earlier, it hardly seems to be the case that in any action, whether I am skilled at or not, I represent the fact that I am a woman to myself while attempting to p erform the task. And yet, if the body image can and often is the product of social manipulation, perhaps syllogism I am a woman, and women are good at X, therefore I am good at X does become incorporated into my body image, which then can shape the pre reflective body schema. Regardless if the answer to this question is affirmative or negative, what
145 remains is that the attachment of particular embodied skills to particular genders is itself contingent upon socio historical context and power relations, a mong other things, in particular, the idea that whatever is masculine is to be praised and sought after, a connection which is itself built upon the construct of male dominance. endered traits, abilities, and roles, all of which are contingent upon social context. Thus, to say that when I utilize a body image and that body image is this or that ge nder, what is meant more fundamentally, is that I can, cannot, should, should not, am really good at, am really terrible at, whatever action I am performing. Nevertheless, since the body image can always be altered, just as much as the social context from which it arose can change, certainly not necessary. What then, of the other concept I have been until now purposefully ignoring? How does biological sex, the part of w ho and what we are that appears, at least prima facie, to be a necessary truth about our bodies? While I have argued at length that any gendered body image we form of ourselves is the product of social construction, it remains to be discussed whether the p hysiological facts of our sex shape and change a construction and utilization. In order to answer these questions however, what must first be examined is the relationship it turns out, the two are not as separable as they may seem, nor is it as easy as one may
146 think to define and delimit necessary and essential components of being a male or being a female, as these conc epts will prove to be quite malleable themselves. To begin therefore, we will need to ask to what extent the body schema is sexed in other words, is there a pre reflective motor program for males and females based on the biological differences of the b ody itself? Most of the studies conducted by researchers such as Gallagher and Cole (1995) 31 are only concerned with seemingly sexed neutral general movements and usually those related to the arms, legs, and face. For instance, while there is a known case of deafferentation 32 in a female subject, GL, 33 how her body shows up and is lived through in comparison to IW, has been relatively ignored. Likewise, the differences between female and male Mbius syndrome patients is not explored, although it would seem t hat facial expressions and emotion conveyance would be a fascinating place to look for differences that are potentially the result of a sexed schema. Regarding phantoms, Gallagher (2005) does mention that research has shown that mastectomy patients often experience a phantom breast. Even phantom penises have been reported (cf. Gallagher, 2005; 151). Of course, these phenomena imply nothing about any innately sexed body schema, as we could just as easily explain the phantom sexual organs in terms of a learn ed process of assimilation. Women get accustomed to carrying around breasts after forty years of doing so, and when one or both 31 See also: Gallagher, Cole, & McNeill, 2002, and Gallagher, 2001. 32 As discussed in Chapter 3, deafferentation typically involves severe damage to the mylenated nerve fibers g loss of proprioceptive awareness from the neck down, although he could still receive proprioceptive information. He just had no idea from where such infor mation was coming. 33 from the chin down, rather than the just the neck. The only mention of difference between the two patients in terms of sex or gender eventually going back to work, while GL was attempting to regain her ability to run a household and raise children, differences which, according to my characterization so far, wou ld be gendered, and not the direct result of biological sex, per se
147 are suddenly removed it is hardly surprising that phantoms are experienced. Also, considering the plasticity of the brain and bo dy to incorporate new parts or learn to live can be easily deflated. But, as was suggested at the beginning of the chapter, it is an inherent feature of bodies that t hey be sexed, at least insofar as there are two distinct types of chromosomal, hormonal, and genital configurations to which nearly all humans fit one. The chief question thus remains: how, if at all, does this essential body fact form part of the schemati c processing subtending all embodied action, thereby potentially shaping body image and cognitive subjectivity more generally? 4. 4 Sexed Schemas? According to Grosz and many other feminists, gender is constructed and therefore learned behavior, and alth ough science would have us believe that biological sex is a given, much of recent feminist thought (cf. Lorber, 1992; Butler, 1990, 2004; Haraway, 1989) rejects this, favoring instead, the idea that the sexed body is just as much a construct as is the gend ered person. For instance, Judith Lorber (1992) argues that social practices to fit into the salient categories of a society, the most pervasive of which to be dominating, active, strong, and virile and then we label those traits which are more submiss confirm the hypothesis that there are two sexes by using, as a dual assumption, a) that
148 there are only two genders, and b) that those two genders map isomorphically onto two biolo and phenotypic traits and concludes that there must indeed be essentially two sexes. But, claims the critic, this reasoning assumes the very thing it is trying to prove and h ence, it is flawed at the outset, since we are interested in learning whether or not it is essentially true of human beings that they must be either male or female. Anne Fausto Sterling (1999) discusses the way brain science is conducted in precisely this way in a chapter of her book titled Sexing the Brain discoveries that one hopes to make namely that there are two distinct brain types are assumed at the outset and are built into the experimental methodology. Likewise, Nelly hormones, estrogen and progestin, wherein she describes the crucial role that gender one passive, submissive, penetrable, the other, active, dominant, penetrating. Another way to further illustrate the paradoxical nature of assuming that males and females and feminine and masculine roles 1) pick out natural kinds and 2) are essentially exhaustive is by way of a sort of reductio thought experiment. Suppose that Twin Earth in which most of the facts that hold true in this actual world obtain in our possible world, call it GenEarth. On
149 GenEarth, however, sexual reproduction happens quite differently, insofar as there is a hermaphrodite like sex who is capable of both inseminating herself and givi ng birth to new members of the species. Should she choose, she can be inseminated by the other sex, which would be much like the male sex as we know it here on Earth. Thus, reproduction can occur asexually or sexually and this all depends on the whims of t he hermaphrodite sex. (It turns out that the worm species C. Elegans reproduces in precisely this way and so the thought experiment need not be so fanciful after all). Now, given the nature of reproduction on GenEarth, what might we conjecture about the g ender roles of the two types of persons found here? One response would be to assume that the inhibited intentionality, discontinuous unity, and ambiguous transcendence with which Beauvoir argues Earth women are subjected to based on their physical structur e and biological sex would be experienced to a lesser degree, if they were experienced at all. Indeed, if the hermaphrodites on GenEarth were capable of producing sperm and eggs and thus, were the more powerful of the two sexes in terms of evolutionary nec essity, then we should expect to find that they would have developed a myself seems to quite ea sily entail all sorts of other attitudes of capability regarding action. Furthermore, we might find out that because of the extra testosterone and androgen present, the hermaphrodites would have evolved to be just as strong if not stronger than their male counterparts. But if we were to make such assumptions, on what would they ultimately be grounded if not the fundamental fact that there are two naturally occurring kinds of persons on GenEarth and that we can identify these kinds of persons
150 based on the ro les they perform, which are themselves products of the biological sex which they have? It would be undesirable to identify biological sex in this way because in order to prove that it is the substrate of all other identifications, we must rely on an assump tion that it is the substrate of all other identifications. The problem is best explained like so: On GenEarth, to believe that the hermaphrodites would be the more powerful of the sexes, or that they would be at least equals to the males, would be to ta citly agree that it is a universal fact that possessing traits such as strength, virility, motility, and freedom are valuable and moreover, that these are inherently masculine qualities. In other words, this assumption implies the corollary assumption that masculinity is a natural kind. But the original thesis was that biological sex, not gender identity, was fundamental and more naturally occurring kind of identification, while masculinity and femininity are constructed upon already existing biological rol just h ow absurd it is to try to determine which comes first on our possible planet, the male hermaphrodite biological distinction, or the masculine feminine/masculine distinction. To understand the one, we need to assume the other is a natural kind and to unders whence these differences between the sexes arise, would be a non starter because in order to even broach the topic of sexual difference, we must rely on gender difference, whi ch is far from being shown to be inherent to the species, here on Earth, on GenEarth, or anywhere else.
151 A particularly compelling reason to side with the constructionist view of sexed bodies stems from the real world occurrence of intersex births. We nee d not fantasize of of scientifically determined sexual identity. 34 Rather than accepting that we might have made a mistake in judging there to be only two naturally occurring sexes however, dual sex model. Complications from invasive surgeries, psychological trauma, and social ostracism are often what follow from such stubborn ins istence on scientific realism (cf. Foucault, 1980; Butler, 2004; Dreger, 1998) and such suffering is cause for those like Fausto Sterling (1985, 2000) to argue for multiple sexes, rather than only two. While intersex births provide good reason to questio n the supposed scientific fact that there are only two sexes, just because there are those for whom the appellations pes of sexed schemas if there are such things at all, but if we assume for the moment that the majority of persons cluster around one of two identities defined chromosomally, hormonally, and genitally, then we might wonder if there is anything further that might divide these two types of persons along lines of motility, comportment, and proprioception. Straus obviously thought there must be, as he argued that girls were simply born less athletic, more timid, and weaker than boys. In fact, it seems to permea te a large part of the history of sexual oppression, or as Shirley Chisholm puts it, the fact that as soon as babies are born or even prior to this 34 http://www.isna.org/
152 are immediately subject to stereotyping, and for females, this is often a negative labeling. being born female and the disabilities associated with other bodily abnormali ties, I am in no way attempting to equate femaleness with deafferentation, AHS, or any other extreme pathological embodiment. The idea is simply to consider that the duality of sexes is not simply an objective division of persons based on their material re ality; it is often couched re, whether or not Gallagher intends for the body schema to be inherently sexed, such that some bodies and/or brains come predisposed to comport themselves in very different ways based on the physiological status. We have only just begun to see the difficu experiential modes such as inhibited intentionality or discontinuous unity as those seem to be highly contingent and learned; in other words, they occur at or are at least products of the body image In order to ta lk about the body schema as being sexed therefore, we must seriously consider what such a thing would involve, without referencing anything gender specific. From a purely biological standpoint, what would a sexed schema entail for proprioception, movement, agency, and ownership? Considering IW again, his entire proprioceptive awareness was lost due to a specific neuropathology and thus, we should expect that if there were some part of the body schema that encoded what the biological sex of the body was, t hat it should also be
153 admitted to forgetting that he was indeed a male, but then again, we might wonder if this as anything other than a male, but did his brain, damaged so severely to the point that it forgot where its limbs experimental cues to determine whether or not the body sch ema encodes anything like biological sex because we have yet to find a specific neuropathology that knocks out the if not impossible to provide a list of criteria for determining how one might behave differently were their schemas to no longer be sexed without simultaneously referencing already gendered actions. For schematic processes had also resulted in no longer having a sexed schema, then if he began to move less free ly, to experience himself as both an object to be manipulated and a subject of his own actions, or to approach tasks more with these experiences were and continue to be to a large extent had by IW. Would it be correct to then say that his schema is now a female schema, simply because he is unable to move freely? Surely not, because then we would have to say that the body schema is so malleable that every time someone lac ks a sense of agency over his or her body, they are turn out to be, just like gendered norms of behavior, entirely socially constructed, which, as Gallagher has demonstrat ed quite convincingly, is not the case. I think herein lies the true difficulty of assigning the schema any sex at all. As soon as we try to, we are already buying into the gender roles that define masculine and feminine motility and then trying to map th ose isomorphically onto biological sex, assuming that the schema somehow
154 and clumsy or bold and agile. So, suppose we dispense with talk of a sexed schema. Does this ultimately rule body schema as knowing that it will be more passive, reticent, and careful as opposed to active, intrepid, and daring. For one, these categories of motility are hardly exclusive and exhaustive. It is not as if there are only two types of movement and comportment in the world. To believe so would be to ascribe the ultimate duality to the world. Not only are there two sexes and two genders, but moreover there are two kinds of embodied action, and every body is either one or the other. Another problem with the gendered schema is that it would not so readily allow for change from one type of embodied action to the other. If your schema is hardwired to be difficult to assume more masculine motility and yet, as we discussed earlier, this happens identity as feminine and/or mascul ine does not necessarily imply that one possesses a particular set of bodily skills over another. The linkage between, for example, masculine and athletic, or feminine and graceful, is a byproduct of social contrivance. To be sure, the body schema is relat ively fixed and one might be born with a natural propensity to be graceful, such as a ballet dancer who was born with long limbs and hip rotation, or a the body schema can change for instance, as a child develops, as a person acquires automaticity and control over a movement that once was new and awkward, or, of course, when the schema is disrupted, as in the case of IW or GL. All of
155 these facts make it nearly impossible to speak of a gendered schema in any meaningful way, unless we want to entirely disrupt the original intent behind the concept. ht begin to see that the idea of a gendered schema is not so easily dismissed. In the long run, I will reject the notion that gender roles and comportment are in any way pre specified at the schematic level, but I want to spend some time discussing Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Intersexed Embodiment (IE) on the one hand, and a whole other array of BDs on the other, for several reasons. 1) I will claim that although extreme, GID and IE remain on the same continuum of felt unheimlichkeit or dysphoria wit 2) In all these dysphoric experiences, the tendency, both by professionals and persons with the dysphoric experiences, is to nativize or schematize complex social identities such as gender, sexual ity, even athleticism and occupational identity and that this phenomenology is misguided. In order to make this second claim however, I will take seriously the experiences reported, in particular from GID and IE, namely that there is a gender the person wi is evident in cases from IE, in which persons who are given corrective surgeries to force their bodies into one or the other sexual category, there are often reports of a mistake made, su phenomenological accounts, along with a host of others, from tall people trapped in short breasted bodies, will be the focus o f the next chapter. My aim is to argue that although people may feel as though they were born into this or that social role, even sexual identity is something highly constructed and
156 ociety is just as much externally induced as it is internally driven.
157 Chapter 5 Transgressed Binaries: Body Image and Subjectivity in Transgender Embodiment a mode of articulation, a way of describing a space of possibility. Three puts in question the idea of one: of identity, self sufficiency, self knowledge. Marjorie Garber 5.1 Introduction The preceding chapter began wi th a premise that embodiment always shows up as sexed and gendered, even if only tacitly and concluded with the argument that this fact about embodiment is never rigidly fixed, either in the form of a body image or a body schema, either as male or fema le, feminine or masculine. While the body image is much more highly susceptible to social conditioning and alteration than the body schema, even the schema is to some extent, malleable, as automatic and pre reflective motor actions can and do change, are a cquired, and even lost, as in cases of deafferentation such as Ian Waterman (IW). Furthermore, in terms of a sexed schema, the only way such a program for action could ever be described would be in terms of bodily comportment, movement, and actions that ar e already gendered that includes among its traits the ability to give birth, being shorter, having less muscle mass, and so forth. And again, these actions are never inherently necessary simply because one is born a male or a female. Thus any talk of a sexed schema will, like the body image, admit to a degree of plasticity and learnability. Nevertheless, there are at least two bodily experiences Transgender (TG) and Intersexed Embodiment (IE) that challenge the notion that body schemas have no
158 has identified with the female body and the feminine gender for as long as he/she can remember, or a person born with ambiguous sexual m orphology, who is surgically altered at birth to fit one sex, but grows up identifying with the other these are both instances in not the result of learned behavior or socially internalized cues, As I suggested at the end of Chapter 4, I will examine the theories and phenomenological studies of TG and IE, but my intentions are themselves not strictly theoretical, nor purely phenomenological. As I have argued in previous chapters, in agreement with Gallagher and Zahavi (2008), complex phenomena such as cognition are best studied and understood from multiple vantage points. This is so when it comes to TG and IE as well. Accordingly I will examine th ese experiences from various theoretical and phenomenological vantage points, but will begin by looking chiefly at Queer Theory (QT). This is where we find the bulk of TG theory and IE discussion, and more importantly, QT is itself at least partially a pr oduct of the lived and shared experiences of particular, of the transsexual as a figure that subverts the traditional gender binary, my first claim will rest on the idea that by juxtaposing monstrous and natural bodies, QT runs the risk of replacing one binary for another. Namely, in dismantling the natural/non natural divide, it is often the case that a new dichotomy that between the figurative and the literal comes to sta nd in its place. As I intend to show however, this binary of to subvert.
159 I think he reveals important oversights, such as the one just mentioned, I will diverge from his account slightly when it comes to characterizing the role of body image in the formation of transsexual subjectivity. Whereas QT tends to cast how one imagines and thus identifies oneself as part of this or that group, for example mostly, if not entirely, as a product of power and socially constructed and enforced norms, Prosser attempts to reclaim the body image of the transsexual as prior to the socio medico technol ogical existing disorder while at the same time functioning as the creator of this disorder. Both QT and Prosser extend the concept i.e. the human organism and hence how the body is thought or imagined never refers strictly to a biological or material entity that is prior to medico scientific discourse. Whereas a queer theorist such as Butler (1990), for never simply refers to a material reality independent of discursive practice, Prosser on the other hand, attempts to reclaim some of narratives and lived experiences o f trans persons, he avoids an overly deconstructive rooted in the material reality of the flesh. This grounding, I argue, is lacking in QT. ed account tends to characterize the body image as somehow independent of all external influence, independent from even the body itself. This aspect contribution made by QT the deconstruction of the naturalness of the gender binary. In
160 the end, I argue, neither a body image prior to technology nor a hardwired sexed schema are plausib le. Although body schemas, as we have seen in Chapter 4, are more fixed and less influenced by sociotechnological practices than body images, it is quite plausible that this is a matter of degree, and that the two systems the schematic and the imagistic mutually inform, influence, and shape each other. And, as it turns out, any notion of a sexed schema is itself a byproduct of the socio medical discourse that would have us believe, like Straus (1966), that the way little girls and little boys comport t hemselves to the world is already worked out in a complex pattern of motor behavior somewhere in the brain. Thus, a sexed or gendered body image that is prior to technology and what I will a sexed schema. Several methodological and conceptual clarifications are in order before I begin, however. First, although I am interested in recounting the role of body image in shaping the embodiment of transgendered and inte resexed persons and thus will discuss them both throughout the chapter, my focus will be more on transgender. First, there is an entire theoretical movement, Transgender Studies devoted to such investigations, and so, I not only have an abundantly rich re source for personal narratives, but as well, there is a large group of transgendered scholars who offer both theoretical and first person accounts of their experiences. Second, some terminological distinctions: I will use the term transgender to refer to a consistent queering of accepted gender norms, such as persistent cross dressing or cross being at home transvestite denotes a particular type of transgender ing, namely, a cross dresser. The term transsexual refers to
161 a person who identifies with another sex and hence, this term applies more at the anatomical level. In other words, a transsexual might feel genuinely female, despite male physiology, and while n ot all transsexuals who identify with the opposite sex will seek sexual reassignment surgery or any other bodily modification, persons who do seek such bodily changes can be characterized as transsexual. This term, the way I am using it, is broad enough t does not limit itself to persons who have had the full surgery or any surgery at all. Simply cat egory. The term cissexual, on the other hand, is used to denote a person who is non trans in any way; someone who is comfortable in their own skin, has never questioned what gender he or she truly is, and who does not have problems with the roles he or sh e is trans literature (cf. Stryker & Whittle, 2006; Shepherdson, 2006; Serano, 2007). I also recognize the discrepancies inherent in utilizing a particular taxonom y to generalize over lived experiences. To this end, I will take special care to address such concerns, and will even aim at a phenomenology of individual experience that is ambivalent to the particulars of these terms. 5. 2 Inner Selves, Outer Bodies, and the Construction of a Disorder Prior to detailed phenomenological descriptions, which I will mostly glean from trans and intersexed narratives, and without examining the theoretical and historical frameworks from which these phenomena are typically thought, it is easy to take a
162 conclusion that anyone suffering from Gender Identity Disorder (GID) has the sense of foreign and unwanted. Furthermore, a quick survey of the way gender reassignment sufficiently demonstrated that they have felt this di ssociation for as long as they can remember (cf. Hale, 2007; Spade, 2006). Given this totalizing picture of all trans embodiment, it is therefore not a huge leap to make the assumption that there must be some element of sexual (or gender) identity that is 1) independent of the specifics of GID involves forming a body image of oneself that does not correspond in any meaningful way to the body schema ; a body image that h as arisen without making use of said schema. Or, we might characterize the experience as suggestive of an innate, hardwired, and pre social facet of embodiment that cannot be fully realized due to the actual material substance in which it is housed namel Either way, the phenomena of cross dressing, seeking sexual reassignment surgery, and even committing suicide in response to GID can at first appear as though what is really being experienced is some sort of disembodied self, of the outer body and is trapped within its confines. Put differently, we might conjecture, based on trans phenomenology, that we all have sexed schemas after all, some of which reveals that there has not always been a consensus regarding the phenomenon and, fascinatingly, the thinking has shifted from radical materialism concerning sex and
163 gender, to a psychologism that more close ly reflects a substance dualistic view of the mind/self versus the body. The reason such conjectures about the nature of transgender and transsexualism are so easy to make stems, in part perhaps from the relatively scarce amount of scholarship devoted to it. More importantly, the larger culture typically consumes the medicalized, psychologized, and overly generalized accounts, as they are presented in popular media. For example, the movie, Transamerica which although it was an independent film was nominat ed for two Oscars and so far has been one of the few films about a trans person to reach so many viewers, tells the story of a road trip taken together with a pre op MTF and her son, who is unaware that he is riding cross country with his father soon to be woman. While the plot is innocuous enough, the depiction of the main character, Bree, helps to further the notion that what is really at stake for transsexuals is desi re to link the two is portrayed via a hyperbolic obsession with appearance, in particular, appearing feminine. To be sure, putting forth a feminine image is important to many transsexuals and transgendered persons alike, but certainly not all of them, and certainly not to the degree with which Bree was preoccupied. Julia Serano (2007), for instance, has claimed that portrayals such as Bree in Transamerica work to maintain two negative images. First, the stereotype of trans persons as only concerned with sup erficial gender appearances makeup, voice, clothing, etc which thereby effectively erases nuanced differences in the phenomenology of transsexualism, transgenderism, transvestitism. Second, by portraying women in general in this way i.e. as obsessed with appearance the depiction of females, including all MTF trans persons, as objects of
164 objectionable is that films such as Transamerica, which often serve as the only insight into trans lives thatcissexual and mainstream culture receive, should be scrutinized so as to determine what those images are that are being consumed. Along with Serano, I agree that if this is all the exposure most people will get to transsex ualism, transgenderism, and real applicable to all of these various modes of trans experience is what will be thought by the viewers. Again, this overlooks the differences among individual lives, and serves to experience. Regarding medicalized and psychologized accounts, they have worked to establish the idea that what is essential to notion of what it means and what it feels like to be that other gender, let alone, that there are only two from which to choose. As Prosser (1998) points out, even in 1864, the year authority and source of information. That is, prior even to the coining of the terms transsexuality: the expression of being differently gendered; the recounting of a plot that pull (140). Likewise, some of the first genuine attempts to materially alter sex a double
165 reco rd of genital masculinization in 1882 35 were recorded by Magnus Hirschfield, a prominent sexologist. Although openly homosexual and an avid defender of gay rights, Hirschfield was not equipped with the nuances of the sex gender distinction, nor was there anything like queer theory, postmodernism, and the like, for him to follow, given that he predates such movements by several decades. As such, his accounts remain first and foremost, biological Like his contemporaries (cf. Ellis, 190; Krafft Ebing, 1886) whose accounts also have an air of biological essentialism to them, he sought to diagnose deep voice, manly gait, and small breasts, for example, as Richard von Krafft man in trans accounts was the hope that the bodies of the patients themselves would reveal their own narratives. Much like the story of Herculine Barbin (Foucault, 1980), a French hermaphrodite who spent the first twenty years of her life as a woman but was later discovered to have masculine genitalia, and was then forced to live life as a man, the biological body represents the sin qua non for both ght supersede the somatic markers of genitalia, hormones, and secondary sexual characteristics such as hair, muscles and breasts, was not considered at these early stages. Hence, stories like she committed suicide as a resu lt of never fully assimilating to the newly prescribed gender but are also indicative, quite interestingly, of an early somatic essentialism i.e. the belief that when it comes to identifying a he body. 35 Hirschfield/ Haustein (in Prosser, 250 footnote 14) 1991
166 practices in the early 1900s and the concomitant drive in psychology to catalogue an generally, including sexual reassignment surgery, soon came to be markers of a solider purposefully amputating his leg so as to escape the war, e.g. disord 36 In other manifestation of a disordered psyche. It is not surprising therefore, that medical practices concerning transgender, in particular, the guide for those practices, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for psychiatry, began to characterize the phenomenon as a mism and tumble play and competitive psychology and psychiatry treats the symptoms as arising solely from within the subject, as if the dominant social norms which police count as suitably female and male have nothing to do with the behavior 36 See also: Spade, 2003; Yates, 1961; Roman, 2006
167 In a similar vein, the autobiographical narratives of persons seeking sexual psychological, or is at least irreducible to the strictly biological body. Catherine Millot (199 1) recounts that many of the trans to male transsexual, describes his experience as being comprised of two bodies, an inn er and an outer. Although Thompson does not necessarily evoke a disembodied and immaterial self trapped within a material body, his two body identity remains consistent with the notion that there is some aspect of gender identity that escapes the narrative told simply by the fleshy, outer body. To quote his narrative at length: itself to the ends of my lim bs. It was growing ever larger insi de of me, making me feel I was ause this was impossible, this process would abruptly reverse and I would start to shrink inside myself. My whole inner body shrank until I became very small inside. It was as if I became so small I had to find some safe place to hide inside myself. My tiny inner body was in unfamiliar surroundings, i I felt utterly unsafe. I became like a little shadow inside my physical body, a shadow running ar ound everywhere trying to find somewhere inside [Thompson & Sewell, 1995, 200]. bodily pathologies discussed in chapter three; for example, patients with Mbius syndrome who characterize their emotionless faces (Cole, 2008), or patients with misoplegia, who often seek amputative bodies. Thompson even goes on to describe unexplained blisters that form on his face as
168 inner psyche with outer soma ; Matthew 10:8), to the current trends in plastic surgery to allow sists today, despite the downfall of phrenology itself, or the ideal that outer bodily morphology indicates inner charactereological traits. Ray Krone, as he was found on the victims which matched his dental patterns. After DNA testing proved that Mr. Krone was not in fact the murderer, he sought reconstructive dental surgery, so that he would no longer be conceived of as a killer. As a blog from a friend remarks, post surg I just saw Ray on Extreme Makeover and he looks great. Now his outer beauty Prosser (1998) claims that narratives such as these, in which an inner self or body suggest the re materialization of the psychological phenomenon of dissociation. By looking at the Skin Ego argues, the b which most robustly constitutes the self the world, in proprioception, in the sensations we derive from it, and in its unique t which is outside. Thus, that which the ego projects
169 ed in the wrong body enough to simply restructure the material body, surgically or otherwi se, nor is it sufficient to cross dress and cross gender without bodily modification. This skin, as it represents reception by society, but also as he himself recognizes it as part of that true nature. have to notice those parts of its projected surface that were hindering expression of who he truly believed himself to be. This rather leng things. First, the autobiographical narratives of trans persons are much more complex than the medical literature would have us believe. To obtain surgery, at least in the U.S. and Canada, it i s required that prospective candidates demonstrate an unheimlichkeit, the opposing gender roles and norms they have adopted. (Millot, 1991). In a real sense, 2003; Prosser, 1998). But according to Thompson, this is impossible so long as his skin reassignment surgery might turn out to be impossible to meet, not to mention founded on a lack of understanding of the complex phenomenology surrounding trans experienc e.
170 differences among individual persons who are gender variant. Unsurprisingly therefore, over specific differences among narratives in the name of a unified science of gender identity is not only personally harmful to the patients seeking to finally live in about the lives of transgendered persons by reading such a vast array of autobiographies and actually meeting and talking to persons in the transgendered community, are satisfied with the superficially scientific reductive explanation of gender deviance provided by the DSM, which is then filtered through mainstream media such as news stories, Hollywood sitcoms, or movies. As Sandy Stone (2006) claims of th possibility of a life grounded in the intertextual (231). In order to make sense of how reclaiming the intertextualized transgender body that is, a body that is not reducible to medico scient ific discourse, nor simply the product of it might afford the transgender community a better voice in the construction of their social identities, a closer look into the theoretical framework that has dominated the relatively brief history of what is now known as Transgender Studies will be necessary. This will not only allow for a more diverse rendering of trans embodiment, but such a reclamation might also open up a new theoretical space for understanding, both by scholars and by the culture at large, a n understanding that does not cover over differences
171 Transgender Studies, examine the f approaching a more comprehensive understanding of cognition and embodied subjectivity generally. 5. 3 Queer Theory and In the introduction to The Transgender Studies Reader (2006), Susan Stryker provides a definition of Transgender Studies, which is: A field that claims as its purview transexuality and c ross dressing, some aspects of intersexuality and homosexuality, cross cultural and historical investigations of human gender diversity, myriad specific subcultural expres theories of sexed embodiment and subjective gender identity development, law and public policy related to the regulation of gender expr ession, and many other similar issues  This is a considerably broad categorization and it becomes even more extensive if we consider what the co editor to this volume, Stephen Whittle, says in his foreword about D iscomfort with role expectations, being queer, occasional or more frequent cross dressing, permanent cross dressing and cross gender living, throu gh to accessing major health inte rventions such as hormonal therapy and s urgical reassignment procedures [xi] of G ender Studies. Indeed, as Stryker points out, TGS includes discussions of gender
172 diversity, sexual embodiment, and personal gender development, which are all elements that Queer Theory, among other branches of Gender Studies, examines. Likewise, if being t converse hold namely, does being queer imply being transgendered? and on the other hand, why bother having two separate domains of inquiry, if both TGS and QT claim as their p differences based on historical antecedents of and transitions between theoretical frameworks, a closer look into the dialogues between the two shall reveal perhaps why TGS has eff ectively claimed territory that is just as broad, if not broader than QT. To be sure, the characterization given by Stryker and Whittle is far from representing unanimously agreed upon definitions for transgender and TGS. Even my definition at the outset of this chapter was a bit more restrictive. Likewise, not everyone gender. In Second Skins (1998), for example, Jay Prosser spends the first chapter arguing that whi le QT has done a great deal to bring TGS into academic focus, the problem with to this binary schema, straight subjects), the ground that transgender would appear t o only (32). Much like a literary figure comes to stand in for a specific element of human nature or a personality trope King Lear as the figure for all human greed, for instance if transgender illuminates the performative nature of all gender, then there still remains a ered performer and its grounding in
173 said about how performativity features for both QT and TGS and whether or not Prosser makes a good case, but theoretical ski rmishes aside, one thing does appear to be rather transgendered person has been an indispensible element for people like Butler (1990, text, Gender Trouble, Although transgender occupies just a few paragraphs of Gender Trouble, what all conceptions of gender that treat it as a natural, stable, and necessarily binary category. Because drag carri that is, the person performing drag can sufficiently act out the desired gender roles so as to be attributed, by him/herself and by others, that gender transgendering reveals that occupying a particular gender is a matter of performing that gender convincingly.. As Butler puts it: implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself what gender performances imitate turns out to be altogether un clear. Consider that the
174 1. Subjective Gender Identity feel who I believe myself to be man, woman, other my sense of femininity/masculinity, but also, my se xual orientation 2. Gender Attribution belonging to this or that gender category. 3. Gender Roles the actions one performs th at align with a particular gender Gender Outlaw (1995), 37 suggests that when a em of phenomenological, social, and symbolic rituals. Each of the three components is dependent on the others for example, one cannot act in a particular gender role if one does not also have a sense of what that gender is, how it feels to be it, etc. and yet, each can be teased apart from the others, as one might feel as though they are feminine, but ause I feel like one, list is the third item, gender roles. As Bornstein points out, performing the role of a gender involves at least these cues: physical, biologica l, behavioral, textual, mythic, power dynamic, and sexual orientation. There are likely more to add and ways to further refine these, but it suffices to simply note that acting as a man for instance, is more than simply having a penis (although this is pa rt of it) engaging in and with mythologies of manhood (for example, the myth that all men are sex crazed or that they can only focus on one thing at a time), and occupying the specific 37 26 28.
175 nodes on the power grid that signal manhood (traditionally, the dominant nodes). It is worth reiterating, since the concept has retreated into the background during this under this performative framework, becomes just another way to imitate gender. Hence, having particular genitalia is just one sign among many indeed only one physical/biological sign among many sexual orientation signal.. Nevertheless, how these various cues come to all triangulate upon the same gender or conversely, how they might conflict with one another, only highlights their instability as strict referents. It is not inherently contained within the concept of possessing an XX chromosome that one will be a heterosexual, female, feminine, mother, who is intrinsically passive So, if someone attributes the wrong gender to me because they notice that I like to have sex with transsexual women, this misidentificati on results from my failing to meet certain established norms of behavior on the one hand, but it also highlights the arbitrary nature of the connections drawn between and among the various categories pertaining to gender performance. To cite the rest of Bu above, itself Drag makes visible not just the performative nature of hat it seeks to copy, is a fiction. What it means to be a gender refer to stable, dichotomous categories. For Butler, drag exposes the heteronormative
176 serves to subvert the supposed naturalness of gender. What gender is thought to be grounded in what Butler (1992) later r possible only by the arbitrary positing of the binary systems of male female, feminine masculine, and heterosexual homosexual. By imitating gender and hence, exposing the imitative nature of gender itself, dra g therefore exposes these binaries for what they really are: fluid, figurative, and eminently transgressable. reinstantiates the dominant heterosexual matrix. By seeking to beco me the opposite sex supportive of the two sex/two gender model. As Shepherdson (2006) points out, this r which Butler is most often credited Seen in this way, drag would simply bolster the already given binaries by implicitly endorsing the notion that one can only cross from gend er X to gender Y or from sexual orientation X to sexual orientation Y. Unlike Butler, who argues that the figure of transgender serves to undermine the notion that what gender amounts to is a two part system, there are feminist theorists and even queer th eorists who view the use of trans identity as actually reinforcing the binary system (cf. Raymond, 1979/2006; Hausman, 2006); but the majority of Queer Theory tends towards seeing the figure of trans as
177 2006, 98). Nevertheless, in the larger c ulture, these categories in particular, the male female dichotomy Bodies that Matter: On the Discursiv e Limits of Sex citing it by its repeated use in language, for one, but in all other modes that citation might take, such as recognizing and being recognized as this or that sex, and so forth and our co ntinual compulsion to recite it. Likewise, gender and sexual orientation ground them. Citationality is not exactly the same thing as performativity, although my rea Insofar as she immediately references speech act theory 38 in the introduction of Bodies that Matter, of it, citation can be seen as a new way of conceiving performance. Indeed, as Austin (1962) that is, speech acts can be performative. In pronouncing a couple man and wife, for example, the illocut ionary act is also the performance of the ritual of marriage. Likewise, the statements, or a girl when uttered by a physician in reference to a newborn or a developing fetus, serve re producing the binary categorization of male and female in order to call forth a subject to which one of these labels can be attached. And every time I engage in citing 38 Austin, J.L., 1962.
178 by behaving as a woman or being attributed by others as such the binary is reiterated. reinforced. Thus, for Butler, citationality shows that while drag might undermine the binary, for the most part, our daily routines, behaviors, speech acts, and other forms of citing gender actually serve to make it appear as thought that which we are citing is indeed necessary, stable, and given. As we saw in Chapter 4, Merleau Ponty (1962) viewed embodiment in a similar def ining feature of the body through the repeated actions that bodies engage in which involve two hands. This includes of course, the way objects are produced and reproduced as well; indeed, the world of objects is continually made for people with two hands a nd as such, we come to think of this as a necessary element of embodiment. Similarly, having a sex is viewed as natural and necessary because it is repeatedly cited, performed, and enforced. In particular, the enforcement aspect is important to Butler, as she locates like Foucault (1975, 1980, 2007) she argues that power relations congealed within this matrix produce the illusion that it is logically impossible to be unse xed. Intersexed narratives, such as Herculine Barbin, along with the medico political narratives regarding surgical practices on intersexed infants continually recite the necessity of sexual embodiment (cf. Fausto Sterling, 1999; Hird, 2004). As Dreger (2 intersexuals are treated today has much of the same effect intended by the conceptual and practical treatment of the last century: to keep two clear sexes and to retain the notion that heterosexuality is normal and homosexuality is no interdependent and reinforcing fashion, gender is also cited as necessarily binary, so that
179 according to heteronormative standards, this will me an either being straight (normal) or gay (abnormal). I want to now turn back to transgender, and consider specifically the DSM and the Standards of Care (SOC) which regulate sexual reassignment surgery for those transgendered persons who seek it. My aim in doing so is to examine the ways in which the figure of the transsexual as it is construed by such medicalized practices to draw important conclusions about gender are often called in the QT and TGS literature, quite literally evaluate the performance of that it posits produce a nd reify a fiction of a normal, healthy gender that works as a insist that a trans person passes as the desired gender well before the surgery they must member of this new group (cf. Hale, 2007; Loeb, 2008). But by successfully performing the desired gender, as Spade notes, what counts as normal gender expression for all persons is recited. Not only do the practices surrounding and leading up to sexual reassignment surgery help to reinforce the binaries of sexual difference, but they highlight the inconsistency with which the heterosexual matrix views gender itself. Intersexed na rratives provide a nice point of comparison. The soma at birth and in particular, the external genital morphology is taken to be the sin qua non of what
180 person as this or that gender, and yet, as we have seen this is just one among a wide variety of ways in which gender can be performed and expressed. When it comes to proving that you are suffering from GID, or if you are simply trying to demonstrate that you are th i.e. performances that go beyond the physical body are privileged. et clear on was that she was not a man. Based on would seem that this is because there is no satisfactory definition. By telling a trans person how a woman acts, this is only one element of being a woman and it turns out that all attempts to define the concept I might try to define what it feels like to be a woman by referring to how I dress but then in order to understand why the way I dress expresses my feeling of womanhood, I must refer to some other thing, like, say, acting like a woman. unites al continues. In the end, in order to answer the question, what does it feel like to be a woman, the answer will involve some vague description of womanhood that fails to capture the essence if there is such a thing of the complex phenomenology behind concept that refers to an essential category, nor one that is independent of social constru ction, medicalization, or science, since the sexing of bodies is itself a performance which seeks to reproduce a binary that already has been shown to be unstable.
181 the sexed and gendered body and how the transgendered person dramatizes the suggested by Whittle (2006), e.g. that all transgendered persons are queer. Nor must it always be the c ase that transgender is subversive. For one, not all transsexuals and the problematization of gender is often a theoretical addendum to the lived experiences of individual trans persons, a result of what Sp theorists exonerate the figure of the transsexual as a paradigm for subversion. Lesbian Feminists (cf. Raymond, 2006), for example, are often critical of medical procedures they see as only buttressing the patriarchy. Indeed, weaving QT together with TGS, or weaving either of these two branches together with feminism more generally can turn out to be problematic, given the border wars and boundary politics often present even in t concern over seeking to imbricate QT with TGS stems from the notion that the body adornmen ts clothing, behavior, sexuality, etc that one might choose to express their There are several responses one c ould give to this question off the cuff, but none seems sufficient. A quick rejoinder is to assume that the inability to sustain the body as a consequent in other wo rds, it is not the case that the body is a mere costume and hence,
182 transgendered experience highlights this fault with QT. But then again, transgender and transsex do remind us that the sexed body is highly constructed, malleable, and certainly not necessa rily fixed, nor does it always align to the gendered self. Thus, another just costume we are after all, always stuck in some body and as such, cannot entirely disrobe from this particular adornment is still a mode of presentation that, much like clothing, can be ultimate costume the one we must always tote around with us, and in which we must always be seen. Nevertheless, like Prosser, I think unproblematically adopting the body as costume framework of QT can and does conceal much of the lived experiences of trans persons. Furthermore, if we take seriously, as I suggested we do in Chapter 2, th e notion that the body is one among several tools for constituting cognition, and then extend this idea to the way in which we utilize this body tool to fashion ourselves as this or that gender, then it seems we face a dilemma. Either who I really am must somehow be independent of all the transitory and unnecessary modes of embodiment I can take up and hence, my gender altogether. Neither of these is palatable, as the f ormer denies the importance of the body and embodiment in shaping who and what we think ourselves to be, while the latter would dismiss any claims from trans persons or otherwise to a self that is identifiable regardless of the body and its morphology. In order to explore these possible interpretations, and to hopefully resolve the dilemma, it will not be enough however to Again, doing so always overlooks the particul ar phenomenology of lived experience. An
183 account of subjective experience, as I have argued in this and the chapters preceding, is necessity of taking seriously the natu of the role of body image in forming a transgendered identity, as well as any gendered identity, will serve not only to allow just such a phenomenological approach, but will also resemble in important wa ys our discussion of body image and body schema from Chapter 4. What this discussion will add, however, will be a richer understanding of embodiment generally material constit uent in the formation of gender identity. 5.4 Imagining the Transgendered Body experience, I want to begin by examining how the medicalization of the phenomenon is portrayed by TGS As it turns out, there is a sharp contrast between the way the experiences of trans persons are recounted individually and the way they are discussed within the framework of medico scientific discourse. Because the dominant voice in assessing and assigni ng treatment or surgery is this medico scientific discourse, the transgender theorists often claim that the individual concerns, desires, and narratives of objective and general account. One underlying assumption, according to transgender theorists (cf. Stryker, 2006; Spade, 2003; Shepherdson, 2006) that is made by medical framework of difference is only made stronger by the presence of transsexualism. While the SOC
184 refrains from making any claims as to whether the existence of transsexualism actually bolsters the id ea that there are only two sexes from which to choose, it is the case that an 39 is: 1. The desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by the wish to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex through surgery and hormone treatment [2001; 5]. Hence, as Shepherdson (2006) suggests, medical science treats transsexualism as a surgeon works with the conception of anatomy that presupposes a natural version of sexual identity, thereby fore the claim that all surgeons operate with the same conception of sexual difference. The surgeons themselves mi ght simply be carrying out an operation for the sake of fulfilling their role as a medical practitioner. Furthermore, the SOC do recognize that transsexualism involves more than mere anatomy alteration, and sometimes anatomical change is not requested or n Life leisure activities, name cha nge, and so forth (16 17). What Shepherdson is right to point the idea that there are two and only two sexes and/or genders and that there are decidedly specific behaviors, dress, and 39 The Harry Benjamin I nternational Gender Dysphoria Association's Standards Of Care For Gender Identity Disorders, Sixth Version February, 2001
185 activities th at belong to each is not even a question raised by the SOC, or the DSM for that matter. It is presupposed that if one feels uncomfortable in their gender roles or anatomical sex then there are two paths available. First, one must engage in psychotherapy r test which involves hormone therapy and living as the other gender to see if is required. Then, one either makes the transition or it is recommended that therapy continue queer, at least not as it is written in the SOC or the DSM. In this way therefore, medical science treats reassignment surgery and hor monal therapy as helping to create and sustain sexual difference in other words, as Another interpretation worth exploring regarding the manner by which sexual reassignment surgery is prescribed is that to some extent, transsexualism the type of transsexualism in which surgery is sought is a modern phenomenon, brought about by the advent of the technological means to enact such body modification. Alongside discoveries of neural plasticity, improved or gan and tissue transplanting, and advances in surgical techniques generally, the body becomes less and less static, more malleable, and, one might argue, more like a costume that one can readily change. In order for a genuine MTF or FTM post op transsexual to exist, certain technological innovations had to arise on the one hand, but also, the ideology of the body as a relatively stable entity in particular, that biological sex was a permanent endowment likewise radically altered with more and more ways in which technology could alter the flesh. In a similar vein, Shepherdson (2006), e.g. sees the history of science, in particular, the history of
186 at hand, a material substratum view technological history as a trajectory towards such a robust ghost in the machine metaphysics of self, although there is something compelling about the idea that the more manipulable the body becomes the more materially and objectively real it is made by the less and less essential it becomes. In other words, what is the body but a costume, if it is constantly alterable and never t ruly in order to perform certain functions, and in the case of gender, it is a mechanism for tance, one must, according to medical science, have a vagina, and as such, an anatomical male who identifies as a woman, will qualify for surgery that can transfigure those bodily parts such that they are appropriate to th leads us back to the earlier problem of sexual reassignment qualification: if an essential part of enacting the desired gender/sex is possessing the correct anatomy, then how can body? To be sure, according to transgendered persons themselves, but also, as the SOC in determining surgical candidacy attest, a particular kind of body is not sufficient for realizing gender. It would seem, nonetheles s, that it is not necessary either, because, as the SOC dictate, at one can and in fact must prove his or her gender without the supposedly requisite body. In other words, there is a presupposition when someone is diagnosed as having GID severe enough to w arrant sexual reassignment surgery that the
1 87 proper idea of embodiment is already possessed and that this idea transcends the materiality of the physical body. Nevertheless, for many transsexuals, this material body is precisely what is precluding full rea lization of the ideal embodiment. If we contrast transsexuals and here, I mean transsexuals who are in fact dissatisfied with some or all of their anatomical sex is quite literally a sit e of identity crisis for the former, but not for the latter. While dressing, performing, and so forth, and this suffices for the role shifting they are seeking to attain, transsexuals wh o opt for surgery are cannot simply behave as the desired sex/gender and be satisfied. And yet, this behaving as is precisely what is required of them in order to t ranssexuals, the body, although not sufficient for enacting the desired gender, is at the same time a necessary component of it; however, this missing piece, prior to surgery, prevents the full realization of that desire. Shepherdson comes to conclude rega rding this differentiation between transvestites and transsexuals as such: Perhaps we could say that cross dressing is the act of a subject who plays with what we capacity to act (in the sense act t heory) waits upon (an idea of) embodiment [2006; 101]. is no easy task, and is certainly not reducible to biological diffe rentiation. Perhaps the embodiment of which the transvestite has an idea just is the gender role they enact and because their idea of gender does not need to be constituted by specific anatomical like this answer, however, as it
188 seems to overlook the quite obvious fact that transsexuals must have some idea of therefore, I want to argue that transsexuals do have an idea of embodiment, a body image that for them does not correspond to the gender roles that their actual body is expected to perform (or that they wish it to perform). This idea of embodiment, since it does not correspond to an y material reality (at least not pre op) is, looking at the way many transsexuals describe their experiences, as well as the ways in which transsexual theorists suc h as Prosser and Shepherdson characterize themselves and others, I will further argue that there are actually two separate body images formed, one, the ideal embodiment the desired gender is a projected image of wholeness, while the other, the body ima ge which the actual body subtends, is fractured, incomplete, and home transsexual body images are formed and transformed, I will then suggest a way to read transsexual narratives th at avoids the pitfalls of QT and the radical anti essentialism pertaining the body that results from the body as costume model. Given the accounts of many transsexuals, it is not surprising that their phenomenological descriptions of embodiment are appro priated by Queer Theorists as signaling that the body, like a suit or a uniform, is interchangeable and thus no more testimonies: 40 40 From Prosser (1998).
189 and reveal myself pristine within forever Jan Morris Leslie Feinberg o me as I developed, there was an urge to rip off my own skin, for lack of a better de scription. The frustration and Raymond Thompson like me Anonymous It is tempting to cast GID as an experience that reveals that the body is not sustainable as any real indicator for sexed or gendered identity. As the above narratives suggest, the it is even described as a but to make the leap that the experience of Unheimlichkeit felt by perso ns with GID demonstrates that all of embodiment is a performance and that the body is one among many props is, I want to of wrong embodiment because being trapped in the wrong body is simply what transsexuality feels trans persons, it must feel as though one is trapped in the wrong skin and if given the opportunity, they would jump out of it. However, the experience of dissociation between self and skin does not imply that the concepts of body and embodiment are not literal einberg (1980) recognizes the true impossibility of her desire and Thompson (1995) alludes to the unavailability of a better description for his felt need to tear off his skin. It appears that
190 the narrators here are quite awar e that the immediacy of the experience shows up in ways that are not expressible in language and, moreover, that the body cannot just be sloughed off like a coat. In some sense therefore, QT can be accused of reading into these body narratives precisely wh at it has renounced to ground the distinction between the physical body itself and the body image(s), which groun attempt to use transsexuality as a foil for the supposed naturalness of sexual difference. tenuous position in the formation of sexed and gendered identity the message conveyed by the narratives; rather than claiming that the ir experiences highlight the non essential nature of the body in the their sense of identity, the trans persons narrating here seem to all have reached the conclusion that the body is both a part of their identity as trans but is also an object, costume li ke though it may be, that they wish to alter. trapped. Again, it is enticing to read th the is the term that does not have a referent? P rosser suggests something similar, as he argues that
191 of oneself that is comprised of a (1984) work on phantom limb patients, Prosser (1998) claims that transsexuals, like those existent limbs when experiencing phantom pains, are newly configured body, one that goes beyond the material body itself. Although the body phantomized never actually existed, and as such, unlike a phantom limb experienced after amputative surgery, the referent picked out by the transsexual body image has n o past born out of a yearning for a perfect past that is, not memory but nostalgia: the desire for the purified version of what was, not for the return to home per se (nostos) but to the romanticized material, the body embodiment, these experiential domains is any more or less literal embodiment, an embodiment that is other to, or better, one that goes beyond the material body, is whole and complete. It is an ideal of heimlichkeit a body constructed by the imagination that is waiting to be embodied f extreme bodily dissociation such as GID, there are two conflicting body images one which skin ego is hel pful here as a metaphor by which to interpret the sense of confinement that is felt by the inner self of a
192 transsexual who describes the desire to jump out of his or her own skin. The skin serves as a boundary between the inner and the outer body images, b ut it also helps to form them both. Further evidence that body image is key to anchoring transsexual embodiment as a future ideal of completion, suggests Prosser (1998), can be gleaned by considering the history of the formation of transsexuality as a co inverts in the mid being homosexual, cross dressing, h yper masculinity in females, etc. But the narratives from one sex/gender to the other, Prosser claims, deploy the same body image that we find in transsexual narratives to day. In other words, the protention of transsexual embodiment, which we might be tempted to think was made possible by medical technology, actually preceded it. Before there was any real future body for which to hold out hope before technology made possi ble attaining a new sexed body transsexual embodiment existed, in the form of projected ideas of heimlichkeit. Specifically, the body which is also projected as a fu ture, real body are in conflict with each other, whether surgery is possible or not. While I see no problem in claiming that transsexualism is a phenomenon that predates the medico technological invention of the term, I am concerned here that Prosser m the construction of transsexual body images specifically, and in the formation of body
193 exual, or as any other identity, my question is then, from whence do such images arise? As I have argued in previous chapters, while both body schema and body image can alter, it is namel y, socially constructed norms of embodiment, ideals of beauty, and technological mediation. However, as Prosser casts it, the body image seems to be just as fixed as the schema; indeed, he never discusses a body schema and as such, the two are either conf lated or use of body image is, I want to argue, a move too far back in the direction of essentialism. In other words, while his critique of QT has been fruitful for r egaining a sense of the body as a real referential component of embodiment the claim that transsexual body image is technologically unmediated runs the risk of sliding back into the dilemma claiming either a strict biological body as gender identity or a disembodied some body. Neither of these views captures fully the crucial role that technology does in fact play in shaping how we imagine ourselves to be qua em bodied subjects. phenomenology of transsexualism thus far discussed, actually shows that embodiment is always already constituted by technology. To defend this claim, I will n eed to clarify what I mean by technology, as well as return to some important insights from QT concerning embodiment, namely from thinkers such as Donna Haraway (1988), whose image of the cyborg will provide a framework for better understanding transgender ed subjectivity. My claim is that cyborg embodiment is the subtending phenomenology of
194 all embodiment and that the body images deployed in extreme cases of bodily disownership, such as in that of a transsexual, or any other sense of unheimlichkeit, are not we natural/unnatural divide, a myth perpetuated by juxtaposing non transsexual with transsexual as well as human and machine, is, I will argue, another level of concealment, one which serves to mask the fundamentally hybridized, eminently dissociable, and yet always already technological nature of all cognitive subjectivity.
195 Chapt er 6 The Technology of Queered Cognition Terry & Calvert, 1997 ; 5. but rather presuppose it; discourse and figure, meaning and sense, the speakable and the unspeakable are mutually constitutive yet incommensurable. The relat ion is one of Sullivan, 2001; 165. 6.1 Introduction In this final chapter, I will return to several claims from the previous chapters but are instead, a conglomeration of organism + external processes. No image is better suited to expressing the nature of this hybridized human than the cyborg and as such, I will utilize the cyborg as it is evoked both in cognitive science as well as i n feminist theory, in order to draw parallels between the two usages and further show how this image actually serves to elucidate embodied subjectivity. While the cyborg is utilized for various purposes by philosophers like Clark (2003) and feminists such as Haraway (1988), I want to focus on a common thread running through both disciplines, namely, this position will require some defending, as well as some clarificati on as to what precisely is meant by the second half of the always already hybridized human i.e. the technology to which the organism is coupled. To this end, I will differentiate between
196 visible and invisible technologies in order to maintain that comple te dissociation from our tools is impossible, as we are often in fact always, I will argue in the grips of technological being, I will first look to some of the more extreme modes of organism machine coupling found in the work of surgical artists, Orlan and Stelarc. Having explicated and defended the claim that human cognition and embodiment is always a hybr idization of organism, machine, and/or transparent technology, I will return to the discussion of Transgender (TG) and Intersexed Embodiment (IE) to revisit the overriding phenomenology expressed in these experiences, namely, that of dysphoria or unheimlic hkeit in a ambiguous bodily being towards the world that is really the source of Unheimlichkeit in GID or any of the other bodily pathologies mentioned thus far. In other words, embodimen t or gender as one mode of embodiment, and more specifically, as argued in Chapter 5, as an embodied practice of performance. That I feel like a woman and am womanhood. Sex and g ender are just two examples of the multifarious ways in which
197 embodiment generally is a means of performing as this or that type of subject. One of the although it is not the only one. In fact, the second claim I will defend is that we ought to think of sex and gender and other modes of embodied subjectivity themselves as tools. Indeed, they can be used to enact yet further performances, all of which, I argue, are part of t bodies, sexual identity, gender performance, and so forth in order to cognize, I will further suggest that we begin to see cog nition broadened and refined, so as to include among its exemplars, dress, language, and other sociotechnical systems. The payoff to all of this is that by treating the phenomena of dissociation experienced by persons with GID or IE as a mod e of embodiment dysphoria, or more specifically, as cases in which there is a breakdown between person and world, a crucial possibility of human embodiment generally is made more explicit. This possibility I claim, is the always present possibility of brea kdown, wherein I feel dissociated from parts of my body, the tools I am using, or the larger social context in which I find myself. My account will be overtly Heideggerian for the most part, insofar as the potentiality for breakdown be it with tangible t ools, such as hammers, or intangible tools such as language can be described as a feature of my interfacing with the world. What I will
198 fact, as I will claim more strongly, our embodied subjectivity is always caught up in gendered identity, much like entirely decouple. 6. 2 (Ex)Change Artists and Bodily Queering unlike any other it has hosted. The French surgica l artist, Orlan, has reconstructed her face in order to resemble five separate computer images of famously beautiful women: Mona Lisa, Diana, Venus, Europa Psyche. She considered her surgeries to be part of the art and t herefore also part of the exhibit. Since the early 1970s, Orlan has experimented with her body as a means to weave beauty rmations in the Mayan and Olmques cultures, in 1998, she worked with Pierre Zoville to create several images and video installations based on her own surgically modified face and pictures with headdresses, facial implants, and piercings. Below are the ima ges from this project: Figure 6.1: The Many Faces of Orlan
199 Jay Prosser (1998) had the opportunity to ask Orlan questions, in particular about the ways in which her identity was maintained or lost throughout all the transformations. Because, as Orlan cl 41 one that she can peel off, restructure and resurface, it is a means of identification, but only loosely. It is an for the thin osmotic surface of being, its existence as interface, intercourse between Ponty extern ricky to understand, as that boundary between self and world so often shifts. This implies the continual transitioning of what we mean when we identify as this or that, juxtaposing ourselves against the other. about identity, Orlan went on to say 42 Prosser notes that on the one she (ex)changed her identity for another one but it was a female to female operation. that transsexuality is precisely a phenom sexual identity generally cannot be relegated to the surface of the skin, as we do not 41 The Guardian 2, 8. 42 Personal communication cited by Prosser (1998), 61.
200 locate sex any one place on that surface (i.e. it is not just genital), nor do we find sexual identity by looking at all of th at surface; indeed, much of sexual identification has to do as problematizing the very idea that we can ever look exclusively to the body and hope to ascertain true identity, sexual or otherwise. as suggesting identity is beyond the skin, internal to it, or is altogether no where the point remains that her art queers the boundaries be tween artist and artwork. This line between the artist as she is seen through her artwork i.e. an externally constituted subjectivity internal or experienced subjectivity is thereby also blurred in body As she desc Another artist who plays with bodily boundaries in a similar manner, although his no artist, Stelarc. Probably best 81), wherein a robotic arm is attached to control and move it about, Stelarc has since conti nued to expand and invade the flesh. In a particular biological body is no longer m eaningful. What it means to be human is being Perhaps taking this interpretation a bit further, he maintains that the skin is a means of identifying ourselves and o thers, but claims that it is not the constancy of the flesh that
201 makes us who we are so much as its transformative potential. It is through the alterations to know our true identities qua present) highlights the way in which a seemingly rigid structure the auditory system turns out to be much more malleable and transitory than we might have thought. By using skin ex tenders, his own living cells, microphones, and transmitters, he has implanted an just to Stelarc himself, but to others as well. He has designed it such that the tr ansmitters would be in his mouth, allowing for only he to hear what his third ear hears, unless he opens his mouth, in which case, the sound will come out of his mouth and be audible for nearby persons. Eventually however, he hopes to have it connected wir elessly to the internet so he can transmit what he is hearing through his third ear in Sydney, can be heard by a friend online who is physically in Prague. incorporating audio visual co 43 person. All of this would be possible because of a mini projector hung around the neck, wirelessly transmitting to a cell phone (which could always stay in the pocket) with internet access, and a blue tooth enabled ear set. Upon scanning an image of, say, an approaching frien d, the face recognition technology coupled with a linked database of information could conceivably project onto the surface of said companion important 43 P. Maes, P. Mistry. Unveiling the "Sixth Sense," game changing wearable tech. TED 2009. Long Beach, CA, USA 2009
202 information such as his/her name, birthday, even a link to his/her facebook profile. These developments, detaching artist from art, human from machine, and self from world, is not a matter of tracing the surface of the skin. The underlying philosophical importance to all of this, claims Stelarc, is that it reveals the importance of the body in understanding human cognition on the one hand, while uch importance in marking us as individual humans, is not merely a conglomeration of flesh, bones, and lways been coupled with the evolutionary development of the body. Technology is what defines being human. It's not an antagonistic alien sort of object, it's part of our human nature. It constructs our 5). This view is reminiscent of
203 These extreme vers ions of human+tool+art intertwining seen in the work of Stelarc and Orlan serve to illustrate several important points about embodiment, which in First, it should be as they are themselves not so easily distinguished and often become intermingled in each other. Etymologically, they have similar base meanings a skill, technique, or craft knowledge, much like the Greek word, and in terms of the products created by artistic or technological know how, it is often difficult to determine whether the objects technology, it is difficult to tease apart the tool or instrument itself from the skillful use of it. Architecture, for example, if done well, achieves a seamless blending of function and as mu ch artwork as they are technology. In the case of dance, it is even more difficult to separate tool use from the tool itself product and the process. Similarly, in The Question Concerning Technology ( 1977), that occurs in and among the fine arts can also shed light on the essence of technology. The two are united, he claims in the ancient Greek conception of (339) and yet they rem ain conceptually distinct: Because the essence of technology is nothing technological, essential reflection upon technology and decisive confrontation with it must happen in a realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the essence of technology and, on the other, fu ndamentally different from it. Such a realm is art [1977; 340].
204 Heidegger poi nts out that the nature of technology is not to be found in something technological To be sure, tangible tools such as hammers and computers count as part of what we mean by the l framework. As Stephen Kline (1985) concurs, technology is not limited to this conceptions, in which technology might be treated as: A Sociotechnical System of Manufact ure: wherein technology is not limited to the tools it produces, but includes the entire system of production its elf the tools needed to make the tools, so to speak, the machinery, the persons involved in production, and so forth. A Knowledge or Kn ow How: similar to the ancient Greek conception of here, technology refers to the information and skills necessary to produce tools or artifacts. A Sociotechnical System of Use: ns of hardware and people (and usually other elements) to accomplish tasks that humans cann ot perform unaided by such systems 18]. To illustrate this last version, Kline cites military weapons as an example of hardware that is necessarily caught up in a system of use for the purpose of inflicting harm upon the enemy, which is undoubtedly enhanced by weaponry a system that is itself only understood in the larger context of conflict among persons and nations. In this way, the when we larger system of use in which it plays a part, but the weapon has no meaning as a piece of technology without that larger context. Thus, the production of mil itary weapons goes far
205 beyond the individual guns, grenades, and tanks that are manufactured. Likewise, art is not just about the product, but also the process and of course, the processor (artist). Examples that help illustrate this fact can be found easi ly in the performing arts dance, being done but even within the realm of fine arts, artists such as Pollock have argued that painting is just as much process as product indeed painting is both a noun and a verb. What both art and technology share therefore is an ambiguity in meaning, between thing and process, creator and created. In other words, art and technology are hybrids mixes of tools, tool users, actions, objects, and information systems Another point behind these examples that is both crucial to my overarching argument and more contentious: the fine line between art and technology, which is also a e of process and object, partial identities, and boundary transgressions. By this I mean that when we closely examine the melding of art and technology, particularly evident in where and who without referencing and relying upon the tools otherwise thought to be other to our Stelarc, we have encountered numerous examples about how embodiment goes beyond the body, and because embodiment is a necessary constituent of cognitive subjectivity, pointing to myself is always going to supersede my body. This is also evident if we consider again the way embodiment often involves forming a body image, a pict ure of the body in one sense, but a picture of the body as a woman as able bodied, or as not at home with itself. These images we form of who and what we are as embodied beings, I
206 want to claim, necessarily invoke technological mediation. In other words, embodiment is always already technological, as Stelarc and Clark claim. However, there are reasons to disagree with this version of embodiment as always already coupled to technology. For instance, if we treat the body too much like any other tool, we migh t overlook the very important sense in which the body, unlike other tools, functions both as tool and as user. I will address some of these concerns and in so doing, will refine further the conception of impossible. 6. 3 Hard and Soft, Opaque and Transparent: Technology Above and Below the Radar It is not only painful to undergo surgical modification in the ways Stelarc and Orlan do; it is expensive, time consuming, an d perhaps, one might even argue, a waste of resources. More importantly, to use such extreme body modification practices as do not engage in these practices. Indeed, t he very thought of doing so is often repulsive. seems that the only element of human nature revealed by these excessive bodily transfigurations is that we are much mo rarely, if ever, are so coupled to machinery and artwork. modification in a broader, less extreme context. Take tattooing and pie rcing for example. A recent Harris poll 44 indicated that as of 2003, 16% of a least one tattoo, while 36% of those aged 25 29 years have at least one. As for piercings, 44 http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_facts.htm
207 e earlobes. One of the earliest forms of body modification, ear piercing, is so commonplace, it is not even considered in studies of 45 Ear piercings, nonetheless, just like any other body modification practice, can and do signal status, sexuality, achievement, and willingness to take risk, just as much as any other body art. In a different but related vein, consider plastic surgery. In 2002, there were 6.6 million procedures carried out in the U.S. and the American Soci ety for Plastic Surgeons estimates that by 2015, 17% of all Americans will have sought plastic surgery. 46 It is more difficult than one might think in fact, to find someone who has not altered the contours of their flesh with metal, ink or implants. If we i nclude things like earrings, navel rings, hair waxing, and dental procedures such as braces and whitening, it becomes nearly impossible. While the reasons for altering the body are vast and complex, in one way or another, piercing, tattooing, and surgical transformation mark the body as belonging to this or that type, class, culture, race, gender, or group. Modifying the body to fit within a certain limit of acceptable appearance or modifying it so as to not to fit within a particular group, in cases such tattooing the body to mark oneself as not part of a gang (although, in both cases just mentioned, the body modification, while excluding a person from one group, simultaneously includ es them in another) is the same sort of practice, regardless of the extremes to which it is taken. In other words, if we are talking simply about the attempt to locate oneself in a particular social group or to mark oneself as being this or that kind 45 http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2006/06/tattoos.html 46 http://www.livescience.com/health/080624 plastic surgery.html
208 of An immediate response to all of this is to argue that while common, these practices do not actu ally imply that who and what we are is essentially artistically and remains an organic compound of flesh and bone, all other accoutrement being optional add ons. I will table this particular concern for a moment and redirect the discussion to revisit Otto and his notebook, for instance, we might reason that cognition is always dependant o n some sort of coupling with external tools. Indeed, while Otto is only a thought experiment, his kind is not so fictional, it turns out. Clark (2003) recounts a story of stepping onto a crowded subway car and noticing that while all of the people on the t rain were physically there because they were so immersed in cell phone conversations, it was as if a part of them were not there In a real sense, our technologies today allow us to be at a dinner party, or, as Clark (2003) suggests, on a crowded subway, and see that our phone, it seems as though cognitive presence often has little to do with the physical tools we use, especially tools like the internet, which allow for telepresent communication, synchronous chatting across the globe, and video conferencing. Sw itch the focus yet again to the way these tools, as Kline (1985) put it, extend human
209 tacts and friends. Even the more Luddite types among us are likely unable to compute large sums without the aid of pencil and paper. As I argued in Chapter 2, this fact suggests that cognition is not occurring entirely within the confines of the skull brai n, and while this conclusion may still be debatable, the idea that we simply cannot perform certain to know where we are and where we are going. Again, however, it might be objected that not all of us are so dependent on tools for thinking and thus, what it is to be human does not imply a technologically constituted being. If we are only considering specific types of technologies then this might be so. According to recent data, 47 int ernet access. Estimates concerning phone use are not unanimous, with some studies indicating that 70% have not. 48 Either way, it stands to reason that the technologies I have prevalent. However, I intend to maintain that embodiment not simply the body and not simply the mind but the embodied mind is always technological, and I think th at if we reconsider the various types of technology and their relationships to embodiment, I can 47 http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm 48 See for example: http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/irwp/events/braga_presentation/sld005.htm as well as a full discussion at http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=20411 T he more taken from Hayles, K. (2002).
210 convince the reader that this is so. The interweaving of the tangible and intangible in sociotechnical systems of use such as gender, body art, and so forth, r emind us that technology has at least two distinct dimensions. I have so far referred to these levels as the tangible and intangible, while others (cf. Sullivan, 2002) have discussed technology ere are technologies that we at are oftentimes much farther below the conscious radar, such as practical know how. I can use the university as a means to achieve status in my career, e.g. but, these tools, if they are to be conceived as such, are inextricably tied to the know how associated with using them. In other words, it makes no sense to talk about them as tools, without the correlated involved. Because of this ambiguity, it is often difficult to separate tool from tool use, and it is also as technological, because they become so assimilated into I want to argue that w techn considered technological in any way, the social institution of gendering serves as a tool for classification, identific As we saw in Chapter 4, the body image which accompanies envisioning myself as this or that gender can actually change the way I comport myself toward the world and the ease or difficulty with w hich I accomplish bodily tasks. Being a woman i.e. having the know how or or being a man, are not constant constituents of embodiment we can slide between and among them and
211 as such, according to o ur imaginary objector above, these modes of embodiment should not be part of who we essentially are, and yet, as I have argued, it is impossible to not be gendered in some way or another. I suggest that gendering is a necessary soft technology that constit utes who and what we are as cognitive subjects at a given time, one that is eminently mutable, but constantly present, in one form or another. Since gender as soft technology might not be a convincing idea yet, we can back up a few paces to the original c phenomenological distinction, one that serves to illustrate an important facet of embodiment generally. We have already discussed ways in which the body image and the body schema operate at substantially different levels of awareness. My body image is often a conscious representation of my self that I can use to manipulate my actual body in performing an action, while my body schema simply acts, without thought as it were, since it is a pre reflective motor program. These levels of awareness, one reflective, and the other pre reflective as Gallagher and Zahavi (2008) term them, are important to consider because as it turns out, most of my everyday movements and embodied actions are executed pre reflectively ; that is, I do not form an explicit and reflective image of myself in order to walk t o the fridge and grab a beer. It is only in cases of bodily breakdown, such as in a disruption of ownership or agency found in persons with Unilateral Neglect or Anarchic Hand Syndrome or in cases of non pathological embodiment such as hiking a new trail or tightrope walking for the first time that the body must be reflected upon and utilized as an image for manipulation. This distinction
212 between pre reflective versus reflective use also applies to the tools we use and dovetails nicely with the differen the transparency and opacity of a tool adds a phenomenological element to the story; namely, the distincti on maps how we can incorporate a tool seamlessly into our bodies minds whilst using it, but can also reflect on that very relationship and detach ourselves from our tools, taking them as things that are not us. As Clark (2003) notes, some examples of opaqu e technologies might be things like computers, cars, cameras, hammers, and the like while transparent technologies, such as a well functioning cochlear implant or a well incorporated prosthesis, are relatively invis i ble. However, what we consider to be a hard technology can easily become invisible, and likewise, soft technologies can and do become opaque. It is thus, my relation to these tools that determines their opacity or transparency. A car, typically thought to invisibility if I am so accustomed to driving it, or moreover, if the road I am traveling is relati following (I + tool) + world, wherein the parentheses indicate a unified subject acting in the world. Pre reflectively, therefore, technology can and often does show up as transp hammers, cars, ch as gender can show up as present at hand, and distinctly other to me.
213 For the dissenter who will now claim that despite all of this, we can still retreat into our physical bodies and can still think, act, and move about without incorporating technologi es into our pre reflective awareness, consider that soft technologies, by definition, already (i.e., before we have a chance to decide about it) show up as transparent to us. Even the most Luddite of humans, or the person living in a third world country wi thout phones, books, or even shoes, has access to one of the most invisible and pre reflectively incorporated technologies in existence. Clark (2003) claims that the ultimate artifact humans have created is language, and while I tend to agree, I want to be 6. 4 The Ultimate Artifact When I ask my students to name some of their favorite tech nologies, rarely do I variety, which Kline (1985) describes as one form of technology cell phones, computers, microwave ovens. Nevertheless, if I press the students on the idea that not all technologies are tangible hard or opaque it quickly becomes evident that language must in some way count as a technology. But what kind? Clark (1998) has referred to Natura l Born Cyborgs (2003) that our ability to use language was likely an important factor in our learning to design all sorts of other tools or idea in words, we create a new object upon wh ich to direct our critical attention. Instead of just having thoughts about the world, we can then make those very thoughts
214 opens up a space for metacognition When we ca n think about our thinking, we can then offload mental tasks onto external objects, thereby freeing up space for our brains to solve other problems. The first and perh aps still most effective means of such delegation memory space. Language mi means to include hardware and as such, language is not really a sociotechnical system of use bec ause after all, not every language has a written form, and certainly there is no hardware. Humans are the ones who utter, write, reproduce, recreate, and modify langua outward manifestations of our biological reason, we may find whole edifices of thought and reason accreting only courtesy of the stable structures provided by words and tex (82). In other words, on this view, language is not just an extension of our already cognitively adept minds it is often what creates cognition. Being caught up in language, we rarely consider that it is also a type of knowledge or know how, a means of relating to the world in a particular way. In this sense, we might see language as potentially hardware, in the form of books, for example, but it is also productive In f act, it can even
215 be made into art literature, poetry, and song its uses. Thus, his list provides an excellent example of how such a taxonomy is really only a conceptual distinction among components that are i n reality, inextricably linked and moreover, not exhaustive of all the possible modes of technological production, know how, and interfacing. language is unique and allows for some important insights regarding our disti nctively cyborg nature, according to Clark (2003). As an example consider language in relation to another soft technology gender. The ways of cognitively economizing the world language) that work together to enhance who we are and of what we are capable. Who we are and what we can achieve are not fixed identities, however. Just as language itself is an evolving proce ss, so too are we. This is perhaps what is most claims that cyborgs are human+artifact couplings, which seems at least to imply two elements, a human and its technology, bu t on the other hand, he says: No single tool among this complex kit is intrinsically thought ful, ultimately in control, or just are these shifting ntinuously ope n to change and driven to leak through the confines of skin and skull, annexing more a nd more nonbiological elements as aspects of the machinery of mind itself [2003; 137].
216 This latter interpretation of what it means to be a cyborg is mo naked, pre in transition from one coalition to the next. And to further complicate matters, what defines something as a coalition is itself a shifting identity. Indeed, there are strange consider the rat her odd example from Chapter 2, wherein a CEO and her and the shifting as semblages of tools that comprise us are so malleable need not imply that meaningful cognitive subjectivity is impossible, however. In discussing identity, Prosser (1998) makes a similar claim, namely that although this transitory notion of selfhood can be discomforting, one cannot deny its legitimacy in being that which ). As we saw concerning transsexual identity in Chapter 5, it is not simply a matter narratives who claim to be someone independent of their bodies ntity one must look beyond the body itself, namely to embodiment. In so doing, we found that body images, the products of socially informed norms and ideals, are a large part of what particularly, urprising that if our ultimate tool language is constructed so as to categorize us as either/or, male/female,
217 feminine/masculine that we will naturally construct body images that follow suit. In the that might be otherwise fluid. The very dichotomy of biological and non biological is one constructed by the sociotechnical system of biology and through the larger discourse of scientific practice. Science, it may be argue endlessly taxonimizes, categorizes, sets up boundaries, and makes static and stable that amendment to the hypothesis of Exte nded Cognition (HEC), the HOC organism centered cognition the non biological arsenal of technology as another. Furthermore, by centering cognition on this part of the coalition, it allows for a hint of homuncularism to sneak its way back into the story. But, if this is just one among countless ways of carving up the world and our relationship to it one that is a contingent fact of our sociotechnological system of science there is no reason to think that it might not be better explained in some other fashion. I do not mean to suggest that we do away with all of biological science in order to more fully capture what it means to be human. What I am arguing however, is that while la nguage is an ultimate technology by which we construct and are constructed, one which often expands our cognitive capacities and makes us better thinkers, it is not always such a clearly beneficial tool. It can and often does blind us to the very transitor y nature that humans as shifting coalitions of tools leaves out one of the most important tools of all that shapes who we are and what we think we can do. Quite simpl y, it overlooks the
218 difference between the scientifically idealized biological sex which is supposed to and cyborg sex, which is just as messy, leaky, and transitory as any other soft assemblage. Bio logy constructs bodies as stable entities opposed to the non biological world. As well, the language of science constructs sexual identity as 1) a necessary component of the body and 2) necessarily dualistic. While I have argued that (1) is an inescapable facet of who we think we are, (2) is hardly a necessity. (cf. Fausto Sterling, 2000; Hird, 2004).We do however, have a very difficult time thinking bodies outside the paradigm of sexual difference and this difference just happens to be one of duality. In fact, many of the dualisms afforded by language male/female, human/world, body/mind, us/our machines, sex/gender are technologies so transparent and intricately interwoven into our cognitive architecture, they often go unnoticed. By taking notice of th ese contingent dualities, however, and the role they play in shaping who and what we are, I think we might recognize our inherently cyborg natures. To do so however, we must examine another version of the cyborg that goes beyond the organism/tool binary. 6. 5 Cyborg Manifesto (1991) marks a pivotal point in feminist theory concerning technology. Continuing to insist, as she does elsewhere (1989), on the scienc Manifesto has inspired some of the founding texts in Transgender Studies, one of those being The Empire Strikes Back: A Post Transsexual Manifesto (1996), written by
219 analysis common to so many important trans texts (cf. Bornstein, 1998; Feinberg, 1992). Manifesto is a polit ically, culturally, metaphysically, and epistemologically charged text, interdisciplinary in its aims, and unfaithful to its origins. Much like the thing, and as a technolog y itself qua text comprehensive, line by line analysis of it. What I will offer is a look at some of the standard in terpretations (cf. Sullivan, 2001 Stone, 1991; Stryker, 2006) in the hopes of seminal essay. Doing so, I argue, will open up a space for seeing yet another implication of the Manifesto and how it reaches another discipline, something that has been entirely ignored. Queer Theory and Transgender Studies alike, as well as Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Mind have failed to recognize the much needed dialogue that can and should occur among these seemingly disparate areas of inquiry. There is no better text in which all of these disciplines converge a convergence that is, I argue, long overdue and absolutely necessary. While transgender embodiment is never explicitly mention ed, as Stryker and Whittle (2006) claim in their introduction to the Manifesto, 49 the cyborg has come to depict borderline bodies: positions discusses in detai l become sites for critical, cultural, political, and intellectual practice. 49 As part of the Transgender Studies Reader
220 Hence, weaving transgender and intersex embodiment into the story is, they claim, no difficult leap to make: Transgender and intersex figures have likew ise becom e politically charged sites of cultural struggle over the meaning of the human being and of being human in an increasingly technologized world [2006; 103]. Str yker and Whittle that is, the Cyborg Manifesto is about monstrous embodiment of all of her discussion concerning the chimerical nature of all human embodiment and therefore all human cognition offers up an important lesson for cognitive science and philosophy of mind. Unlike the two system. To be sure, her first pass at explicating cyborgs is to call them machine and organism hybrids, but she goes on to queer the rather sedimented ideal of hybrids as being necessarily composed of two parts. She begins by playing on some of the received dichotomies, in particular, that between fiction and reality. The monplace conception of science as the arbiter of reality, science is made into fiction and social relations are reality; and yet, social relations, as constructed, are also fictitious. Likewise, science is as much a social relation
221 as it is anything else a nd hence, it is both reality and fiction. Haraway claims that the between human and machine, human and animal, and mind and body. What usually marks a machine is, for one, that it was made by us ; however, as we have seen, machines are constructed so as to be seamlessly incorporated into our embodiment, such that they become transparent, invisible even. Furtherm being a mix of human and technology hovers som ewhere between concrete, organic organism and intangible, cybernetic information. perhaps the most insidious of all, and is yet tacitly evoked, even in the most deconstruc tive of analyses. Namely, there is a supposed distinction between nature and culture, of bel struggles with its own myth In other words, to belong to a class of monsters is to count monsters as a sort of kind ; and monstrous figures fall under one totalizing type. As Haraway (1992) argues elsewhere, Who am I? is about (always unrealizable) identity; always wobbling it st ill pivots on the that is an inherently
222 more open question, one always ready for contingent, friction generating articulations. It is a remonstrative question (324). Furthermore, to posit m already to assume a juxtaposed category of non monster. Just as Stryker (2006) and Butler (2004) argue that monsters establish the limits of what counts as normal, it works the other way around as well what we call normal, nat ural, and not queer work to establish that which does not get to be included among those borders. Hence, even the distinction between monstrous and normal is one in which the two opposed identities natural and unnatural are themselves neither entirely real, nor entirely mythical. As effect both fiction and fact of a reproductive optics, of historically and culturally specific technologies (humanism, equality feminism, radical feminism, and so on) 50 dissociable. In fact, Haraway claims, we are coupled systems is slightly misleading because they are never really de coupled, not even in imagination. On the other hand a cyborg is by definition a hybrid, a chimera, so it is not a simple and undifferentiated being either. This helps explain the rather curious passage we find in the Cyborg Manifesto: To be One is to be autonomous, to be powerful, to be God; but to be O ne is to be an illusion, and so to be involved in a dialectic of apocalypse w ith the other. Yet to be other is to be multiple, without clear boundary, frayed, insubsta ntial. One is too few, but two are too many [1989; 177]. 50 http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=83
223 For Haraway, encoding the se lf as one that transcends the dualisms of inner/outer, socialist feminists must adopt in order to finally escape the demining identity politics plaguing feminism generall y. This is an explicitly intended aim of her work. In addition among passages such as these, the convergence of Queer Theory, Transgender Studies, and Cognitive Science. The payoff of doing so, is, as I will argue in this final section, that we can achieve a more holistic understanding of embodied cognitive subjectivity, one that is aware of the co constitutive nature of minds and machines. 6. 6 The Sociotechnological H ybridization of Gender and the Construction of Human Nature Although the stated aims of adopting the image of the cyborg are, for Haraway, different than the intentions Clark (2003) has for thinking cognition as a hybrid of organism and machine, the over arching themes that emerge are not so far apart. Consider the question Haraway poses: Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include, at best other beings encapsulated by skin? [1991; 178]. Likewise, the original thesis of Extended Cognition (Clark and Chalmers, 1998) was that coupled to our technology, whether opaquely or tra nsparently. An always already embodiment the bodily cognitive comportment to and interaction with the world.
224 Moreover, we see the body as prop motif carried out in TGS and QT We are always acting out a gender or a sex. We might likewise say that for Clark, the cyborg is always performing as well. It is acting out the rol e of human In fact, it is other beings, such as those artificially constructed minds we saw in Chapter 1, fail to pass in this regard, continually falling short of meaningful environmental interaction and incorporation. In a similar vein, those of us who do not engage properly with the clothing, mannerisms, sexuality, and even linguistic cues, the are desubjugated pushed to the margins, or even beyond the bounds of comprehensibility. We find therefore, an underlying theme running through each of these movements separated fro m our tools. Nevertheless, as I have argued in the previous sections, Haraway goes a step further than Clark by subverting even the coupling of human and imagination, and in other practice, machines can be prosthetic devices, intimate body image formed by transsexuals and how this imagined being conjures up a body that goes beyond the l iteral body i.e. the embodiment of this coupling that the relationship between human and machine is a contrived one echoes the idea that even in our imagined embodiment, we are always already hybridized. Thus, even though we find simila r claims being made by philosophers of mind like Clark, Queer Theorists
225 such as Sullivan, and Transgender Theorists like Stryker that being human, being female, being male, and so forth are all technologically mediated modes of subjectivity nowhere amo ng these texts do we find it stated as strongly as Haraway presents it. Coupling is too much focused on the duality of machine and organism, and the notion of a literal versus figurative or normal versus monstrous subjectivity also relies too heavily on a dualism that, according to Haraway, will always fail to capture the truly fluid nature of cyborg identity. Hence, she claims: it to be animated, worshipped, and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they d o not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they [1991; 180]. decoupling is always a possibility, such that there is always a naked, non my tools. To be sure, some tools hard technologies, like ce llphones and prosthetics can and do get detached from our bodies, but this does not imply that all technologies are so easily decoupled, nor does it entail that is possible to be embodied in an entirely non technological way As perplexing as this pass exemplifies the very confounding nature of being human which, as we have seen so far, through such a view, in other words, still treats technology itself as detachable, non
226 us. The nature of techno logy is not simply that it is a means by which we come to understand ourselves it is in a very real sense who we are. And yet, to fully understand consumption, and mos t importantly its bodily incorporation, a comprehension which can only take place through technological mediation. This circularity makes it difficult to talk about a body, a self, or an individual as detached or decoupled. Attempting to imagine such a bei ng only propels one into conceiving yet another technologically mediated always a matter of my involvement in or with some sort of sociolinguistic context (and assembled gathering of both hard and soft technologies; and embodied subjectivity is always already sociotechnologically hybridized. In terms of sexed and gendered embodiment, as we have seen, these are inextricable modes of imag ining our bodies and ourselves and yet, much like what Clark claims of cognition generally, these aspects of our embodiment are not skin skull bound. Neither are sex and gender wholly other not the kind of hardware from which we can more readily detach. Instead, sex and gender hardware, pro duction, and utilization. To be female, male, transsexual, gay, straight, or any other type of human just is to be hybridized in this way; in other words, to be caught c oupling of machine and organism so much as a hybrid a being that transcends wholeness, refuses duality as its only possible subjectivity, and yet remains constantly
227 chimerical. More importantly, as was discussed earlier, being a cyborg means dispensing o i.e. us qua human, women, q ueers, and so forth contingent, friction as a stable or category is, to articulate Merleau re it necessary. As Butler also claims, while reproduction is a mode of copying, the will never be whole, but will instead always be in performance transitioning from this ion is stable gender identity is put forth by transgender theorists like Judith Halberstam (1995), who argue, like Haraway, for the simultaneous universality and categorical non existence of transsexuality: We are all transsexuals except that the referent of the trans becomes less and less clear (and more and more queer). We are all cross dressers but where are we crossing from or no na tural divide to be spanned by surgery, by disguise, by passing. We all pass or we d [1995; 212]. The phenomenon of passing, according to Halberstam, implies that the notion of transitioning from one sex to the other i s not a matter of finally arriving somewhere and resting there. We are always performing, always trying to pass, and as such, transition is
228 (1998) interpret Halbers R no stable where to which all of us who are transitioning are traveling, it makes little sense to differentiate between the static (or non trans) and the transsexual when talking about sex and gender. Each time any of us passes as this or that identity, which is every time in other words, to be denoted by a personal pronoun, captured by inclusion in a unified group, or la beled as a particular gender or sex we obscure this transitory nature of identity. It appears as a necessary, static, and unitary category. Nevertheless, even as Clark (2003) d human expanding and altering, albeit organism centered phenomenon. Although he does not fully realize the ramifications of his position for cognitive subjectivity, in particular, in terms of gendered bound and are always incorporating, exploiting, constituting and constituted by our tools, is an essential step to take in lessons we have gleaned from Queer Theory and Transgender Studies. Hence, rather than take these boundary blurs as a hindrance to any productive research in cog comprehensive and interdisciplinary story about the meaning of being human. It is a story of the soci
229 ourselves as otherwise, and to be otherwise, and frees the mind from the confines of a boundary that has been artificially erected. Once this boundary is usurped, as Clark claim creatures whose minds are special precisely because they are tailor made for multiple mergers and coalitions (2003; 7, emphasis original).
230 Conclusion: Post Cyborgs? The prec eding project has attempted to draw together two otherwise disparate areas of inquiry regarding cognition, embodiment, and subjectivity. By bringing into discourse philosophy of mind and feminist theory, I hope to have convinced you of at least these three things: The two seemingly unrelated fields have a lot more in common than might be assumed and therefore have a lot to offer each other Much of what the each field can do to supplement, improve upon, and even methodologically alter the other has been ove rlooked, an oversight that is hindering genuine progress in determining who, what, and where we are By focusing on the ways in which technology both in the form of hardware and software, such as gender is a constantly penetrating facet of our embodimen t, the cyborg is not only a fitting image to depict humanity, but it helps us overcome some of the traditional difficulties in explaining how the mind works, in what it is realized, how we ought to explain bodily pathologies, gender identity disorder, and above all, embodied subjectivity generally. In order to get to this last point in particular, I have provided an account of the last fifty years of failed attempts in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence to properly explain and replicate human thinking. It is not until theories such Extended Mind come into play that, as I argued in chapter 2, we biological bodies and brains. While these components are indeed important, and are most assuredly necessary causal constituents of cognitive subjectivity, it is better not to think of the b
231 Moreover, any story of who we are must, I argue, take account of our inherently sexed and g endered subjectivity. Like cognition, my sex and gender are not located in my body although the body remains an essential site for identification. Nevertheless, through the language being chief among them we can see, parti cularly do these terms pick out essentially the same process across time and location How we come to imagine our bodies and ourselves as sexed and gendered subjects an achievement made possible only through the coupling of our biological bodies to the will in turn shape the way we think and h ow our embodied interactions take place. Above all, I think my project furthers an idea Clark (2007) put forth, when he said optimistic that we will soon see the end of those over used and mostly ad rporating sexed and gendered embodiment into this as cyborgs does introduce it s own set of difficulties in terms of delimiting, as Rupert (2004) points out, precisely what the subject of cognitive science ought to be. As I hope I have shown however, first, we cannot reject a proposal simply because it forces us to consider just how complex the phenomenon in question is, and second, by examining what goes into making us cognitive subjects, all signs point toward a messy, biomechanical, gender queered, linguistic, and sociotechnological hybrid of a being.
232 Taking seriously this cyborg i mage of who we are and using it to go beyond current theories of embodied subjectivity both in philosophy and gender studies is, I suggest, the
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