Theory & Social Science

Agamben, Giorgio. The Open: Man and Animal.  Trans. Kevin Attell. Stanford: Stanford University, 2004.

In this work, contemporary Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben examines the question of human-animal distinctions. He is interested in looking at how Western thought has privileged humans as a superior type of animal, and how this Western construction has far-reaching implications.

Allen, Colin and Wallach, Wendell. “Moral Machines: Contradiction in Terms or Abdication of Human Responsibility?” Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. Ed. Patrick Lin, Keith Abney and George A. Bekey. MIT Press, 2014.

In this work, Allen and Wallach ask the question of if robots and computer systems (AI) can make moral decisions, and what are the implications of these decisions?

Badmington, Neil. Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.

Badmington seeks to explore how posthumanism functions in our current age where the boundaries of the human and the non-human are problematized. In order to do this, he traces a cultural history of the alien from the 1950s onward in order to map how our attitudes have shifted from fear to affection.

— ed. Posthumanism. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2000.

This book asks the question of “what is posthumanism and why does it matter?”. It seeks to give an introduction to the concept of posthumanism by looking at several concepts such as the humanist notion of humanity’s natural supremacy, humanity’s relationship to technology, it’s relationship to politics, and what all of this could mean for us.

Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Illuminations. Ed and Trans. Hannah Arendt. London: Fontana, 1968.

In this essay, Benjamin argues that the mechanical reproduction of art lessens its value, or, “aura”. In this age of mass production and mechanical reproduction (Benjamin was writing during the Nazi regime), it is important to have a theory of art that deals with envisioning a revolutionary political praxis because this particular type of artistic production has become something firmly grounded in political action.

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NJ: Duke University Press, 2010.

In this work, Bennett argues that we need to shift our focus in political theory from being human-centric in order to encompass the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Agency does not belong only to humans, and this is important to recognize so that we can begin to formulate a more inclusive political theory of ecology

Bergson, Henri. Creative Evolution. Trans. Arthur Mitchell. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1911.

Written at the beginning of the 20th century, Creative Evolution is Bergson’s response to Darwin’s theory of evolution wherein he suggests orthogenesis – the biological hypothesis that organisms have an innate tendency to evolve in a definite direction towards some goal (teleology) due to some internal mechanism or driving force – as an alternative.

Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology: or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

In this work, Bogost seeks to develop a metaphysics that explores the interactions, connections, and experiences of all things. He does this by beginning with an “object-oriented” ontology where things are privileged as being the focus of being, and by “being” he is referring to a way of thinking where all things possess the same level of existence. In this way, he seeks to move from the Western notion of the human being the focus of philosophical thinking and reason and to instead examine the relationality and beingness of these different things

Bostrom, Nick. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Bostrom examines the event of machines gaining superintelligence and what this would spell out for humanity. He argues that if machine intelligence (brains) is able to surpass that of its human counterparts, then humans will inevitably be replaced as the dominant species on Earth. Due to the exponential rate at which this new superintelligence would be able to improve itself and develop, a Terminator or Matrix-esque end would be in store for humanity.

Brynjolfsson, E. and A. McAfee. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. New York: WW Norton, 2014.

This work examines how our lives and work are being altered by digital technologies. Examples such as Google’s self-driving cars or IBM’s Watson showcase how we can already develop technology that can mimic and even surpass human equivalents. This advancing technology will herald a new age of prosperity, interconnection, availability of information, but most of all, social change. This book seeks to treat this question of uncertainty in an optimistic way by proposing strategies by which we can keep up with and prosper from these changes already taking place.

Calo, Ryan, M. “Robots and Privacy.” Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. Ed. Patrick Lin, Keith Abney and George A. Bekey. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

In this article, Calo explores the different ways in which our increasing concerns about privacy in this technological age can be addressed. Calo specifically looks at the ways in which robots add to our anxiety regarding privacy because robots are perfectly equipped with their superior technology and processing power to monitor people at all times. These concerns are then examined in regard to the current state of privacy law, and how there are many instances in which robotics could easily circumvent this.

Campbell, Timothy C. Improper Life: Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

In this book, Campbell poses the question, “Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics?” By this, he is asking if biopolitics has become obsessed with the study of death. The origin of this in modern thought can be traced back to Heidegger, in whose work, specifically his critique of technology, there is a “crypto-thanatopolitics” that can be found. In order to correct this, Campbell suggests a new theorization of a biopolitics that, instead of Heidegger, begins with Foucault, Freud, and Deleuze.

Christian, Brian. The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive. New York: Doubleday, 2011.

In this work, Christian is interested in exploring what it means to be human, and how our interactions with each other and with computers inform notion. He looks at the nature of human interactions, the meaning of language, and the questions that arise when faced with machines who possess a far greater processing ability than we do.

Clark, Andy. Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.

In this work, Clark is interested in examining foundational questions relating to how the brain, body, and the world are all interconnected. He brings this back to an analysis on the emerging sciences of robotics and AI through an interrogation of the tools and techniques that will be needed to make sense of them in our current age.

—. Natural Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Moving away from the traditional Western narratives of the cyborg is something to be feard, Clark argues that we should not fear them because we are already cyborgs. This has been accomplished through our ability to so fully incorporate tools into our existence – more so than other species, which is also what sets humans apart. This work examines the different ways that technologies have been thus incorporated into our lives, and the different ways these incorporations have effected adaptations within humanity.

Clarke, Arthur C. Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible (1962). London: Pheonix, 2000.

Based on a series of essays penned by Clarke 1959 and 1961, this work is interested not as much in speculated achievements but rather with “ultimate possibilities”. Clark expounds upon a number of grand ideas concerning the future of humanity and lists various examples of spectacular futurity, not with the strict purpose of saying, “this is what will be”, but rather to say, “this is what could be”.

David-Floydl, R. and J. Dumit, eds. Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots. Routledge, 1998.

The work is interested in exploring the ways in which children in this age of technological ubiquity are rendered as cyborgs precisely by this technoculture. More specifically, it raises questions about reproduction and how this process is influenced by technological processes and what this then means for humanity.

Deitch, Jeffrey, ed. Post Human. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 1992.

The work looks at how we as a species are developing into a posthuman state through various technological means such as genetic engineering or body alterations. Contemporary images from a wide variety of artists are utilized in order to explore this emergent posthuman state and the implications therein.

DeLanda, Manuel. War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. New York: Zone Books, 1991.

In this work, DeLanda examines the relationship of technology and weapons, and how advances in computing, AI, surveillance, and robotics have made for increasingly efficient and deadly weapons in warfare. However, he takes his analysis further by looking at the historical shift this advancement harkens; an advancement that, for him, is indicative a paradigm shift with humans’ relationality to machines and information.

Dennett, Daniel. Consciousness Explained. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 1991.

This monumental work challenges the hitherto accepted theory of consciousness by arguing for a new model of consciousness. Dennett draws inspiration for this new model from fields such as AI and robotics, medicine and neuroscience, and psychology.

Derrida, Jacques.  The Animal That Therefore I Am. Trans. David Wills. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.

Based upon a lecture given by Derrida to the Carisy Conference in 1997, this work poses a series of challenging questions concerning the nature of human ontology, animal ethics, and the difference (and similarities) between humans and animals.

—. The Gift of Death & Literature in Secret. Trans. David Wills. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

In this work, Derrida critically considers religion and questions surrounding it relating to the limits of rational thought and about the ethics of accepting death in different forms i.e. murder, suicide, execution. Part of his exegesis focuses on questions drawn from Bible about the sacrifice of Isaac and the flood in Genesis to consider questions of divine sovereignty and its implications.

—. Dissemination. Trans. Barbara Johnson.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

This work is primarily concerned with exploring the relationality between literature, philosophy, and language in a Western context.

—. Writing and Difference.  Trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge, 1978.

Descartes, Rene. A Discourse on Method: Meditations and Principles. Trans. John Veitch. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1912.

Dobrin, Sidney, ed. Ecology, Writing Theory, and New Media: Writing Ecology. New York: Routledge, 2011.

— and Sean Morey, eds. Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, Nature. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009.

Donath, Judith. The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online. MIT Press. 2014.

Dunn, T.P. and R.D. Erlich, eds. The Mechanical God: Machines in Science Fiction. Westport Connecticut: Greenwood, 1982.

Dyer-Witheford, N. Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex. London: Pluto Press, 2015.

Feenberg, A. Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revisited. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2002.

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage Books, 1973.

Franchi, Stefano, and Güzeldere Güven, eds. Mechanical Bodies, Computational Minds: Artificial Intelligence from Automata to Cyborgs. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 2005.

Fukuyama, Francis. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.

Gray, C. H., ed. The Cyborg Handbook. New York: Routledge, 1995

Grebowicz, Margret and Helen Merrick. Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway. New York: Columbia UP, 2013.

Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991.

—. “From Cyborgs to Companion Species: People, Dogs and Technoculture.” Sept. 16, 2003. Lecture presented by The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

—. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan_Meets_OncoMouse. New York: Routledge, 1997.

—. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

Hayles, Katherine N. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

—. “Afterword: The Human in the Posthuman.” Posthumanism 53 (2003): 134-137.

—. My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

—. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

—. Writing Machines. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002.

Halberstram, Judith and Ira Livingston, eds. Posthuman Bodies. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995.

Heidegger, Martin. “The Question Concerning Technology.” Basic Writings. Ed. David Krell. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993.

Hudson, Laura. “The Political Animal: Species-Being and Bare Life.” Mediations 23, 2 (2008): 88–117.

Hughes, James. Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. Westview Press, 2004.

Kakoudaki, Despina. Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People. Rutgers University Press, 2014

Kadoudaki, Despina. “Studying Robots, Between Science and the Humanities.” The International Journal of the Humanities, 5:8 (Dec. 2007): 165-182.

Kang, Minsoo. Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination. Harvard University Press. 2011.

Kelly, Kevin. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines. London: Fourth Estate, 1994.

Lanier, Jared. You Are Not A Gadget. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2010.

—. Who Owns The Future. San Jose, CA: Simon & Schuster. 2013.

—. “The Myth of AI.” Edge.org. 14 Nov. 2014.

Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1991.

—. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1999.

—. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2004.

Latour, Bruno and S. Woolgar. Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts. London: Sage Publications, 1979.

Leist, Anton and Peter Singer, eds. J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 2010.

Lévy, Pierre. Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age. Trans. Robert Bononno. New York and London: Plenum, 1998.

Levy, Steven. Artificial Life. London: Jonathan Cape, 1992.

Lin, Patrick, K. Abney and G.A. Beckey (Eds). Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. MIT Press, 2014.

Lyotard, Jean François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Mason, Paul. 2015. PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mazis, Glen A. Humans, Animals, Machines: Blurring Boundaries. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.

McHugh, Susan. Animal Stories: Narrating Across Species Lines. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Menzel, Peter. F. and Faith D’Aluisio. Robo sapiens: Evolution of a New Species. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

Miburn, Colin.  “Nanotechnology in the Age of Posthuman Engineering: Science Fiction as Science.” Configurations 10 (2002): 261-295.

Mindell, David. Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy. New York: Viking. 2015.

Riskin, Jessica, ed. Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007.

Pettman, Dominic. Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines. Minneapolis: University Minnesota Press, 2011.

—. Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology. Hants, UK: Zero Books, 2013.

Richardson, K. An Anthropology of Robots and AI: Annihilation Anxiety and Machines. New York and London: Routledge, 2015.

Riskin, Jessica.Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life. U of Chicago Press.  2007.

Sharkey, Noel. “Killing Made Easy: From Joysticks to Politics.”  Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. Ed. Patrick Lin, Keith Abney and George, A. Bekey. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

Singer, Peter. “Reflections.” The Lives of Animals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1999.

Singer, Peter and Agata Sagan. “When Robots Having Feelings.” The Guardian, Monday 14 December 2009.

Shukin, Nicole. Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Spivak, Gayatri. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA: London, 2012.

Somerville, Margaret. The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit. Toronto and New York: Penguin Group, 2003.

Smith, Wesley J. A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. New York: Encounter Books, 2010.

Squier, Susan Merrill. Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine. Durham, NJ: Duke UP, 2004.

Richardson, Kathleen. An Anthropology of AI and Robots: Annihilation Anxiety and Machines. New York: Routledge. 2015.

Tegmark, Max. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.

Thacker, Eugene. After Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

—. The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

—. Biomedia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

— and Jeremijenko Natalie. Creative Biotechnology: A User’s Guide. Newcastle, UK: Locus+ Publishing, 2004.

Truitt, E.R. Medieval Robots Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2015.

Turkle, Sherry. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. New York: Penguin, 2015.

— . Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011.

— . The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

Voskuhl, Adelheid. Androids in the Enlightenment: Mechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self. U of Chicago Press. 2013.

Waldby, Catherine. The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine. London: Routledge, 2000.

Wallach, Wendell, and Colin Allen. Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. MIT Press. 1965.

Wiener, Norbert. The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society. Da Capo Press; Revised ed. edition (March 22 1988). 2008.

Westlake, Stian (Ed). Our Work Here Is Done: Visions of a Robot Economy. London: Nesta Foundation. 2014. Online Publication.

Wolfe, Cary. What is Posthumanism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

—. Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Wood, Gaby. Edison’s Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life. New York : Anchor. 2003.

Wosk, Julie. My Fair Ladies: Female Robots, Androids and Other Artificial Eves. New Brunswick, London, New York: Rutgers. 2015.

Yaszek, Lisa. The Self Wired: Technology and Subjectivity in Contemporary Narrative. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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