S&F_scienzaefilosofia.it (Dec 2014)


  • Palumbo, Serena

Journal volume & issue
no. 12
pp. 71 – 83


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This paper focuses on the history of the human‐ machine hybrid called cyborg, and its various connotations within the scientific world, throughout the second half of the Twentieth century. The first part recalls the origin of the term “cyborg”, invented as a contraction of cybernetic organism by Clynes and Kline, two scientists working for the NASA space program in 1960. Instead of creating earth‐like environments for the astronauts to live in, the authors propose to modify human biology in order to fit alien environments, giving the name cyborg to this hypothetical astronaut. The second half of the paper deals with the consequences of the technological and biotechnological revolutions, during the 80s and the 90s, in reference to the epistemological shift investing the human‐technology interactions. The debate about human enhancement, fueled by the advances in the biotechnological field, is dominated by two opposite sides: bioconservatives against transhumanists, both underlining the utter separation and opposition between human nature and technology. The cyborg, on the contrary, marks the merging between flesh and artifice; the paper tries to explore the possibilities suggested by the cyborg model, towards the fall of traditional ontological boundaries between human and non‐human entities, and a happy hybridization.