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By Sarah Kember

Cyberfeminism and synthetic existence examines the development, manipulation and re-definition of existence in modern technoscientific tradition. It takes a severe political view of the idea that of existence as info, tracing this in the course of the new biology and the discourse of genomics in addition to during the altering self-discipline of man-made existence and its manifestation in paintings, language, literature, trade and leisure. From cloning to desktop video games, and incorporating an research of undefined, software program and 'wetware', Sarah Kember extends present realizing via demonstrating the ways that this quite marginal box connects with, and connects up international networks of knowledge systems.Ultimately, this booklet goals to re-focus difficulty at the ethics instead of at the 'nature' of life-as-it-could-be.

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DNA molecules are replicators and they inhabit ‘survival machines’ or vehicles. Individual bodies are vehicles, not replicators: they ‘don’t replicate themselves; they work to propagate their replicators’ (254). So, ultimately, ‘the prime mover of all life, is the replicator’ (264). Individual bodies as we know them are merely mutations, accidents of evolution – mere survival machines. They ‘did not have to exist. The only kind of entity that has to exist in order for life to arise, anywhere in the universe, is the immortal replicator’ (266).

In Gilbert’s view, molecular biology is now the driving force of all biological research and ‘all sorts of questions are now being studied by finding a gene and seeing what it does to the organism, or by deducing a feature about the pattern of inheritance’ (93). By referring to ‘all sorts of questions’, Gilbert is keen to suggest a degree of openendedness at least in the social dimensions of the project, but his belief in genetic determinism is clear. There are limitations to the project in his view; it can tell us what specifies the human organism (what makes us human or different from other animals) but it cannot tell us how we differ from one another.

For others, the critique is more systematic and politically coherent. These others include Rose himself and Lewontin who see ‘modern science as the inheritor of nineteenth-century mechanical materialism, itself tightly linked ideologically to a particular phase of the development of industrial capitalism’ (Rose 1997: 73). He also outlines the feminist critique of reductionism which relates it to limited, rationalist masculine ways of thinking. These typically reject ‘the validity of subjective experience’ in favour of a notion of objectivity (74).

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