Into the Mirror: Reflexivity and the Reality of the Posthuman in Philip K. Dick
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines the link between the evolution of ideas in post-war systems theory and cybernetics alongside the fictional works of Philip K. Dick and how those concepts permeate Dick’s work. Dick has been posthumously acknowledged as one of the most important writers, and perhaps the most important Science Fiction writer, of the twentieth century. His relationship with the concepts discussed herein is complex and intricate, and the bulk of the work is concerned with unpicking that relationship. Those concepts, which emerged from post-war cybernetics, include Reflexivity, Autopoeisis and Homeostasis. Chapter 1: "That’s not a Mirror, It’s a Window" explores the meaning of the ‘posthuman’ subject, as well as the implications this has for artificial life and the concept of humanity itself. It also introduces us to the concept of reflexivity in Dick’s work. Posthuman theory, much of which is defined by the work of cyberneticists such as Norbert Weiner, Claude Shannon and Heinz von Foerster, is discussed throughout with relation to Dick’s fiction, which itself tackles many of the same issues presented by those theorists. Chapter 2: "Life, as We Know It" approaches the concept of autopoeisis in modern posthuman thought, and elaborates on how this concept suffuses much of Dick’s fiction and the realities he creates. Dick’s work explores and often undermines assumptions made by modern theory on fundamental concepts such as what it means to be human, what we constitute as reality, and how we perceive time. Chapter 3: "See No Evil, Speak No Evil" discusses the nature of time, and the role of entropy in Dick’s reality and the role it plays in understanding his fiction and the posthuman viewpoint. Throughout the dissertation, reference will be made to the enormous body of autobiographical material available through his essays, speeches and the million-word exegesis and the large body of biographical literature which has risen up after Dick’s death.
BA (Hons) English and Modern History
Showing items related by title, author, subject and abstract.
Ashdown, Jodie Kay (2014)This dissertation is focused in and around the area of the feminist post-human dystopic through a piece of prose fiction, along with some verse, and a critical reflective commentary. Influenced by works of, among others, ...
Wallace, Jeff (Wiley, 2010)This article examines some current developments in the field of relations between literary studies and posthumanism, with particular reference to changing forms and conceptions of the literary. As an index of these changes, ...
Habitation: Exploring the narrative construction of character and environment from an ecofeminist perspective Thornton, Cheryl (2014)This dissertation, a 9500 word creative portfolio accompanied by a 7000 word critical reflection, emerges from an interest in the interpenetration of ecology and feminism in literature. The fictional narrative, Habitation, ...