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New Romantic CyborgsRomanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine$
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Mark Coeckelbergh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035460

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035460.001.0001

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Criticisms of Romanticism and of the End-of-the-Machine Vision

Criticisms of Romanticism and of the End-of-the-Machine Vision

(p.211) 6 Criticisms of Romanticism and of the End-of-the-Machine Vision
New Romantic Cyborgs

Mark Coeckelbergh

The MIT Press

In chapter 6 objections to these material romanticisms and to the narrative about romanticism and technology are constructed. First, drawing on classic anti-romantics, the argument is constructed that romanticism leads to escapism or what I call cyber narcissism. Then a position is elaborated that criticizes the current material romanticism for not being romantic enough, for failing to reach the romantic aims. It is argued that our hyper-romanticism in the form of Web 2.0 and its social media risks to destroy its very aims. It is concluded that, seen from these perspectives, material romanticism’s promise of a synthesis of enlightenment and romanticism is not kept and there is no “end of the machine” in sight. However, then it is argued that the criticisms discussed here may well be anti-romantic, but largely (but not completely and not always) remain within the “romantic order”. The chapter draws on Coyne’s reading of the phenomenological tradition in order to start exploring what a less dualistic and less romantic view would look like. The chapter ends with a summary of what we can nevertheless learn from the romantic tradition.

Keywords:   Criticisms of romanticism, Criticisms of “the end of the machine” vision, Escapism, Cyber narcissism, Coyne

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