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FrankensteinAnnotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds$
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Mary Shelley, David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262533287

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262533287.001.0001

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Undisturbed by Reality

Undisturbed by Reality

Victor Frankenstein’s Technoscientific Dream of Reason

(p.223) Undisturbed by Reality

Alfred Nordmann

The MIT Press

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not a tale of modern science. Instead, the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature shows that the premodern, alchemical dream of animating lifeless things returns after science has studied its “realities of little worth.” If Frankenstein speaks to us today, it is because today’s technosciences carry forward the alchemical dream. Whereas science requires a calm and peaceful state of mind, Victor’s technoscience – then and now – is driven by a supernatural enthusiasm. Accordingly we may find that even the supposedly ordinary nanotechnologies and materials sciences of our day and age are not “befitting the human mind” – long before one seeks to create artificial life. 

Keywords:   Technoscience, Alchemy, uncanny valley, animation, complexity

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