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Keeping it Real: Sex with Humans and Robots from a Lacanian perspective

Horst, Maaike van der (2022) Keeping it Real: Sex with Humans and Robots from a Lacanian perspective.

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Abstract:Having sex with a robot might sound like a futuristic science fiction dys- or uptopia. Sex robots are however already on the technological horizon. They are a topic worthy of philosophical study because the boundaries between a domain long understood as human, intimate and warm (sex), and a domain long understood as artificial, distant and cold (technology) become blurred. Therefore, sex with robots leads to the uncanny question of what makes us human and thereby different from robots in the first place. I try to answer this question by using the ideas of psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan. My main argument is that robots 'lack the lack' that humans do have, and that desire therefore functions differently with humans than with robots. Sex with robots therefore provides a different kind of jouissance than sex with humans. Sex with robots can still have a potential emancipatory role: by visualizing the absent, it can help humans embrace their own inherent lack, and thereby create space for (partial) enjoyment.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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