Unthought: The Power Of The Cognitive Nonconscious

Hardcover | April 5, 2017

byN. Katherine Hayles

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N. Katherine Hayles is known for breaking new ground at the intersection of the sciences and the humanities. In Unthought, she once again bridges disciplines by revealing how we think without thinking—how we use cognitive processes that are inaccessible to consciousness yet necessary for it to function.

Marshalling fresh insights from neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive biology, and literature, Hayles expands our understanding of cognition and demonstrates that it involves more than consciousness alone. Cognition, as Hayles defines it, is applicable not only to nonconscious processes in humans but to all forms of life, including unicellular organisms and plants. Startlingly, she also shows that cognition operates in the sophisticated information-processing abilities of technical systems: when humans and cognitive technical systems interact, they form “cognitive assemblages”—as found in urban traffic control, drones, and the trading algorithms of finance capital, for instance—and these assemblages are transforming life on earth. The result is what Hayles calls a “planetary cognitive ecology,” which includes both human and technical actors and which poses urgent questions to humanists and social scientists alike.

At a time when scientific and technological advances are bringing far-reaching aspects of cognition into the public eye, Unthought reflects deeply on our contemporary situation and moves us toward a more sustainable and flourishing environment for all beings.

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N. Katherine Hayles is known for breaking new ground at the intersection of the sciences and the humanities. In Unthought, she once again bridges disciplines by revealing how we think without thinking—how we use cognitive processes that are inaccessible to consciousness yet necessary for it to function. Marshalling fresh insights from ...

N. Katherine Hayles is the James B. Duke Professor of Literature at Duke University. She is the author of many books, including, most recently, How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 5, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022644774X

ISBN - 13:9780226447742

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Transforming How We See the World
Part 1. The Cognitive Nonconscious and the Costs of Consciousness
1 Nonconscious Cognitions: Humans and Others
2 Interplays between Nonconscious Cognition and Consciousness
3 The Cognitive Nonconscious and the New Materialisms
4 The Costs of Consciousness: Tom McCarthy’s Remainder and Peter Watts’s Blindsight
Part 2. Cognitive Assemblages
5 Cognitive Assemblages: Technical Agency and Human Interactions
6 Temporality and Cognitive Assemblages: Finance Capital, Derivatives, and High-Frequency Trading
7 Intuition, Cognitive Assemblages, and Politico-Historico Affects: Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist
8 The Utopian Potential of Cognitive Assemblages
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Editorial Reviews

“No one has done more to integrate the two cultures than Katherine Hayles, and this volume is truly a signature achievement. Here she rethinks cognition, building an intricate theoretical assemblage that includes the new materialisms, neuroscience, and cognitive biology and opens up her recent analyses of ‘how we think’ to an entire planetary cognitive ecology that is as expansive as it is technically precise. It is also, importantly, deeply ethical, at a moment when the stakes for the humanities, and the world, are particularly high. Unthought marks a brilliant addition to Hayles’ astonishing corpus—and it is surely destined to become part of our conscious and critical thought.”