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Between an Animal and a Machine

Stanisław Lem’s Technological Utopia


Paweł Majewski

The subject of this book is the philosophy of Stanisław Lem. The first part contains an analysis and interpretation of one of his early works, The Dialogues. The author tries to show how Lem used the terminology of cybernetics to create a project of sociology and anthropology. The second part examines Lem’s essay Summa technologiae, which is considered as the project of human autoevolution. The term «autoevolution» is a neologism for the concept of humans taking control over their own biological evolution and form in order to improve the conditions of their being. In this interpretation, Summa is an example of a liberal utopia, based on the assumption that all human problems can be resolved by science. Various social theories, which can be linked to the project of autoevolution, are presented in the final part.

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Part Two Summa Technologiae – Technology as Lifeworld

Part Two Summa Technologiae – Technology as Lifeworld

Of course, if I knew how to write analytically, starting with dictionaries, I would never have written a single book – everything was just mixing in this terrible brain of mine.

From a letter to Michael Kandel, May 8, 197290

90The excerpt refers to The Cyberiad. All quotations from Lem’s letters used in this chapter as motto-interludes are from: Stanisław Lem. Listy albo opór materii. Ed. and Introduction by Jerzy Jarzębski (Kraków: WL, 2002). ←67 | 68→←68 | 69→