During Caroline Jones’ discussion of the Senses, I appreciated the reminder of the cultural context of Greek philosophers – that these philosophers were privileged men in a slave-based economy (90). While I was less sure how Hegel’s “Master/Slave Dialectic” fit in here**, I was struck by the comment that
Only by attending to the Other – the slave, the woman, the animal, the blind, the shackled prisoner in the cave, the foreigner and his cult – could philosophy attain a “theory” that aimed at universal truth.
But what does “attending to” entail? Is this just a nod to the Other’s self-consciousness? Is “imaging the slave’s… relationship to reality” really all it takes to “break free of sensory delusion”? Is imagining the sensory experience of another enough? And enough for what? How much do we need to attend to others in shaping our technology? (More than we currently)
I am thinking back to our discussion in class last week and Siri’s inability to answer questions relating to sexual assault (and also birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion services). On the same device, Apple’s Health App only added a menstruation tracker in the summer of 2016. And women are still ignored (or have more trouble being recognized) by Xboxes, voice-activated cars, and Google’s speech recognition. Yes, these could be caused by different issues (unbalanced training sets, negligent designers, etc.), but it still comes across as an inability to incorporate women’s bodies and sensory experiences into common technology.
It makes me wonder what female technology would be. I’m not sure, and pessimistically I wonder if Hegel’s Master/Slave Dialectic isn’t as democratic as I initially interpreted it. Perhaps I can only reflect on my otherness, unessential to the “Master’s” self-consciousness.
*It should be noted that I am American, today is Inauguration Day, and tomorrow is the Women’s March on Washington. This will likely explain my take on this week’s reading, and the tone and topic of this post.
**since after falling down a digital Hegel rabbit hole, it seemed to me this dialectic was rather democratic. While it is explained that the Master sees the Slave as an object, it seems that, truly, we also see others as objects/others.