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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human.[1] The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity.

Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.[2] The notion of the posthuman comes up both in posthumanism as well as transhumanism, but it has a special meaning in each tradition. In 2017, Penn State University Press in cooperation with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and James Hughes (sociologist) established the “Journal of Posthuman Studies”[3] in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[4]

In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[5]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel de Landa, decrying the term as “very silly.”[6] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell’s The Posthuman Condition, and Hayles’s How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the “cyborg” of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[citation needed] Haraway’s conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway’s cyborg is in many ways the “beta” version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[7] Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanismwhich separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a “shell” or vehicle for the mindbecomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology puts the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technology advancements while understanding information as “disembodied,” that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[8]

The idea of post-posthumanism (post-cyborgism) has recently been introduced.[9][10][11][12][13]This body of work outlines the after-effects of long-term adaptation to cyborg technologies and their subsequent removal, e.g., what happens after 20 years of constantly wearing computer-mediating eyeglass technologies and subsequently removing them, and of long-term adaptation to virtual worlds followed by return to “reality.”[14][15] and the associated post-cyborg ethics (e.g. the ethics of forced removal of cyborg technologies by authorities, etc.).[16]

Posthuman political and natural rights have been framed on a spectrum with animal rights and human rights.[17] Posthumanism broadens the scope of what it means to be a valued life form and to be treated as such (in contrast to certain life forms being seen as less-than and being taken advantage of or killed off); it calls for a more inclusive definition of life, and a greater moral-ethical response, and responsibility, to non-human life forms in the age of species blurring and species mixing. [I]t interrogates the hierarchic ordering and subsequently exploitation and even eradication of life forms. [18]

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being “whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards.”[19] Posthumans primarily focus on cybernetics, the posthuman consequent and the relationship to digital technology. The emphasis is on systems. Transhumanism does not focus on either of these. Instead, transhumanism focuses on the modification of the human species via any kind of emerging science, including genetic engineering, digital technology, and bioengineering.[20]

Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.[19]

As used in this article, “posthuman” does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky[citation needed] and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regard to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.[21] Recently, scholars have begun to speculate that posthumanism provides an alternative analysis of apocalyptic cinema and fiction, often casting vampires, werewolves and even zombies as potential evolutions of the human form and being.[22]

Many science fiction authors, such as Greg Egan, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton and authors of the Orion’s Arm Universe,[23] have written works set in posthuman futures.

A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a “posthuman god”; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.[19] This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may “ascend” to a higher plane of existencerather, it merely means that some posthuman beings may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that their behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination.[24]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Super Sad True Love Story – Wikipedia

Super Sad True Love Story is the third novel by American writer Gary Shteyngart.[1] The novel takes place in a near-future dystopian New York where life is dominated by media and retail.

The son of a Russian immigrant, protagonist Leonard (Lenny) Abramov, a middle-aged, middle class, otherwise unremarkable man whose mentality is still in the past century, falls madly in love with Eunice Park, a young Korean-American struggling with materialism and the pressures of her traditional Korean family. The chapters alternate between profuse diary entries from the old-fashioned Lenny and Eunice’s biting e-mail correspondence on her “GlobalTeens” account. In the background of what appears to be a love story that oscillates between superficiality and despair, a grim political situation unravels. America is on the brink of economic collapse, threatened by its Chinese creditors. In the meantime, the totalitarian Bipartisan government’s main mission is to encourage and promote consumerism while eliminating political dissidents.[2]

The novel won the Salon Book Award (Fiction, 2010) and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize (2011). It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (Fiction & Poetry, 2010), New York Times bestseller (Fiction, 2010), and Amazon’s Best Books of the Month in August 2010. It was named one of the best books of the year by numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, O:The Oprah Magazine, Maureen Corrigan of NPR, and Slate.[3] The literary critic Raymond Malewitz has recently published an article on “digital posthumanism” in the novel in the journal Arizona Quarterly.[4]

Ben Stiller and Media Rights Capital are producing a TV series for Showtime.[5]

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Home | Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care …

(1) Humanities and the Illness Experience (literature, film, the creative arts, poetry, narrative medicine) are intended to elevate student appreciation of the subjective experience of illness in the lives of patients, their families, and caregivers. Only by closely observing the illness experience can students begin to connect with patients as persons, replete with narratives of hope, anxiety, fear, love, loss, meaning, goals, culture, and treatment preferences. Student attentiveness to this narrative opens up the possibility of their encountering patients not just biologically, but as persons rather than mere puzzles. This awareness is at the very center of the art of medicine, of healing in any full sense of the word, and it naturally enlivens deeper empathic capacities.

(2) Virtues ( empathy, compassion, respect, humility, justice, loyalty, benevolence, diligence) all unfold from the uptick in narrative consciousness made possible through detailed humanistic observation. For empathic care to be sustained over the course of a career the professional virtue of self-care is also important. The humanistic virtues build the secure relational foundation of trust that is needed for good communication with patients, and for effective ethical decision making.

(3) Clinical Ethics ( attentive listening, , respect for autonomy, empathic communication, confidentiality, patient advocacy ) is more than the application of a set of principles or procedures for approaching the challenging decisions that patients, families, and caregivers confront daily. Clinical ethics requires a close attentiveness to the humanistic as well the scientific details of each case, a skill that can be finely honed through the medical humanities. Empathic virtues as habits of daily clinical interaction create a safe space for meaningful dialogue with patients around their values, goals, and choices in which their autonomy is respected. These humanistic assets can be developed as workable communicative skill sets with both cognitive and affective dimensions. Clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and provider meaning and well-being are all enhanced when ethical decision making proceeds in the context of the humanistic virtues.

Our three concentric circles exist in a surrounding field of healthcare systems including the healthcare system and finance, health law and policy, justice and access to care, the science of compassionate care and posthumanism. Compassionate care drives clinicians and students toward concern for justice according to patient need. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote famously of the love that does justice. Often patients are as stressed by navigating insurance and the healthcare system as they are by their illness itself. Clinicians committed to the good of patients are driven by compassion to advocate for access to needed medications and other necessary treatments, as well as ultimately to matters of population health.

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Posthumanism – Wikipedia

This article is about a critique of anthropocentrism. For the futurist ideology and movement, see transhumanism.

Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning “after humanism” or “beyond humanism”) is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:[1]

Philosopher Ted Schatzki suggests there are two varieties of posthumanism of the philosophical kind:[12]

One, which he calls ‘objectivism’, tries to counter the overemphasis of the subjective or intersubjective that pervades humanism, and emphasises the role of the nonhuman agents, whether they be animals and plants, or computers or other things.[12]

A second prioritizes practices, especially social practices, over individuals (or individual subjects) which, they say, constitute the individual.[12]

There may be a third kind of posthumanism, propounded by the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Though he did not label it as ‘posthumanism’, he made an extensive and penetrating immanent critique of Humanism, and then constructed a philosophy that presupposed neither Humanist, nor Scholastic, nor Greek thought but started with a different religious ground motive.[13] Dooyeweerd prioritized law and meaningfulness as that which enables humanity and all else to exist, behave, live, occur, etc. “Meaning is the being of all that has been created,” Dooyeweerd wrote, “and the nature even of our selfhood.”[14] Both human and nonhuman alike function subject to a common ‘law-side’, which is diverse, composed of a number of distinct law-spheres or aspects.[15] The temporal being of both human and non-human is multi-aspectual; for example, both plants and humans are bodies, functioning in the biotic aspect, and both computers and humans function in the formative and lingual aspect, but humans function in the aesthetic, juridical, ethical and faith aspects too. The Dooyeweerdian version is able to incorporate and integrate both the objectivist version and the practices version, because it allows nonhuman agents their own subject-functioning in various aspects and places emphasis on aspectual functioning.[16]

Ihab Hassan, theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated:

Humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism.[17]

This view predates most currents of posthumanism which have developed over the late 20th century in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Hassan is a known scholar whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernity in society.[citation needed] Beyond postmodernist studies, posthumanism has been developed and deployed by various cultural theorists, often in reaction to problematic inherent assumptions within humanistic and enlightenment thought.[4]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, cyberneticists such as Gregory Bateson, Warren McCullouch, Norbert Wiener, Bruno Latour, Cary Wolfe, Elaine Graham, N. Katherine Hayles, Benjamin H. Bratton, Donna Haraway, Peter Sloterdijk, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Evan Thompson, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers, such as Robert Pepperell, who have written about a “posthuman condition”, which is often substituted for the term “posthumanism”.[5][6]

Posthumanism differs from classical humanism by relegating humanity back to one of many natural species, thereby rejecting any claims founded on anthropocentric dominance.[18] According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. Human rights exist on a spectrum with animal rights and posthuman rights.[19] The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[citation needed]

Proponents of a posthuman discourse, suggest that innovative advancements and emerging technologies have transcended the traditional model of the human, as proposed by Descartes among others associated with philosophy of the Enlightenment period.[20] In contrast to humanism, the discourse of posthumanism seeks to redefine the boundaries surrounding modern philosophical understanding of the human. Posthumanism represents an evolution of thought beyond that of the contemporary social boundaries and is predicated on the seeking of truth within a postmodern context. In so doing, it rejects previous attempts to establish ‘anthropological universals’ that are imbued with anthropocentric assumptions.[18]

The philosopher Michel Foucault placed posthumanism within a context that differentiated humanism from enlightenment thought. According to Foucault, the two existed in a state of tension: as humanism sought to establish norms while Enlightenment thought attempted to transcend all that is material, including the boundaries that are constructed by humanistic thought.[18] Drawing on the Enlightenments challenges to the boundaries of humanism, posthumanism rejects the various assumptions of human dogmas (anthropological, political, scientific) and takes the next step by attempting to change the nature of thought about what it means to be human. This requires not only decentering the human in multiple discourses (evolutionary, ecological, technological) but also examining those discourses to uncover inherent humanistic, anthropocentric, normative notions of humanness and the concept of the human.[4]

Posthumanistic discourse aims to open up spaces to examine what it means to be human and critically question the concept of “the human” in light of current cultural and historical contexts[4] In her book How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles, writes about the struggle between different versions of the posthuman as it continually co-evolves alongside intelligent machines.[21] Such coevolution, according to some strands of the posthuman discourse, allows one to extend their subjective understandings of real experiences beyond the boundaries of embodied existence. According to Hayles’s view of posthuman, often referred to as technological posthumanism, visual perception and digital representations thus paradoxically become ever more salient. Even as one seeks to extend knowledge by deconstructing perceived boundaries, it is these same boundaries that make knowledge acquisition possible. The use of technology in a contemporary society is thought to complicate this relationship.

Hayles discusses the translation of human bodies into information (as suggested by Hans Moravec) in order to illuminate how the boundaries of our embodied reality have been compromised in the current age and how narrow definitions of humanness no longer apply. Because of this, according to Hayles, posthumanism is characterized by a loss of subjectivity based on bodily boundaries.[4] This strand of posthumanism, including the changing notion of subjectivity and the disruption of ideas concerning what it means to be human, is often associated with Donna Haraways concept of the cyborg.[4] However, Haraway has distanced herself from posthumanistic discourse due to other theorists use of the term to promote utopian views of technological innovation to extend the human biological capacity[22] (even though these notions would more correctly fall into the realm of transhumanism[4]).

While posthumanism is a broad and complex ideology, it has relevant implications today and for the future. It attempts to redefine social structures without inherently humanly or even biological origins, but rather in terms of social and psychological systems where consciousness and communication could potentially exist as unique disembodied entities. Questions subsequently emerge with respect to the current use and the future of technology in shaping human existence,[18] as do new concerns with regards to language, symbolism, subjectivity, phenomenology, ethics, justice and creativity.[23]

Sociologist James Hughes comments that there is considerable confusion between the two terms.[24][25] In the introduction to their book on post- and transhumanism, Robert Ranisch and Stefan Sorgner address the source of this confusion, stating that posthumanism is often used as an umbrella term that includes both transhumanism and critical posthumanism.[24]

Although both subjects relate to the future of humanity, they differ in their view of anthropocentrism. Pramod Nayar, author of Posthumanism, states that posthumanism has two main branches: ontological and critical.[26] Ontological posthumanism is synonymous with transhumanism. The subject is regarded as an intensification of humanism.[27] Transhumanist thought suggests that humans are not post human yet, but that human enhancement, often through technological advancement and application, is the passage of becoming post human. [28] Transhumanism retains humanisms focus on the homo sapien as the center of the world but also considers technology to be an integral aid to human progression. Critical posthumanism, however, is opposed to these views. Critical posthumanism rejects both human exceptionalism (the idea that humans are unique creatures) and human instrumentalism (that humans have a right to control the natural world).[26] These contrasting views on the importance of human beings are the main distinctions between the two subjects.

Transhumanism is also more ingrained in popular culture than critical posthumanism, especially in science fiction. The term is referred to by Pramod Nayar as “the pop posthumanism of cinema and pop culture.”[26]

Some critics have argued that all forms of posthumanism, including transhumanism, have more in common than their respective proponents realize.[29] Linking these different approaches, Paul James suggests that ‘the key political problem is that, in effect, the position allows the human as a category of being to flow down the plughole of history’:

This is ontologically critical. Unlike the naming of postmodernism where the post does not infer the end of what it previously meant to be human (just the passing of the dominance of the modern) the posthumanists are playing a serious game where the human, in all its ontological variability, disappears in the name of saving something unspecified about us as merely a motley co-location of individuals and communities.[30]

However, some posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism (the brunt of Paul James’s criticism), in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the values of Enlightenment humanism and classical liberalism, namely scientism, according to performance philosopher Shannon Bell:[31]

Altruism, mutualism, humanism are the soft and slimy virtues that underpin liberal capitalism. Humanism has always been integrated into discourses of exploitation: colonialism, imperialism, neoimperialism, democracy, and of course, American democratization. One of the serious flaws in transhumanism is the importation of liberal-human values to the biotechno enhancement of the human. Posthumanism has a much stronger critical edge attempting to develop through enactment new understandings of the self and others, essence, consciousness, intelligence, reason, agency, intimacy, life, embodiment, identity and the body.[31]

While many modern leaders of thought are accepting of nature of ideologies described by posthumanism, some are more skeptical of the term. Donna Haraway, the author of A Cyborg Manifesto, has outspokenly rejected the term, though acknowledges a philosophical alignment with posthumanism. Haraway opts instead for the term of companion species, referring to nonhuman entities with which humans coexist.[22]

Questions of race, some argue, are suspiciously elided within the “turn” to posthumanism. Noting that the terms “post” and “human” are already loaded with racial meaning, critical theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson argues that the impulse to move “beyond” the human within posthumanism too often ignores “praxes of humanity and critiques produced by black people”, including Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire to Hortense Spillers and Fred Moten. Interrogating the conceptual grounds in which such a mode of beyond is rendered legible and viable, Jackson argues that it is important to observe that “blackness conditions and constitutes the very nonhuman disruption and/or disruption” which posthumanists invite. In other words, given that race in general and blackness in particular constitutes the very terms through which human/nonhuman distinctions are made, for example in enduring legacies of scientific racism, a gesture toward a beyond actually returns us to a Eurocentric transcendentalism long challenged.

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Posthumanism – Wikipedia

posthumanism | Definition of posthumanism in English by …

nounScience Fiction

The idea that humanity can be transformed, transcended, or eliminated either by technological advances or the evolutionary process; artistic, scientific, or philosophical practice which reflects this belief.

1970s. From post-human + -ism. Compare earlier post-humanism.

posthumanism/psthjumnz()m/

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human.[1] The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity.

Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.[2] The notion of the posthuman comes up both in posthumanism as well as transhumanism, but it has a special meaning in each tradition. In 2017, Penn State University Press in cooperation with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and James Hughes (sociologist) established the “Journal of Posthuman Studies”[3] in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[4]

In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[5]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel de Landa, decrying the term as “very silly.”[6] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell’s The Posthuman Condition, and Hayles’s How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the “cyborg” of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[citation needed] Haraway’s conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway’s cyborg is in many ways the “beta” version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[7] Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanismwhich separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a “shell” or vehicle for the mindbecomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology puts the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technology advancements while understanding information as “disembodied,” that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[8]

The idea of post-posthumanism (post-cyborgism) has recently been introduced.[9][10][11][12][13]This body of work outlines the after-effects of long-term adaptation to cyborg technologies and their subsequent removal, e.g., what happens after 20 years of constantly wearing computer-mediating eyeglass technologies and subsequently removing them, and of long-term adaptation to virtual worlds followed by return to “reality.”[14][15] and the associated post-cyborg ethics (e.g. the ethics of forced removal of cyborg technologies by authorities, etc.).[16]

Posthuman political and natural rights have been framed on a spectrum with animal rights and human rights.[17] Posthumanism broadens the scope of what it means to be a valued life form and to be treated as such (in contrast to certain life forms being seen as less-than and being taken advantage of or killed off); it calls for a more inclusive definition of life, and a greater moral-ethical response, and responsibility, to non-human life forms in the age of species blurring and species mixing. [I]t interrogates the hierarchic ordering and subsequently exploitation and even eradication of life forms. [18]

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being “whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards.”[19] Posthumans primarily focus on cybernetics, the posthuman consequent and the relationship to digital technology. The emphasis is on systems. Transhumanism does not focus on either of these. Instead, transhumanism focuses on the modification of the human species via any kind of emerging science, including genetic engineering, digital technology, and bioengineering.[20]

Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.[19]

As used in this article, “posthuman” does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky[citation needed] and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regard to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.[21] Recently, scholars have begun to speculate that posthumanism provides an alternative analysis of apocalyptic cinema and fiction, often casting vampires, werewolves and even zombies as potential evolutions of the human form and being.[22]

Many science fiction authors, such as Greg Egan, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton and authors of the Orion’s Arm Universe,[23] have written works set in posthuman futures.

A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a “posthuman god”; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.[19] This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may “ascend” to a higher plane of existencerather, it merely means that some posthuman beings may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that their behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination.[24]

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What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

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Beyond humanism and anthropocentrism

Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many? Exploring this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanitys place in the world by both the technological and the biological or green continuum in which the human is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfeone of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theoryranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandins writings, Wallace Stevenss poetry, Lars von Triers Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Enos My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

Cary Wolfe holds the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Chair in English at Rice University. His previous books include Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the Outside, Observing Complexity: Systems Theory and Postmodernity, and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal, all published by the University of Minnesota Press.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

Wolfe offers a smart, provocative account of posthumanism as an idea and as a way of thinking that has consequences extending from the way universities are organized to decisions regarding public policy bioethics. Although his writing is complex and demanding, the ethical and ecological urgency with which he frames his readings combines with the wide, diversified scope of his scholarship to make this a work to be reckoned with.

Wolfes book, without a doubt, supplies important insights.

Wolfe has created an incredibly useful primer on posthumanist theory. For anyone attempting to engage in academic work relating to these theories, this book is a highly recommended starting point.

Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley

It is one of those books that sucks you in almost immediately.

ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Readers . . . will find Wolfes analysis of both visual and audio culture to be thought-provoking.

Science Fiction Film and Television

It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts.

Science, Culture, Integrated Yoga

What Is Posthumanism? is an intelligent, extensively argued and challenging work.

Wolfes work shifts the tired terms of the debate in new and needed directions, offering strength and strategies to all those for whom simplistic, technophilic accounts of the posthuman condition are a smooth road to nowhere different.

Electronic Book Review

Tremendous intellectual, scholarly, and artistic breadth.

As a blueprint for where a posthumanist approach could take cultural theory, his book is conceptually invaluable.

Wolfes posthumanism is brilliant in the way it allows us to realize that each of these species might have different forms of perception, different ways of being in the world, and that those differences are actually analogous with otherness among human beings.

Wolfe deserves credit for a rich set of discussions that, taken together, bring out the interest of the intellectual trend that he calls posthumanism.

UMP blog: Discovering the HUMAN

3/24/2010Part of the unfortunate fallout of the conceptual apparatus of humanism is that it gives us an overly simple picturea fantasy, reallyof what the human is. Consider, for example, the rise of what is often called transhumanism, often taken to be a defining discourse of posthumanism (as in Ray Kurzweils work on the singularitythe historical moment at which engineering developments such as nanotechnology enable us to transcend our physical and biological limitations as embodied beings, ushering in a new phase of evolution). As many of its proponents freely admit, the philosophical ideals of transhumanism are quite identifiably humanistnot only in their dream of transcending the life of the body and our animal origins but also in their investment in the ideals of human perfectibility, rationality, autonomy, and agency. Read more …

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What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

What is Posthumanism? The Curator

Perhaps you have had a nightmare in which you fell through the bottom of your known universe into a vortex of mutated children, talking animals, mental illness, freakish art, and clamoring gibberish. There, you were subjected to the gaze of creatures of indeterminate nature and questionable intelligence. Your position as the subject of your own dream was called into question while voices outside your sight commented upon your tenuous identity. When you woke, you were relieved to find that it was only a dream-version of the book you were reading when you fell asleep. Maybe that book was Alice in Wonderland; maybe it was What is Posthumanism?

Now, it is not quite fair to compare Cary Wolfes sober, thoughtful scholarship with either a nightmare or a work of (childrens?) fantasy. It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts. However, it does present a rather odd dramatis personae, including a glow-in-the-dark rabbit, a woman who feels most at ease in a cattle chute, an artist of Jewish descent who implants an ID-chip in his own leg, researchers who count the words in a dogs vocabulary, and horses who exhibit more intelligence than the average human toddler. The settings, too, are often wildly different from those you might expect in an academic work: a manufactured cloud hovering over a lake in Switzerland, a tree park in Canada where landscape and architecture blend and redefine one another, recording studios, photographic laboratories, slaughterhouses, and (most of all) the putative minds of animals and the deconstructed minds of the very humans whose ontological existence it seeks to problematize.

But that is another exaggeration. Wolfes goal is not to undermine the existence or value of human beings. Rather, it is to call into question the universal ethics, assumed rationality, and species-specific self-determination of humanism. That is a mouthful.

Indeed, Wolfes book is a mouthful, and a headful. It is in fact a book by a specialist, for specialists. While Wolfe is an English professor (at Rice University) and identifies himself with literary and cultural studies (p. 100), this is first of all a work of philosophy. Its ideal audience is very small, consisting of English and Philosophy professors who came of age in the 70s, earned their Ph.D.s during the hey-day of Derridean Deconstruction, and have spent the intervening decades keeping up with trends in systems theory, cultural studies, science, bioethics, and information technology. It is rigorous and demanding, especially in its first five chapters, which lay the conceptual groundwork for the specific analyses of the second section.

In these first five chapters, Wolfe describes his perspective and purpose by interaction with many other great minds and influential texts, primarily those of Jacques Derrida. Here, the fundamental meaning and purpose of Posthumanism becomes clear. Wolfe wants his readers to rethink their relationship to animals (what he calls nonhuman animals). His goal is a new and more inclusive form of ethical pluralism (137). That sound innocuous enough, but he is not talking about racial, religious, or other human pluralisms. He is postulating a pluralism that transcends species. In other words, he is promoting the ethical treatment of animals based on a fundamental re-evaluation of what it means to be human, to be able to speak, and even to think. He does this by discussing studies that reveal the language capacities of animals (a dog apparently has about a 200-word vocabulary and can learn new words as quickly as a human three-year-old; pp. 32-33), by recounting the story of a woman whose Aspergers syndrome enables her to empathize with cows and sense the world the way they do (chapter five), and by pointing out the ways in which we value disabled people who do not possess the standard traits that (supposedly) make us human.

But Wolfe goes further than a simple suggestion that we should be nice to animals (and the unspoken plug for universal veganism). He is proposing a radical disruption of liberal humanism and a rigorous interrogation of what he sees as an arrogant complacency about our species. He respects any variety of philosophy that challenges anthropocentrism and speciesism (62)anthropocentrism, of course, means viewing the world as if homo sapiens is the center (or, more accurately, viewing the world from the position of occupying that center) and specisism is the term he uses to replace racism. We used to feel and enact prejudice against people of different ethnic backgrounds, he suggests, but we now know that is morally wrong. The time has come, then, to realize that we are feeling and enacting prejudice against people of different species.

Although Wolfe suggests many epistemological and empirical reasons for rethinking the personhood of animals, he comes to the conclusion that our relationship with them is based on our shared embodiment. Humans and animals have a shared finitude (139); we can both feel pain, suffer, and die. On the basis of our mutual mortality, then, we should have an emphasis on compassion (77). He is not out to denigrate his own species far from it. Indeed, he goes out of his way to spend time discussing infants (who have not yet developed rationality and language), people with disabilities (especially those that prevent them from participating in fully rational thought and/or communication), and the elderly (who may lose some of those rational capacities, especially if racked by such ailments as Alzheimers). Indeed, he claims: It is not by denying the special status of human being[s] but by intensifying it that we can come to think of nonhuman animalsasfellow creatures (77).

This joint focus on the special status of all human beings along with the other living creatures roaming (or swimming, flying, crawling, slithering) the globe has far-reaching consequences for public policy, especially bioethics. Wolfe says that, currently, bioethics is riddled with prejudices: Of these prejudices, none is more symptomatic of the current state of bioethics than prejudice based on species difference, and an incapacity to address the ethical issues raised by dramatic changes over the past thirty years in our knowledge about the lives, communication, emotions, and consciousnesses of a number of nonhuman species (56). One of the goals of his book, then, is to reiterate that knowledge and promote awareness of those issues that he sees as ethical.

If you read Wolfes book, or even parts of it, you will suddenly see posthumanism everywhere. You can trace its influence in the enormously fast-growing pet industry. From the blog Pawsible Marketing: As in recent and past years, there is no doubt that pets continue to become more and more a part of the family, even to the extent of becoming, in some cases, humanized.

You will see it in bring-your-pet-to-work or bring-your-pet-to-school days. You might think it is responsible for the recent introduction of a piece of legislation called H.R. 3501, The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years, know as the HAPPY Act, which proposes a tax deduction for pet owners. You will find it in childrens books about talking animals. You will see it on Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and a PBS series entitled Inside the Animal Mind. You will find it in films, such as the brand-new documentary The Cove, which records the brutal slaughter of dolphins for food. And you will see it in works of art.

Following this reasoning, section two of Wolfes book (chapters six through eleven) veers off from the strictly philosophical approach into the more traditional terrain of cultural studies: he examines specific works of art in light of the philosophical basis that is now firmly in place. Interestingly, he does not choose all works of art that depict animals, nor those that displace humans. He begins with works that depict animals (Sue Coes paintings of slaughterhouses) and that use animals (Eduardo Kacs creation of genetically engineered animals that glow in the dark), but then moves on to discuss film, architecture, poetry, and music. In each of these examinations, he works to destabilize traditional binaries such as nature/culture, landscape/architecture, viewer/viewed, presence/absence, organic/inorganic, natural/artificial, and, really, human/nonhuman. This second section, then, is a subtle application of the theory of posthumanism itself to the arts, [our] environment, and [our] identity.

What is perhaps most important about What is Posthumanism remains latent in the text. This is its current and (especially) future prevalence. By tracing the history of posthumanism back through systems theory into deconstruction, Wolfe implies a future trajectory, too. I would venture to suggest that he believes posthumanism is the worldview that will soon come to dominate Western thought. And this is important for academics specifically and thinkers in general to realize.

Whether you agree with Cary Wolfe or not, it would be wise to understand posthumanism. It appears that your only choice will be either to align yourself with this perspective or to fight against it. If you agree, you should know with what. If you fight, you should know against what.

What, then, is the central thesis of posthumanism? Wolfes entire project might be summed up in his bold claim that, thanks to his own work and that of the theorists and artists he discusses, the human occupies a new place in the universe, a universe now populated by what I am prepared to call nonhuman subjects (47)such subjects as talking rabbits, six-inch people, and mythical monsters?

Well, maybe not the mythical monsters.

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What is Posthumanism? The Curator

Posthumanism by Pramod K. Nayar – Goodreads

This timely book examines the rise of posthumanism as both a material condition and a developing philosophical-ethical project in the age of cloning, gene engineering, organ transplants and implants.

Nayar first maps the political and philosophical critiques of traditional humanism, revealing its exclusionary and ‘speciesist’ politics that position the human as a distinct

Nayar first maps the political and philosophical critiques of traditional humanism, revealing its exclusionary and ‘speciesist’ politics that position the human as a distinctive and dominant life form. He then contextualizes the posthumanist vision which, drawing upon biomedical, engineering and techno-scientific studies, concludes that human consciousness is shaped by its co-evolution with other life forms, and our human form inescapably influenced by tools and technology. Finally the book explores posthumanism’s roots in disability studies, animal studies and bioethics to underscore the constructed nature of ‘normalcy’ in bodies, and the singularity of species and life itself.

As this book powerfully demonstrates, posthumanism marks a radical reassessment of the human as constituted by symbiosis, assimilation, difference and dependence upon and with other species. Mapping the terrain of these far-reaching debates, Posthumanism will be an invaluable companion to students of cultural studies and modern and contemporary literature.

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Posthumanism by Pramod K. Nayar – Goodreads

New Materialism(s) Critical Posthumanism Network

Digital Bodies by Megan Archer

New materialism is a term coined in the 1990s to describe a theoretical turn away from the persistent dualisms in modern and humanist traditions whose influences are present in much of cultural theory.[1] The discourses catalogued under new materialism(s) share an agenda with posthumanism in that they seek a repositioning of the human among nonhuman actants, they question the stability of an individuated, liberal subject, and they advocate a critical materialist attention to the global, distributed influences of late capitalism and climate change. The turn to matter as a necessary critical engagement comes from a collective discontent with the linguistic turn and social constructionism to adequately address material realities for humans and nonhumans alike. While new materialists recognise social constructionisms insistence on political relationalities of power and the effect of these dynamics on subject formation, some nevertheless maintain that the idea of discursive construction perpetuates Western, liberal subjectivities and holds on to stubborn humanist binaries. The new materialist turn might indeed be considered a return to matter in the context of historical materialisms concern for embodied circumstance and subject formation. However, as Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman point out in their anthology, Material Feminisms, material theorists do not simply abandon the work of the linguistic turn, but rather build on its foundation, underscoring the co-constitution of material and discursive productions of reality.[2] Feminist new materialisms, for instance, do not discount social constructions of gender and their intersections with class and race. They do, however, also consider how material bodies, spaces, and conditions contribute to the formation of subjectivity.

Theory marked as new materialism collectively works against inert, extra-discursive, and non-generative conceptions of matter, but the plurality of methodological approaches within the field is generous. With thinkers like Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz, and Jane Bennett as several of the fields leading scholars, the new materialisms draw on combinations of feminist theory, science studies, environmental studies, queer theory, philosophy, cultural theory, biopolitics, critical race theory, and other approaches.

When the field was nascent, Judith Butlers seminal feminist work on sex and gender was a foundational influence on early new materialist conversations. Butlers argument against a biologically material referent of gender completely erased the nature/culture divide between sex and gender.[3] Feminist science and new materialist reactions to this kind of radical constructivism emphasised that physical bodies moving through the world, and the differences in those bodies, also inform experience. Feminist theorists began to emphasise the material of the body, considering differences among bodies, and to think through the intersections of material and social constructions. Therefore, a discursive analysis of gender required a non-essentialising approach to the matter of the body, itself. Scholars responding to and synthesising the nature/culture question included Elizabeth Wilson, Rosi Braidotti, and Anne Fausto-Sterling.[4] Fausto-Sterlings Sexing the Body takes on the literal co-construction of bodies and social environments, arguing that bodily differences are evident beneath the flesh as human cells react to the signals of their environments.[5] Identity and difference are therefore products of complex interactions between matters inside and outside of bodies, and between the social and environmental conditions in which bodies exist.

The variety of new materialist approaches continues to proliferate as the field develops, but Diana Coole and Samantha Frost suggest grouping the major trends in new materialist scholarship into three identifiable camps in their 2010 edited collection, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics.[6] The essays are organised into the categories Ontology/Agency, Bioethics/Biopolitics, and Critical Materialism. Feminist new materialists Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad would both fit into Coole and Frosts Ontology/Agency category, since both theorists examine how matter is agential in its emergence. Braidotti draws on and productively revises ideas from her background in post-structuralist theory. Rather than Giorgio Agambens bare life (zoe), her re-reading of Spinoza and Deleuze and Guattari leads her to formulate a zoe that is the potentiality of all matter to form transversal connections or networks with all other matter.[7] In Homo Sacer (1995), Agamben argues that the Western biopolitical distinction between political and nonpolitical life (what he calls bios and zoe, respectively) can be traced to antiquity. It is the connection of sovereign power to biopower that distinguishes for Agamben a crucial cut between beings with no legal status, humans included, and beings with the privilege of legal rights.[8] Braidotti revises critical vitalism and biopolitics alike to argue that posthuman subjectivity is a zoe with an immanent potential for self-assembly along transversals, or the tendency of all living matter to form associations with other material systems. Posthuman subjectivity therefore raises important ethical questions, since it is neither bound to the individual subject, nor singularly human.

Just as Braidottis neo-vitalist theory of matter requires that we revise our existing ethical framework, Karen Barads agential realism suggests that the physical laws underpinning the reality we experience are, themselves, an ethical matter. Barads theoretical upending of the object/subject divide, or that all entities literally do not precede their intra-actions, comes from her robust background in theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. Conditions for Barad are always already material-discursive; that is, discourse and matter come into being together, and the apparatus that delimits being is only a condition of possibility. Barad contests a human-centred concept of agency. She instead argues that intra-actions entail the complex co-productions of human and nonhuman matter, time, spaces, and their signification. Therefore, the human does not act on matter, but rather humans and nonhumans are agential actors in the world as it continuously comes into being.[9]

Though the Ontology/Agency grouping of new materialist theory makes meaningful political and ethical interventions, Coole and Frost argue that it is the Bioethics/Biopolitics category that centres on more specific questions of nonhuman social justice and geopolitical sovereign control. Elizabeth Grosz, for example, re-reads Charles Darwin to discuss the biological processes that prepare bodies for social and cultural inscription based on difference.[10]

Lastly, Critical Materialism both emerges from a tradition of Marxist historical materialism and responds to the constructivism and deconstructionist criticism of classical Marxist approaches. The new critical materialism engages the effects of global capitalism in an era of climate crisis and rejects the view that discursive rewriting of subjectivity can radically disrupt the material conditions facing the globalized subject under neoliberal capital. Jason Edwards argues that we will need to remember the materialism of historical materialism in the requisite sense if we are to understand how these problems are the systemic product of the reproduction of modern capitalist societies and the international system of states.[11] Jason Moores Capitalism in the Web of Life has also contributed to recent critical materialist approaches by re-examining capitalism as a global ecological force, extracting surplus value from nature.[12] The critical materialist approach is thus not a revitalisation of classical Marxism, but rather a rereading of its critique of capital in an era of global complexity.

Regardless of discipline, all new materialisms embrace the vitality of matter, particularly as it encompasses the nonhuman as well as the human. Rejection of anthropocentrism aligns new materialisms with posthumanism, but also with speculative realism, a branch of philosophy that in recent years has posited whether questions of vitality, agency, and generative capability are appropriate for human and nonhuman matter alike. Although speculative realism and new materialisms align in their arguments for the dissolution of a human centre, they philosophically diverge in their positions on how we can understand a true ontology, and on matters agential and vital capabilities. The approaches of new materialisms extend the capacities of agential and vital qualities to the nonhuman and the material, while the speculative realist approach questions whether an ontology of matter can realistically consider these concepts in the first place.

While new materialists question the position of human-centred ontology, they often do so with the biopolitical bent of also questioning power structures that mark material bodies as subjects of power. In this way they continue to engage with the projects and political concerns of post-structuralism while extending the reach of these discourses into matters beyond the human and into material conditions beyond the linguistically constructed. Somewhat differently, object-oriented ontology is a speculative realist approach which considers the thing at centre, arguing that no entity has privileged ontological status over another, but rather that all things exist equally. Ian Bogosts Alien Phenomenology argues for thing-centred being, cautioning that positioning our centre around human concern precludes all things perception of the world.[13] Bogost and other object-oriented ontologists encourage us to consider perceiving objects as things, rather than filtering our perception of things through human experience.

Jane Bennett, one of the new materialisms leading thinkers, argues that nonhuman (and particularly nonbiological) matter is imbued with a liveliness that can exhibit distributed agency by forming assemblages of human and nonhuman actors. Bennetts 2010 book Vibrant Matter argues that agency is only distributed and is never the effect of intentionality. Bennetts thing-power exemplifies the ability of objects to manifest a lively kind of agency. She explains in her preface: Thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence of aliveness, constituting the outside of our own experience.[14] Vibrant Matter also brings to the foreground an extant but more latent history of vibrant or lively matter in Western philosophy. Bennett builds on the ideas of early twentieth-century critical vitalists, as well as the ideas of Deleuze and Guattari, to bring together materiality, affect, and vitalism.

New materialist transgressions of humanist subject/object dualism, ideas of distributed agency, and reconsiderations of traditional notions of life and death are not universally convincing, of course. Slavoj ieks 2014 book, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism, offers a critique of this new theoretical turn, arguing that in their attempt to dismantle traditional modern thinking, new materialisms re-inscribe humanist values by merely extending agency, vitality, and social phenomena to nonhuman material.[15] Nevertheless, the variety of interdisciplinary methodologies that form the new materialisms allow them to approach similar ontological questions in different ways, a move which seems promising for a theory placing a high value on increasing contact between disciplines in institutional knowledge production, and the entanglement of matter and ideological constructions.

University of California, Riverside, April 2018

[1] Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, Interview with Karen Barad, in New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies, ed. By Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin (Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2012), pp. 48-70 (p. 48).

[2] Material Feminisms, ed. by Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 1-19.

[3] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990).

[4] For an overview see Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman, eds. Material Feminisms (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 2008) and Manuela Rossini, To the Dogs: Companion Speciesism and the New Feminist Materialism, Kritikos 3 (Sept 2006).

[5] Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

[6] New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, ed. by Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 1-43.

[7] Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).

[8] Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).

[9] Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007).

[10] Elizabeth Grosz, In the Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2004).

[11] Jason Edwards, The Materialism of Historical Materialism, in New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, ed. by Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 281-298 (p. 282).

[12] Jason W. Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital (New York: Verso, 2015).

[13] Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology, or What Its Like to Be a Thing (Minneapolis: Minnesota Press, 2012).

[14] Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010).

[15] Slavoj iek, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism (New York: Verso, 2014).

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New Materialism(s) Critical Posthumanism Network

What is Posthumanism? – Cary Wolfe – Google Books

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanities-posthumanities-respond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe-one of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theory-ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandin’s writings, Wallace Stevens’s poetry, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

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What is Posthumanism? – Cary Wolfe – Google Books

Posthumanism | Transhumanism Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. WikiProject Philosophy may be able to help recruit one. (November 2008)

In literary and critical theory, posthumanism or post-humanism, meaning beyond humanism, is a major European continental philosophy of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It strives to move beyond the ideas and images of the world of Renaissance humanism to correspond more closely to the 21st century’s concepts of technoscientific knowledge.

Posthumanism mainly differentiates from classical humanism in that it restores the stature that had been made of humanity to one of many natural species. According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[1]

Ihab Hassan, critic, scholar, and theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated that “humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism”. This view predates the currents of posthumanism which have developed over the past twenty years in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Ihab Hassan is a scholar of literature and a known postmodernist whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernism in society.[1]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Ihab Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Bruno Latour, Shannon Bell, N. Katherine Hayles, Peter Sloterdijk and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers who have written about a “posthuman condition” (Robert Pepperell) which is often substituted for the term “posthumanism”.[1][2]

Posthumanism is sometimes used as a synonym for an ideology of technology known as “transhumanism” because it affirms the possibility and desirability of achieving a “posthuman future” in purely evolutionary terms. However, posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism, in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the flaws of Enlightenment humanism, namely scientific imperialism and perfectibilism.[3]

The posthuman or post-human, in critical theory, is a speculative being that represents or seeks to enact a re-writing of what is generally conceived of as human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions Renaissance humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, instead understanding the world through context and heterogeneous perspectives while maintaining scientific rigor and a dedication to objective observations of the world. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[4]

The posthuman, and posthumanism with it, are philosophical positions that overlap and are constantly engaged with much of postmodern philosophy, biotechnology, and evolutionary biology, so the field is constantly changing. The critical notion of the posthuman is isolated from these fields as the embodiment of critical engagement itself; that is to say that the posthuman is not necessarily human in the first place, but is rather an embodied medium through which critical consciousness is manifested.[citation needed]

Steve Nichols published the Post-Human Manifesto in 1988, and holds a contrarian view that human beings are already post-human compared to previous generations.[citation needed]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel DeLanda, decrying the term as “very silly.”[5] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell’s The Posthuman Condition, and N. Katherine Hayles’s How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the “cyborg” of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[6] Haraway’s conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway’s cyborg is in many ways the “beta” version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[7]

Following Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, whose book How We Became Posthuman grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanism – which separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a “shell” or vehicle for the mind – becomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology put the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technological advancements while understanding information as “disembodied,” that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[8]

The posthuman is a being that relies on context rather than relativity, on situated objectivity rather than universal objectivity, and on the creation of meaning through ‘play’ between constructions of informational pattern and reductions to the randomness of on/off switches, which are the foundation of digital binary systems.[citation needed]

de:Posthumanismuses:Posthumanismonl:Posthumanismefi:Posthumanismi

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(PDF) Posthumanism – ResearchGate

Universitetsforlaget 171

misleading, if taken as its ultimate state: on a subatomic level, everything is in con-

stant vibration. As famously demonstrated by Einstein (1905), matter and energy

are equivalent. Energy is intrinsically relational, as well as matter is irreducible to a

single determined entity; any reductionist approach has scientifically failed. From a

physics perspective, anything which has mass and volume is considered matter:

humans, for instance, are made out of matter, as well as robots. Let’s now go back to

our initial question: who am I? We are material networks of relations, fluctuant

becoming in symbiotic interaction with the others, the environment, our sur-

roundings; we are constant potentials. In nietzschean terms: we are a bridge

(Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 7). Human existence is related to any other form of

existence; nothing, in this dimension, is completely autonomous or totally inde-

pendent. In this sense, the field of epigenetics is significant, with its emphasis on the

heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms which are external to

the underlying DNA sequence. Posthumanism approaches the potentials opened by

biotechnology, nanotechnology, cybernetics, robotics and space migration, in an

ontological way, through Heidegger: technology is no mere means, but a way of

revealing (1953:12). We can thus talk of technologies of existence. Posthumanism

has to do with theoretical philosophy as well as with applied ethics. More extensiv-

ely, posthumanism can be perceived as a path of knowledge, which may eventually

turn into full awareness: we literally are what we eat, what we think, what we

breathe, what and who we connect to. Currently, posthumanism seems the most

open and sensitive critical frame to approach intellectual tasks, as well as daily prac-

tices of being. Since any existential performance has interconnected agency, post-

humanism will add to your perspective as much as your perspective will add to the

posthuman shift. More than an exchange (ex comes from Latin, meaning out),

it is an intra-change, a fluid entanglement of being, an expansion of material aware-

ness, a fractal movement of energy which will have simultaneously affected your

existence as well as the evolution of spacetime. This is why I think posthumanism is

something you want to know about.

references

Anzalda, Gloria 1987. Borderlands/La

Frontera: The Ne w Mestiza. San Francisco:

Aunt Lute Book s.

Barad, Karen 2007. Meeting the Universe Half-

way: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of

Matter and Meaning. Durham et al.: Duke Uni-

versity Press.

Braidotti, Rosi 1994. Nomadic Subjec ts:

Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemp-

orary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia

Universit y Press.

Braidotti, Rosi 2013. The Posthuman. Cam-

bridge, UK et al.: Polity Press.

Butler, Judith 1999 [1990]. Gender Trouble:

Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New

Yor k et a l.: Rou tle dge.

Crenshaw, Kimberle 1989. Demarginalizing

the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black

Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doc-

trine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.

The University of Chicago Legal Forum 139

167.

Einstein, Albert. 1905. Ist die Trgheit eines

Krpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhngig?

Annalen der Physik 18 (13):639643.

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Cary Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism? | Modern Philology: Vol …

As with many post-configurations, posthumanism is a term that elicits suspicion from some critics and scholars.Humanism is also such a term, and Cary Wolfe opens his aptly titled What Is Posthumanism? with a definition of humanismunfortunately, in this case, from Wikipedia. While the metacritical moment here may be thematically clever, the books straightforward title suggests …

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Posthumanism Theory – Technical Communication Body of …

About Posthumanism TheoryIn as brief a definition as possible, humanism is centered on the idea that human needs, values, concerns, and ideals are of the highest importance, or that the human being is the epitome of being. As a development of this idea, posthumanism is based on the notion that humankind can transcend the limitations of the physical human form. In a traditional sense, humans have been considered to be solidly and indisputably classified as high-functioning animals, but animals nonetheless. In this way, the same biological and physical constraints that limit the entire animal kingdom tether humankind to that base level. Posthumanism Theory suggests it is both possible and for the best for humans to attempt to surpass these limitations, often through the use of technology to augment biology (in a way, using the physiological capacity of the human brain to accelerate the functions of the entire human form).This progressive mentality is an important aspect of the human condition to consider in the course of modern document design and technical rhetoric. Operating under posthumanism ideals requires authors and creators to venture into the hypothetical and the unexplored because these are the areas that build upon and even improve what we already have established. Posthumanism holds this sentiment at heartthe idea that we, as humans, have no inherent barrier to making our physical and mental functionality much more efficient and powerful than it currently is. To apply these ideals to writing and rhetoric, there is the potential to incorporate the conventions of posthumanism both integrally and progressively. Integrally, a posthuman text should reflect the central ideas of posthumanism: what can authors do to make their texts transcend the perceived limitations of text and writing? How can documents be made to do more than what they currently can do, and how can their readability, usability, and accessibility be expanded? Progressively, a posthuman text should relatably adapt for evolutions in interaction: it might explore such questions as how will human interaction with documents change in the next 10, 20, 50, or 100 years? How can texts encourage mental expansion? What changes in technology can be predicted and accounted for in the delivery and interaction with documents and writing?Progressions in Usability and FunctionalityWhile the primary focus of posthumanist progression lies in the realm of higher technology, there are developments both in effect and yet to come that have much to do with technical writing and rhetoric. For many, many centuries, writing has been constrained to paper with static text. In more recent decades, the advent of computers and the Internet have caused documents to evolve and adapt. Institution of newer technologies allows for new methods of interactivity, which allow different senses to be utilized by human beings who interact with such documents. Through the use of technology, document designers and writers can allow their readers to interact at a more functional level which is more natural and fully engaging than mere reading.The qualities of new media enable documents and their interactive elements to tap into the human mind to a higher degree. In that way, technology is being utilized to better the human experience and tap into the full range of human capability. New developments in technology such as mobile phones, touch screens, e-readers, and other similar technology afford better interactivity and have evolved the way humans interact with their professional and social worlds. Technology is always changing to accommodate more natural, intuitive means of interactivitybut the most posthuman aspect of this technological innovation creep is the ubiquity of technology that allows delivery of writing and documents. Technology has filled in an accessibility gap that now grants access to documents and writing not only on printed paper, but on desktop computers, laptop computers, smartphones, and other such devices. This technology augments human beings’ functionality from two directionsit enhances the ability of the audience to read and respond to writing, and it also enhances the ability of the author to create and distribute his or her writing.Posthumanist rhetoric requires a full understanding of the operation of the human being as an entity, both collectively as an audience and singularly as individual readers. Writing and rhetoric are able to be at their most posthuman when they utilize technology to transcend the physicality of humans as well as the temporality of their existence. In this way, authors begin accommodating more means of delivery and spreading the availability and accessibility of documents in addition to making documents available at much more timely intervalseven as far as on-demand. Posthuman authors who embrace technological advances gain new dimensions of interactivity both within their text as well as in response to their text. A posthuman rhetoric mindset enables the document to blossom further as a medium as it works in harmony with the qualities of its audience and their humanity.

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Posthumanism – Wikipedia

This article is about a critique of anthropocentrism. For the futurist ideology and movement, see transhumanism.

Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning “after humanism” or “beyond humanism”) is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:[1]

Philosopher Ted Schatzki suggests there are two varieties of posthumanism of the philosophical kind:[12]

One, which he calls ‘objectivism’, tries to counter the overemphasis of the subjective or intersubjective that pervades humanism, and emphasises the role of the nonhuman agents, whether they be animals and plants, or computers or other things.[12]

A second prioritizes practices, especially social practices, over individuals (or individual subjects) which, they say, constitute the individual.[12]

There may be a third kind of posthumanism, propounded by the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Though he did not label it as ‘posthumanism’, he made an extensive and penetrating immanent critique of Humanism, and then constructed a philosophy that presupposed neither Humanist, nor Scholastic, nor Greek thought but started with a different religious ground motive.[13] Dooyeweerd prioritized law and meaningfulness as that which enables humanity and all else to exist, behave, live, occur, etc. “Meaning is the being of all that has been created,” Dooyeweerd wrote, “and the nature even of our selfhood.”[14] Both human and nonhuman alike function subject to a common ‘law-side’, which is diverse, composed of a number of distinct law-spheres or aspects.[15] The temporal being of both human and non-human is multi-aspectual; for example, both plants and humans are bodies, functioning in the biotic aspect, and both computers and humans function in the formative and lingual aspect, but humans function in the aesthetic, juridical, ethical and faith aspects too. The Dooyeweerdian version is able to incorporate and integrate both the objectivist version and the practices version, because it allows nonhuman agents their own subject-functioning in various aspects and places emphasis on aspectual functioning.[16]

Ihab Hassan, theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated:

Humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism.[17]

This view predates most currents of posthumanism which have developed over the late 20th century in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Hassan is a known scholar whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernity in society.[citation needed] Beyond postmodernist studies, posthumanism has been developed and deployed by various cultural theorists, often in reaction to problematic inherent assumptions within humanistic and enlightenment thought.[4]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, cyberneticists such as Gregory Bateson, Warren McCullouch, Norbert Wiener, Bruno Latour, Cary Wolfe, Elaine Graham, N. Katherine Hayles, Benjamin H. Bratton, Donna Haraway, Peter Sloterdijk, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Evan Thompson, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers, such as Robert Pepperell, who have written about a “posthuman condition”, which is often substituted for the term “posthumanism”.[5][6]

Posthumanism differs from classical humanism by relegating humanity back to one of many natural species, thereby rejecting any claims founded on anthropocentric dominance.[18] According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. Human rights exist on a spectrum with animal rights and posthuman rights.[19] The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[citation needed]

Proponents of a posthuman discourse, suggest that innovative advancements and emerging technologies have transcended the traditional model of the human, as proposed by Descartes among others associated with philosophy of the Enlightenment period.[20] In contrast to humanism, the discourse of posthumanism seeks to redefine the boundaries surrounding modern philosophical understanding of the human. Posthumanism represents an evolution of thought beyond that of the contemporary social boundaries and is predicated on the seeking of truth within a postmodern context. In so doing, it rejects previous attempts to establish ‘anthropological universals’ that are imbued with anthropocentric assumptions.[18]

The philosopher Michel Foucault placed posthumanism within a context that differentiated humanism from enlightenment thought. According to Foucault, the two existed in a state of tension: as humanism sought to establish norms while Enlightenment thought attempted to transcend all that is material, including the boundaries that are constructed by humanistic thought.[18] Drawing on the Enlightenments challenges to the boundaries of humanism, posthumanism rejects the various assumptions of human dogmas (anthropological, political, scientific) and takes the next step by attempting to change the nature of thought about what it means to be human. This requires not only decentering the human in multiple discourses (evolutionary, ecological, technological) but also examining those discourses to uncover inherent humanistic, anthropocentric, normative notions of humanness and the concept of the human.[4]

Posthumanistic discourse aims to open up spaces to examine what it means to be human and critically question the concept of “the human” in light of current cultural and historical contexts[4] In her book How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles, writes about the struggle between different versions of the posthuman as it continually co-evolves alongside intelligent machines.[21] Such coevolution, according to some strands of the posthuman discourse, allows one to extend their subjective understandings of real experiences beyond the boundaries of embodied existence. According to Hayles’s view of posthuman, often referred to as technological posthumanism, visual perception and digital representations thus paradoxically become ever more salient. Even as one seeks to extend knowledge by deconstructing perceived boundaries, it is these same boundaries that make knowledge acquisition possible. The use of technology in a contemporary society is thought to complicate this relationship.

Hayles discusses the translation of human bodies into information (as suggested by Hans Moravec) in order to illuminate how the boundaries of our embodied reality have been compromised in the current age and how narrow definitions of humanness no longer apply. Because of this, according to Hayles, posthumanism is characterized by a loss of subjectivity based on bodily boundaries.[4] This strand of posthumanism, including the changing notion of subjectivity and the disruption of ideas concerning what it means to be human, is often associated with Donna Haraways concept of the cyborg.[4] However, Haraway has distanced herself from posthumanistic discourse due to other theorists use of the term to promote utopian views of technological innovation to extend the human biological capacity[22] (even though these notions would more correctly fall into the realm of transhumanism[4]).

While posthumanism is a broad and complex ideology, it has relevant implications today and for the future. It attempts to redefine social structures without inherently humanly or even biological origins, but rather in terms of social and psychological systems where consciousness and communication could potentially exist as unique disembodied entities. Questions subsequently emerge with respect to the current use and the future of technology in shaping human existence,[18] as do new concerns with regards to language, symbolism, subjectivity, phenomenology, ethics, justice and creativity.[23]

Sociologist James Hughes comments that there is considerable confusion between the two terms.[24][25] In the introduction to their book on post- and transhumanism, Robert Ranisch and Stefan Sorgner address the source of this confusion, stating that posthumanism is often used as an umbrella term that includes both transhumanism and critical posthumanism.[24]

Although both subjects relate to the future of humanity, they differ in their view of anthropocentrism. Pramod Nayar, author of Posthumanism, states that posthumanism has two main branches: ontological and critical.[26] Ontological posthumanism is synonymous with transhumanism. The subject is regarded as an intensification of humanism.[27] Transhumanist thought suggests that humans are not post human yet, but that human enhancement, often through technological advancement and application, is the passage of becoming post human. [28] Transhumanism retains humanisms focus on the homo sapien as the center of the world but also considers technology to be an integral aid to human progression. Critical posthumanism, however, is opposed to these views. Critical posthumanism rejects both human exceptionalism (the idea that humans are unique creatures) and human instrumentalism (that humans have a right to control the natural world).[26] These contrasting views on the importance of human beings are the main distinctions between the two subjects.

Transhumanism is also more ingrained in popular culture than critical posthumanism, especially in science fiction. The term is referred to by Pramod Nayar as “the pop posthumanism of cinema and pop culture.”[26]

Some critics have argued that all forms of posthumanism, including transhumanism, have more in common than their respective proponents realize.[29] Linking these different approaches, Paul James suggests that ‘the key political problem is that, in effect, the position allows the human as a category of being to flow down the plughole of history’:

This is ontologically critical. Unlike the naming of postmodernism where the post does not infer the end of what it previously meant to be human (just the passing of the dominance of the modern) the posthumanists are playing a serious game where the human, in all its ontological variability, disappears in the name of saving something unspecified about us as merely a motley co-location of individuals and communities.[30]

However, some posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism (the brunt of Paul James’s criticism), in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the values of Enlightenment humanism and classical liberalism, namely scientism, according to performance philosopher Shannon Bell:[31]

Altruism, mutualism, humanism are the soft and slimy virtues that underpin liberal capitalism. Humanism has always been integrated into discourses of exploitation: colonialism, imperialism, neoimperialism, democracy, and of course, American democratization. One of the serious flaws in transhumanism is the importation of liberal-human values to the biotechno enhancement of the human. Posthumanism has a much stronger critical edge attempting to develop through enactment new understandings of the self and others, essence, consciousness, intelligence, reason, agency, intimacy, life, embodiment, identity and the body.[31]

While many modern leaders of thought are accepting of nature of ideologies described by posthumanism, some are more skeptical of the term. Donna Haraway, the author of A Cyborg Manifesto, has outspokenly rejected the term, though acknowledges a philosophical alignment with posthumanism. Haraway opts instead for the term of companion species, referring to nonhuman entities with which humans coexist.[22]

Questions of race, some argue, are suspiciously elided within the “turn” to posthumanism. Noting that the terms “post” and “human” are already loaded with racial meaning, critical theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson argues that the impulse to move “beyond” the human within posthumanism too often ignores “praxes of humanity and critiques produced by black people”, including Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire to Hortense Spillers and Fred Moten. Interrogating the conceptual grounds in which such a mode of beyond is rendered legible and viable, Jackson argues that it is important to observe that “blackness conditions and constitutes the very nonhuman disruption and/or disruption” which posthumanists invite. In other words, given that race in general and blackness in particular constitutes the very terms through which human/nonhuman distinctions are made, for example in enduring legacies of scientific racism, a gesture toward a beyond actually returns us to a Eurocentric transcendentalism long challenged.

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What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

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Beyond humanism and anthropocentrism

Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many? Exploring this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanitys place in the world by both the technological and the biological or green continuum in which the human is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfeone of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theoryranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandins writings, Wallace Stevenss poetry, Lars von Triers Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Enos My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

Cary Wolfe holds the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Chair in English at Rice University. His previous books include Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the Outside, Observing Complexity: Systems Theory and Postmodernity, and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal, all published by the University of Minnesota Press.

What Is Posthumanism? is an original, thoroughly argued, fundamental redefinition and refocusing of posthumanism. Firmly distinguishing posthumanism from discourses of the posthuman or transhumanism, this book will be at the center of discussion for a long time to come.

Donna Haraway, author of When Species Meet

Wolfe offers a smart, provocative account of posthumanism as an idea and as a way of thinking that has consequences extending from the way universities are organized to decisions regarding public policy bioethics. Although his writing is complex and demanding, the ethical and ecological urgency with which he frames his readings combines with the wide, diversified scope of his scholarship to make this a work to be reckoned with.

Wolfes book, without a doubt, supplies important insights.

Wolfe has created an incredibly useful primer on posthumanist theory. For anyone attempting to engage in academic work relating to these theories, this book is a highly recommended starting point.

Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley

It is one of those books that sucks you in almost immediately.

ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Readers . . . will find Wolfes analysis of both visual and audio culture to be thought-provoking.

Science Fiction Film and Television

It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts.

Science, Culture, Integrated Yoga

What Is Posthumanism? is an intelligent, extensively argued and challenging work.

Wolfes work shifts the tired terms of the debate in new and needed directions, offering strength and strategies to all those for whom simplistic, technophilic accounts of the posthuman condition are a smooth road to nowhere different.

Electronic Book Review

Tremendous intellectual, scholarly, and artistic breadth.

As a blueprint for where a posthumanist approach could take cultural theory, his book is conceptually invaluable.

Wolfes posthumanism is brilliant in the way it allows us to realize that each of these species might have different forms of perception, different ways of being in the world, and that those differences are actually analogous with otherness among human beings.

Wolfe deserves credit for a rich set of discussions that, taken together, bring out the interest of the intellectual trend that he calls posthumanism.

UMP blog: Discovering the HUMAN

3/24/2010Part of the unfortunate fallout of the conceptual apparatus of humanism is that it gives us an overly simple picturea fantasy, reallyof what the human is. Consider, for example, the rise of what is often called transhumanism, often taken to be a defining discourse of posthumanism (as in Ray Kurzweils work on the singularitythe historical moment at which engineering developments such as nanotechnology enable us to transcend our physical and biological limitations as embodied beings, ushering in a new phase of evolution). As many of its proponents freely admit, the philosophical ideals of transhumanism are quite identifiably humanistnot only in their dream of transcending the life of the body and our animal origins but also in their investment in the ideals of human perfectibility, rationality, autonomy, and agency. Read more …

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posthumanism | Definition of posthumanism in English by …

nounScience Fiction

The idea that humanity can be transformed, transcended, or eliminated either by technological advances or the evolutionary process; artistic, scientific, or philosophical practice which reflects this belief.

1970s. From post-human + -ism. Compare earlier post-humanism.

posthumanism/psthjumnz()m/

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human.[1] The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity.

Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.[2] The notion of the posthuman comes up both in posthumanism as well as transhumanism, but it has a special meaning in each tradition. In 2017, Penn State University Press in cooperation with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and James Hughes (sociologist) established the “Journal of Posthuman Studies”[3] in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[4]

In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[5]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel de Landa, decrying the term as “very silly.”[6] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell’s The Posthuman Condition, and Hayles’s How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the “cyborg” of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[citation needed] Haraway’s conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway’s cyborg is in many ways the “beta” version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[7] Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanismwhich separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a “shell” or vehicle for the mindbecomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology puts the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technology advancements while understanding information as “disembodied,” that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[8]

The idea of post-posthumanism (post-cyborgism) has recently been introduced.[9][10][11][12][13]This body of work outlines the after-effects of long-term adaptation to cyborg technologies and their subsequent removal, e.g., what happens after 20 years of constantly wearing computer-mediating eyeglass technologies and subsequently removing them, and of long-term adaptation to virtual worlds followed by return to “reality.”[14][15] and the associated post-cyborg ethics (e.g. the ethics of forced removal of cyborg technologies by authorities, etc.).[16]

Posthuman political and natural rights have been framed on a spectrum with animal rights and human rights.[17] Posthumanism broadens the scope of what it means to be a valued life form and to be treated as such (in contrast to certain life forms being seen as less-than and being taken advantage of or killed off); it calls for a more inclusive definition of life, and a greater moral-ethical response, and responsibility, to non-human life forms in the age of species blurring and species mixing. [I]t interrogates the hierarchic ordering and subsequently exploitation and even eradication of life forms. [18]

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being “whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards.”[19] Posthumans primarily focus on cybernetics, the posthuman consequent and the relationship to digital technology. The emphasis is on systems. Transhumanism does not focus on either of these. Instead, transhumanism focuses on the modification of the human species via any kind of emerging science, including genetic engineering, digital technology, and bioengineering.[20]

Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.[19]

As used in this article, “posthuman” does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky[citation needed] and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regard to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.[21] Recently, scholars have begun to speculate that posthumanism provides an alternative analysis of apocalyptic cinema and fiction, often casting vampires, werewolves and even zombies as potential evolutions of the human form and being.[22]

Many science fiction authors, such as Greg Egan, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton and authors of the Orion’s Arm Universe,[23] have written works set in posthuman futures.

A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a “posthuman god”; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.[19] This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may “ascend” to a higher plane of existencerather, it merely means that some posthuman beings may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that their behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination.[24]

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