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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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, 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]

Continued here:

Posthuman – Wikipedia

ETHConference2018

WITH JOLLE PROUST, BERNARD STIEGLER, PAUL JORION, STEFAN LORENZ SORGNER, ANDERS SANDBERG…

ENGLISH/FRENCH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

For a few years now, transhumanism has been a movement of thought whose influence can no longer be denied, both internationally within the media and in the academic, political, and economic worlds. However, recognising the emergence of a phenomenon is not the same as knowing it. Many questions remain unanswered about the very nature of transhumanism(s).

The purpose of ETHConference2018 is to analyze the current state of the art on these questions, exploring transhumanisms and their narratives. More broadly, the conference welcomes all abstract, panel and participatory workshop proposals related to transhumanism, posthumanism, hyperhumanism and their many related topics. Proposals from a wide range of disciplines are warmly welcomed.

TheConference is organised in such way that it will enable different audiences (scholars, professionals, citizens, politicians,…) to intermingle, combining the ambition and usual components of a high-level academic event (talks, panels, round tables,…)and a thought-provoking off-conference range of artistic,pedagogicaland cultural activities (audience-focused scientific workshops, participatory forums, predictive justice debating, theatre performance,public discussion of a cult film, a transhumanism-themed escape game, and others).

Go here to read the rest:

ETHConference2018

Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford …

This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker 1972, presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. As an ethnologist and comparative literature scholar, Meeker helped to pioneer the critical discussion of ecocriticism in what he called literary ecologies. Following Meeker, Rueckert 1996 (first published 1978) actually coined the term ecocriticism, arguing for a way to find the grounds upon which the two communitiesthe human, the naturalcan coexist, cooperate, and flourish in the biosphere (p. 107). Love 1996 builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years. Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the 1990sparalleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studieslargely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays), the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell 1995, another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure. Kerridge and Sammells 1998 (cited under Collections of Essays), which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 and Buell 1995. Phillips 2003 offers a skeptical and refreshing critique of ecocriticism amid otherwise quite praiseworthybordering on mysticalcelebrations of nature in the scholarship of the 1990s. Garrard 2012 (first published 2004), along with Coupe 2000 (under Anthologies) and Armbruster and Wallace 2001 (under Nature Writing), serves as a political and theoretical turn in ecocriticism because it addresses more of the second wave concerns about animals, globality, and apocalypse. Clark 2011 is a contemporary overview that integrates a unified critical history of the waves, including nature writing, literary periods, theory, and activism, while it also provides sample readings that deploy specific ecocritical methods to literary texts. Garrard 2014 is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996. (See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.)

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

E-mail Citation

Looks back at the history of American nature writing through literary analysiswith Thoreaus Walden as a reference pointto establish a history of environmental perception and imagination. It examines how humanistic thought, particularly through literary nonfiction, can imagine a more ecocentric or green way of living. (See also Nature Writing.)

Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

E-mail Citation

Provides updated introductory material to previous studies. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge, 2012.

E-mail Citation

Examines a wide range of literary and cultural works. Two notable strengths: (1) it acknowledges the political dimension of ecocriticism; and (2) it explores a range of issues, from animal studies and definitions of wilderness and nature, to postapocalyptic narratives. It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in 2004.

Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

E-mail Citation

One of the most ambitious collections to date, with thirty-four chapters, this book is aimed at both general readers and students, but it also revisits the previous twenty years of ecocriticism to offer contemporary readings from the most prominent names in the field. It is an essential work for ecocritics.

Love, Glen. Revaluating Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 225240. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

E-mail Citation

Argues that literary studies must engage with the environmental crisis rather than remaining unresponsive. This essay advocates for revaluing a nature-focused literature away from an ego-consciousness to an eco-consciousness (p. 232). Originally published in 1990. See also Loves Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

Meeker, Joseph. The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology. New York: Scribners, 1972.

E-mail Citation

One of the founding works of ecocriticism. It spans many centurieslooking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.O. Wilsonand analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. The comedy of survival is at its core an ecological concept.

Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137699.001.0001E-mail Citation

One of the more prominent critiques of ecocritical theory, this book challenges neo-Romantic themes explored by ecocritics, many of which Phillips argues support the use of mimesis as a standard way to read environments, instead of looking at more pragmatic approaches.

Rueckert, William. Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 105123. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

E-mail Citation

Notable primarily because it was the first publication to use the term ecocriticism as an environmentally minded literary analysis that discovers something about the ecology of literature (p. 71). Originally published in 1978.

View original post here:

Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford …

ETHConference2018

WITH JOLLE PROUST, BERNARD STIEGLER, PAUL JORION, STEFAN LORENZ SORGNER, ANDERS SANDBERG…

ENGLISH/FRENCH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

For a few years now, transhumanism has been a movement of thought whose influence can no longer be denied, both internationally within the media and in the academic, political, and economic worlds. However, recognising the emergence of a phenomenon is not the same as knowing it. Many questions remain unanswered about the very nature of transhumanism(s).

The purpose of ETHConference2018 is to analyze the current state of the art on these questions, exploring transhumanisms and their narratives. More broadly, the conference welcomes all abstract, panel and participatory workshop proposals related to transhumanism, posthumanism, hyperhumanism and their many related topics. Proposals from a wide range of disciplines are warmly welcomed.

TheConference is organised in such way that it will enable different audiences (scholars, professionals, citizens, politicians,…) to intermingle, combining the ambition and usual components of a high-level academic event (talks, panels, round tables,…)and a thought-provoking off-conference range of artistic,pedagogicaland cultural activities (audience-focused scientific workshops, participatory forums, predictive justice debating, theatre performance,public discussion of a cult film, a transhumanism-themed escape game, and others).

View original post here:

ETHConference2018

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, 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]

More here:

Posthuman – Wikipedia

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, 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]

More:

Posthuman – Wikipedia

ETHConference2018

WITH JOLLE PROUST, BERNARD STIEGLER, PAUL JORION, STEFAN LORENZ SORGNER, ANDERS SANDBERG…

ENGLISH/FRENCH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

For a few years now, transhumanism has been a movement of thought whose influence can no longer be denied, both internationally within the media and in the academic, political, and economic worlds. However, recognising the emergence of a phenomenon is not the same as knowing it. Many questions remain unanswered about the very nature of transhumanism(s).

The purpose of ETHConference2018 is to analyze the current state of the art on these questions, exploring transhumanisms and their narratives. More broadly, the conference welcomes all abstract, panel and participatory workshop proposals related to transhumanism, posthumanism, hyperhumanism and their many related topics. Proposals from a wide range of disciplines are warmly welcomed.

TheConference is organised in such way that it will enable different audiences (scholars, professionals, citizens, politicians,…) to intermingle, combining the ambition and usual components of a high-level academic event (talks, panels, round tables,…)and a thought-provoking off-conference range of artistic,pedagogicaland cultural activities (audience-focused scientific workshops, participatory forums, predictive justice debating, theatre performance,public discussion of a cult film, a transhumanism-themed escape game, and others).

Read the original:

ETHConference2018

Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford …

Introduction

Ecocriticism is a broad way for literary and cultural scholars to investigate the global ecological crisis through the intersection of literature, culture, and the physical environment. Ecocriticism originated as an idea called literary ecology (Meeker 1972, cited under General Overviews) and was later coined as an -ism (Rueckert 1996, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism expanded as a widely used literary and cultural theory by the early 1990s with the formation of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) at the Western Literary Association (1992), followed by the launch of the flagship journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (cited under Journals) in 1993, and then later the publication of The Ecocriticism Reader (Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, cited under Collections of Essays). Ecocriticism is often used as a catchall term for any aspect of the humanities (e.g., media, film, philosophy, and history) addressing ecological issues, but it primarily functions as a literary and cultural theory. This is not to say that ecocriticism is confined to literature and culture; scholarship often incorporates science, ethics, politics, philosophy, economics, and aesthetics across institutional and national boundaries (Clark 2011, p. 8, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism remains difficult to define. Originally, scholars wanted to employ a literary analysis rooted in a culture of ecological thinking, which would also contain moral and social commitments to activism. As Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays) famously states, ecocriticism takes an earth-centred approach to literary studies, rather than an anthropomorphic or human-centered approach (p. xviii). Many refer to ecocriticism synonymously as the study of literature and the environment (rooted in literary studies) or environmental criticism (interdisciplinary and cultural). Ecocriticism has been divided into waves to historicize the movement in a clear trajectory (Buell 2005, cited under Ecocritical Futures). The first wave of ecocriticism tended to take a dehistoricized approach to nature, often overlooking more political and theoretical dimensions and tending toward a celebratory approach of wilderness and nature writing. Ecocriticism expanded into a second wave, offering new ways of approaching literary analysis by, for example, theorizing and deconstructing human-centered scholarship in ecostudies; imperialism and ecological degradation; agency for animals and plants; gender and race as ecological concepts; and problems of scale. The third wave advocates for a global understanding of ecocritical practice through issues like global warming; it combines elements from the first and second waves but aims to move beyond Anglo-American prominence. There are currently hundreds of books and thousands of articles and chapters written about ecocriticism.

This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker 1972, presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. As an ethnologist and comparative literature scholar, Meeker helped to pioneer the critical discussion of ecocriticism in what he called literary ecologies. Following Meeker, Rueckert 1996 (first published 1978) actually coined the term ecocriticism, arguing for a way to find the grounds upon which the two communitiesthe human, the naturalcan coexist, cooperate, and flourish in the biosphere (p. 107). Love 1996 builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years. Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the 1990sparalleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studieslargely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays), the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell 1995, another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure. Kerridge and Sammells 1998 (cited under Collections of Essays), which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 and Buell 1995. Phillips 2003 offers a skeptical and refreshing critique of ecocriticism amid otherwise quite praiseworthybordering on mysticalcelebrations of nature in the scholarship of the 1990s. Garrard 2012 (first published 2004), along with Coupe 2000 (under Anthologies) and Armbruster and Wallace 2001 (under Nature Writing), serves as a political and theoretical turn in ecocriticism because it addresses more of the second wave concerns about animals, globality, and apocalypse. Clark 2011 is a contemporary overview that integrates a unified critical history of the waves, including nature writing, literary periods, theory, and activism, while it also provides sample readings that deploy specific ecocritical methods to literary texts. Garrard 2014 is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996. (See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.)

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

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Looks back at the history of American nature writing through literary analysiswith Thoreaus Walden as a reference pointto establish a history of environmental perception and imagination. It examines how humanistic thought, particularly through literary nonfiction, can imagine a more ecocentric or green way of living. (See also Nature Writing.)

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Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Provides updated introductory material to previous studies. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.

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Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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Examines a wide range of literary and cultural works. Two notable strengths: (1) it acknowledges the political dimension of ecocriticism; and (2) it explores a range of issues, from animal studies and definitions of wilderness and nature, to postapocalyptic narratives. It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in 2004.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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One of the most ambitious collections to date, with thirty-four chapters, this book is aimed at both general readers and students, but it also revisits the previous twenty years of ecocriticism to offer contemporary readings from the most prominent names in the field. It is an essential work for ecocritics.

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Love, Glen. Revaluating Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 225240. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Argues that literary studies must engage with the environmental crisis rather than remaining unresponsive. This essay advocates for revaluing a nature-focused literature away from an ego-consciousness to an eco-consciousness (p. 232). Originally published in 1990. See also Loves Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

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Meeker, Joseph. The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology. New York: Scribners, 1972.

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One of the founding works of ecocriticism. It spans many centurieslooking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.O. Wilsonand analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. The comedy of survival is at its core an ecological concept.

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Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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One of the more prominent critiques of ecocritical theory, this book challenges neo-Romantic themes explored by ecocritics, many of which Phillips argues support the use of mimesis as a standard way to read environments, instead of looking at more pragmatic approaches.

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Rueckert, William. Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 105123. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Notable primarily because it was the first publication to use the term ecocriticism as an environmentally minded literary analysis that discovers something about the ecology of literature (p. 71). Originally published in 1978.

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Ecocritical scholarship owes a great debt to environmental philosophers, historians, sociologists, and biologists who have helped to conceptualize the relationship among humans, nonhumans, nature, and culture. Although a complete list of possible influential writings would be enormous, the following provides a brief outline of some instrumental works. Leopold 1949, from a conservationist perspective, is a monumental work that challenges anthropocentric thinking with the now famous concept of Thinking like a Mountain as part of The Land Ethic. Carson 2002 (first published 1962) challenged the industrial-chemical complex by arguing that the use pesticides are, contrary to popular science at the time, both socially and environmentally harmful. Whereas Carson pioneered the activist strain in ecocriticism, Marx 2000 (first published 1964) did so through literary and historical criticism by questioning the American pastoral imagination as an environmental threat. White 1996 (first published 1967) located the root cause of the historical ecological crisis in Judeo-Christian values. White, along with many other later ecological writings, condemned Judeo-Christian theology for neglecting to care for the present physical world in anticipation of the eternal one hereafter. Rooted in cultural and Marxist theory, Williams 1973 adroitly analyzed the urban-rural dialectic between the city and country. This work partly influenced ecocritical scholarship to challenge the Eurocentric divide between nature and culture. Nash 1989 brought the ethical and social ecological dimension into contemporary debates by promoting the rights of nonhuman organisms. Williams 1992 is a multi-genre personal account of the ecological crisis; it has become a widely read work in classrooms as well as cited in ecocritical scholarship.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

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Considered by many to have initiated the contemporary environmental and ecological movements. It addresses the systemic problem of environmental degradation brought on by corporate industry and advocates for protection through public awareness and resistance. Originally published in 1962.

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Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

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Calls for a revolutionary Land Ethic as an environmental philosophy that every human should follow: A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise (p. 189). Reprinted in 2001.

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Marx, Leo. The Machine and the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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Largely a book about pastoralism in 19th- and 20th-century America, it traces the history of technology in society and culture. It argues that pastoralisma utopian theme of expansive landscapes for settlement and utilityhas and continues to define the environmental consciousness of America. Originally published in 1964.

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Nash, Roderick Frazier. The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

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Demonstrates the influence of environmentalism in various intellectual fields. It catalogues the green wave in society and politics, and questions the rights of other nonhuman organisms. As a piece of social ecology and environmental philosophy, it was a major influence on ecocriticism.

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White, Lynn, Jr. The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 314. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This famous essay reconsiders how cultural influence and social conditioningthrough beliefs and valuescan affect environmental consciousness. Specifically, the essay criticizes Judeo-Christianity for supporting anthropocentric superiority. Giving humans a licence to dominate the natural world has led to the contemporary environmental crisis. Originally published in 1967.

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Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

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Contextualizes the dialectic between rural and urban thinking that has divided culture from environments for centuries. Often framed as a pastoral critique from a Marxist perspective, this book anticipates holistic discussions about the integration of built and nonbuilt environments in contemporary ecocritical discourses.

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Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge. New York: Vintage, 1992.

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Part memoir, part naturalist writing, part tragedy, this book explores Williamss experience watching her mothers death from breast cancer while also watching the destruction of a bird sanctuary through flooding. It remains one of the most influential narrative books of ecocritical studies (e.g., see Narrative Ecocriticism).

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There have been massive amounts of collections of essays about ecocriticism, offering a diverse range of writings on interdisciplinary topics, which is what ecocriticism accomplishes as a literary and cultural theory. This list offers some of the noteworthy publications across many subjects, beginning with Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, which serves as both an anthology of previous publications (e.g., Meeker 1972, Rueckert 1996, and Love 1996, cited under General Overviews, Silko 1996, cited under Critical Race Studies), as well as many new essays at the time of its publication. Bennett and Teague 1999 is particularly significant for including urban or built environments as a central part of the ecocritical discussion; it helped to challenge the idea that ecocriticism focuses on tradition notions of nature. Slovic and Branch 2003 bridges the gap between the first and second waves of ecocritical studies, where scholars took a decidedly more theoretical turn in scholarship. Goodbody and Rigby 2011 largely differs from others in this list because it assemble an original collection focused on European ecocritical theory (see also Global Perspectives). Turning to pedagogy, Garrard 2012 is one of several collections on teaching ecocriticism in the classroom, a trend that began with Waages Teaching Environmental Literature: Materials, Methods, Resources (1985). Lynch, et al. 2012 also contains a section on pedagogy, but it is couched in the larger analysis of bioregional thinking (local community and sustainable culture). Westling 2013 is a collection on contemporary literary and cultural environmental concerns in the widely read Cambridge Companion series.

Bennett, Michael, and David W. Teague, eds. The Nature of Cities: Ecocriticism and Urban Environments. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.

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The essays in this volume invite readers to think about the environment as a larger and more holistic concept, moving away from the separation of nonbuilt (nature) and built (cities) environments. It remains one of the few works about urban ecocriticism.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. Teaching Ecocriticism and Green Cultural Studies. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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Emphasizes the roots of ecocriticism as a teaching-activist-scholarly pursuit through a range of collected essays. This book stands out as one of the few collections or monographs to focus entirely on the pedagogy and practice of a green literary and cultural study.

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Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This landmark publication in the field is both collection and anthology; it provides previously published essays (e.g., Lynne White Jr., William Rueckert, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko), along with many original essays. It introduces the critical concept of ecocriticism as a response to the global environmental crisis.

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Goodbody, Axel, and Kate Rigby, eds. Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.

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Noteworthy for representing a distinctively European ecocriticism, providing a break from the dominant North American voice. This collection theorizies ecocriticism, while keeping the practice and activist element intact, through European philosophy, theorists, and environmental thinkers.

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Kerridge, Richard, and Neil Sammells, eds. Writing the Environment: Ecocriticism and Literature. London: Zed Books, 1998.

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Serves as one of the early collections in the field and provides samples of what ecocritics do (p. 8). This collection contains essays on race and environmental justice, childrens environmental literature, pop culture, and body politics.

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Lynch, Tom, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster, eds. The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

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Aims to explain the idea in literary criticism of bioregionalisma sustainable sense of place on a day-to-day scale that we can inhabit beyond national or political boundaries. This collection is skilfully arranged in four sections: Reinhabiting, Rereading, Reimaging, and Renewal (forming a bioregional pedagogy).

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Slovic, Scott, and Michael Branch, eds. The ISLE Reader: Ecocriticism, 19932003. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2003.

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Based upon early essays published in the flagship ecocritical journal ISLE, this collection charts a thorough trajectory of the essays that defined the ecocritical movement in the 1990s. It provides an excellent overview of earlier prominent ecocritical scholarship in essay form.

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Westling, Louise, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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Offers a range of introductory writings on ecocriticism, as other collections in this list do, but provides a more contemporary approach. Despite the title, it also includes essays about cinema and ecotheory as well.

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This section includes some of the more widely used anthologies that reproduce excerpts of previously published works by writers, essayists, travelers, and poets in environmental literature and culture. Lyon 1989 is as an early anthology used in environmental writing courses in the early to mid-1990s, during the early expansion of ecocriticism as a field. Another batch of anthologies emerged on the market in the late 1990s. Halpern and Frank 1998 diversifies the range of nature and environmental writers and even includes some international figures. Anderson, et al. 2013 is a comprehensive textbook and reader that differs from many of the readers in this list, which mainly reproduce experts of previously published material. Many of the earlier volumesLyon 1989, Halpern and Frank 1998, and even Branch 2004, the latter of which focuses on the origins of nature writingresemble each other in content and approach. The later volumes, starting with Coupe 2000, begin to address a wider range of second wave concerns. Coupe provides an extensive overview of literary periods in ecocriticism, beginning with the Romantics. Fisher-Wirth and Street 2013 is a volume devoted entirely to American environmental poetry. Hiltner 2014 is the most recent and comprehensive reader in this list, except for perhaps Coupe 2000, although it does not offer the pedagogical elements that Anderson, et al. 2013 does. A significant gap at the moment in ecocritical anthologies remains the lack of a complete anthology of environmental writers from around the globe.

Anderson, Lorraine, Scott P. Slovic, and John P. OGrady, eds. Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture. New York: Pearson Longman, 2013.

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Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford …

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, 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]

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.”[18] 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.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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,[22] 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.[18] 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.[23]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford Bibliographies

Introduction

Ecocriticism is a broad way for literary and cultural scholars to investigate the global ecological crisis through the intersection of literature, culture, and the physical environment. Ecocriticism originated as an idea called literary ecology (Meeker 1972, cited under General Overviews) and was later coined as an -ism (Rueckert 1996, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism expanded as a widely used literary and cultural theory by the early 1990s with the formation of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) at the Western Literary Association (1992), followed by the launch of the flagship journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (cited under Journals) in 1993, and then later the publication of The Ecocriticism Reader (Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, cited under Collections of Essays). Ecocriticism is often used as a catchall term for any aspect of the humanities (e.g., media, film, philosophy, and history) addressing ecological issues, but it primarily functions as a literary and cultural theory. This is not to say that ecocriticism is confined to literature and culture; scholarship often incorporates science, ethics, politics, philosophy, economics, and aesthetics across institutional and national boundaries (Clark 2011, p. 8, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism remains difficult to define. Originally, scholars wanted to employ a literary analysis rooted in a culture of ecological thinking, which would also contain moral and social commitments to activism. As Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays) famously states, ecocriticism takes an earth-centred approach to literary studies, rather than an anthropomorphic or human-centered approach (p. xviii). Many refer to ecocriticism synonymously as the study of literature and the environment (rooted in literary studies) or environmental criticism (interdisciplinary and cultural). Ecocriticism has been divided into waves to historicize the movement in a clear trajectory (Buell 2005, cited under Ecocritical Futures). The first wave of ecocriticism tended to take a dehistoricized approach to nature, often overlooking more political and theoretical dimensions and tending toward a celebratory approach of wilderness and nature writing. Ecocriticism expanded into a second wave, offering new ways of approaching literary analysis by, for example, theorizing and deconstructing human-centered scholarship in ecostudies; imperialism and ecological degradation; agency for animals and plants; gender and race as ecological concepts; and problems of scale. The third wave advocates for a global understanding of ecocritical practice through issues like global warming; it combines elements from the first and second waves but aims to move beyond Anglo-American prominence. There are currently hundreds of books and thousands of articles and chapters written about ecocriticism.

This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker 1972, presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. As an ethnologist and comparative literature scholar, Meeker helped to pioneer the critical discussion of ecocriticism in what he called literary ecologies. Following Meeker, Rueckert 1996 (first published 1978) actually coined the term ecocriticism, arguing for a way to find the grounds upon which the two communitiesthe human, the naturalcan coexist, cooperate, and flourish in the biosphere (p. 107). Love 1996 builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years. Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the 1990sparalleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studieslargely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays), the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell 1995, another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure. Kerridge and Sammells 1998 (cited under Collections of Essays), which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 and Buell 1995. Phillips 2003 offers a skeptical and refreshing critique of ecocriticism amid otherwise quite praiseworthybordering on mysticalcelebrations of nature in the scholarship of the 1990s. Garrard 2012 (first published 2004), along with Coupe 2000 (under Anthologies) and Armbruster and Wallace 2001 (under Nature Writing), serves as a political and theoretical turn in ecocriticism because it addresses more of the second wave concerns about animals, globality, and apocalypse. Clark 2011 is a contemporary overview that integrates a unified critical history of the waves, including nature writing, literary periods, theory, and activism, while it also provides sample readings that deploy specific ecocritical methods to literary texts. Garrard 2014 is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996. (See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.)

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

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Looks back at the history of American nature writing through literary analysiswith Thoreaus Walden as a reference pointto establish a history of environmental perception and imagination. It examines how humanistic thought, particularly through literary nonfiction, can imagine a more ecocentric or green way of living. (See also Nature Writing.)

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Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Provides updated introductory material to previous studies. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.

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Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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Examines a wide range of literary and cultural works. Two notable strengths: (1) it acknowledges the political dimension of ecocriticism; and (2) it explores a range of issues, from animal studies and definitions of wilderness and nature, to postapocalyptic narratives. It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in 2004.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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One of the most ambitious collections to date, with thirty-four chapters, this book is aimed at both general readers and students, but it also revisits the previous twenty years of ecocriticism to offer contemporary readings from the most prominent names in the field. It is an essential work for ecocritics.

Find this resource:

Love, Glen. Revaluating Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 225240. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Argues that literary studies must engage with the environmental crisis rather than remaining unresponsive. This essay advocates for revaluing a nature-focused literature away from an ego-consciousness to an eco-consciousness (p. 232). Originally published in 1990. See also Loves Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

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Meeker, Joseph. The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology. New York: Scribners, 1972.

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One of the founding works of ecocriticism. It spans many centurieslooking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.O. Wilsonand analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. The comedy of survival is at its core an ecological concept.

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Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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One of the more prominent critiques of ecocritical theory, this book challenges neo-Romantic themes explored by ecocritics, many of which Phillips argues support the use of mimesis as a standard way to read environments, instead of looking at more pragmatic approaches.

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Rueckert, William. Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 105123. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Notable primarily because it was the first publication to use the term ecocriticism as an environmentally minded literary analysis that discovers something about the ecology of literature (p. 71). Originally published in 1978.

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Ecocritical scholarship owes a great debt to environmental philosophers, historians, sociologists, and biologists who have helped to conceptualize the relationship among humans, nonhumans, nature, and culture. Although a complete list of possible influential writings would be enormous, the following provides a brief outline of some instrumental works. Leopold 1949, from a conservationist perspective, is a monumental work that challenges anthropocentric thinking with the now famous concept of Thinking like a Mountain as part of The Land Ethic. Carson 2002 (first published 1962) challenged the industrial-chemical complex by arguing that the use pesticides are, contrary to popular science at the time, both socially and environmentally harmful. Whereas Carson pioneered the activist strain in ecocriticism, Marx 2000 (first published 1964) did so through literary and historical criticism by questioning the American pastoral imagination as an environmental threat. White 1996 (first published 1967) located the root cause of the historical ecological crisis in Judeo-Christian values. White, along with many other later ecological writings, condemned Judeo-Christian theology for neglecting to care for the present physical world in anticipation of the eternal one hereafter. Rooted in cultural and Marxist theory, Williams 1973 adroitly analyzed the urban-rural dialectic between the city and country. This work partly influenced ecocritical scholarship to challenge the Eurocentric divide between nature and culture. Nash 1989 brought the ethical and social ecological dimension into contemporary debates by promoting the rights of nonhuman organisms. Williams 1992 is a multi-genre personal account of the ecological crisis; it has become a widely read work in classrooms as well as cited in ecocritical scholarship.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

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Considered by many to have initiated the contemporary environmental and ecological movements. It addresses the systemic problem of environmental degradation brought on by corporate industry and advocates for protection through public awareness and resistance. Originally published in 1962.

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Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

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Calls for a revolutionary Land Ethic as an environmental philosophy that every human should follow: A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise (p. 189). Reprinted in 2001.

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Marx, Leo. The Machine and the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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Largely a book about pastoralism in 19th- and 20th-century America, it traces the history of technology in society and culture. It argues that pastoralisma utopian theme of expansive landscapes for settlement and utilityhas and continues to define the environmental consciousness of America. Originally published in 1964.

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Nash, Roderick Frazier. The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

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Demonstrates the influence of environmentalism in various intellectual fields. It catalogues the green wave in society and politics, and questions the rights of other nonhuman organisms. As a piece of social ecology and environmental philosophy, it was a major influence on ecocriticism.

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White, Lynn, Jr. The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 314. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This famous essay reconsiders how cultural influence and social conditioningthrough beliefs and valuescan affect environmental consciousness. Specifically, the essay criticizes Judeo-Christianity for supporting anthropocentric superiority. Giving humans a licence to dominate the natural world has led to the contemporary environmental crisis. Originally published in 1967.

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Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

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Contextualizes the dialectic between rural and urban thinking that has divided culture from environments for centuries. Often framed as a pastoral critique from a Marxist perspective, this book anticipates holistic discussions about the integration of built and nonbuilt environments in contemporary ecocritical discourses.

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Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge. New York: Vintage, 1992.

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Part memoir, part naturalist writing, part tragedy, this book explores Williamss experience watching her mothers death from breast cancer while also watching the destruction of a bird sanctuary through flooding. It remains one of the most influential narrative books of ecocritical studies (e.g., see Narrative Ecocriticism).

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There have been massive amounts of collections of essays about ecocriticism, offering a diverse range of writings on interdisciplinary topics, which is what ecocriticism accomplishes as a literary and cultural theory. This list offers some of the noteworthy publications across many subjects, beginning with Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, which serves as both an anthology of previous publications (e.g., Meeker 1972, Rueckert 1996, and Love 1996, cited under General Overviews, Silko 1996, cited under Critical Race Studies), as well as many new essays at the time of its publication. Bennett and Teague 1999 is particularly significant for including urban or built environments as a central part of the ecocritical discussion; it helped to challenge the idea that ecocriticism focuses on tradition notions of nature. Slovic and Branch 2003 bridges the gap between the first and second waves of ecocritical studies, where scholars took a decidedly more theoretical turn in scholarship. Goodbody and Rigby 2011 largely differs from others in this list because it assemble an original collection focused on European ecocritical theory (see also Global Perspectives). Turning to pedagogy, Garrard 2012 is one of several collections on teaching ecocriticism in the classroom, a trend that began with Waages Teaching Environmental Literature: Materials, Methods, Resources (1985). Lynch, et al. 2012 also contains a section on pedagogy, but it is couched in the larger analysis of bioregional thinking (local community and sustainable culture). Westling 2013 is a collection on contemporary literary and cultural environmental concerns in the widely read Cambridge Companion series.

Bennett, Michael, and David W. Teague, eds. The Nature of Cities: Ecocriticism and Urban Environments. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.

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The essays in this volume invite readers to think about the environment as a larger and more holistic concept, moving away from the separation of nonbuilt (nature) and built (cities) environments. It remains one of the few works about urban ecocriticism.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. Teaching Ecocriticism and Green Cultural Studies. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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Emphasizes the roots of ecocriticism as a teaching-activist-scholarly pursuit through a range of collected essays. This book stands out as one of the few collections or monographs to focus entirely on the pedagogy and practice of a green literary and cultural study.

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Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This landmark publication in the field is both collection and anthology; it provides previously published essays (e.g., Lynne White Jr., William Rueckert, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko), along with many original essays. It introduces the critical concept of ecocriticism as a response to the global environmental crisis.

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Goodbody, Axel, and Kate Rigby, eds. Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.

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Noteworthy for representing a distinctively European ecocriticism, providing a break from the dominant North American voice. This collection theorizies ecocriticism, while keeping the practice and activist element intact, through European philosophy, theorists, and environmental thinkers.

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Kerridge, Richard, and Neil Sammells, eds. Writing the Environment: Ecocriticism and Literature. London: Zed Books, 1998.

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Serves as one of the early collections in the field and provides samples of what ecocritics do (p. 8). This collection contains essays on race and environmental justice, childrens environmental literature, pop culture, and body politics.

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Lynch, Tom, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster, eds. The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

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Aims to explain the idea in literary criticism of bioregionalisma sustainable sense of place on a day-to-day scale that we can inhabit beyond national or political boundaries. This collection is skilfully arranged in four sections: Reinhabiting, Rereading, Reimaging, and Renewal (forming a bioregional pedagogy).

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Slovic, Scott, and Michael Branch, eds. The ISLE Reader: Ecocriticism, 19932003. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2003.

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Based upon early essays published in the flagship ecocritical journal ISLE, this collection charts a thorough trajectory of the essays that defined the ecocritical movement in the 1990s. It provides an excellent overview of earlier prominent ecocritical scholarship in essay form.

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Westling, Louise, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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Offers a range of introductory writings on ecocriticism, as other collections in this list do, but provides a more contemporary approach. Despite the title, it also includes essays about cinema and ecotheory as well.

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This section includes some of the more widely used anthologies that reproduce excerpts of previously published works by writers, essayists, travelers, and poets in environmental literature and culture. Lyon 1989 is as an early anthology used in environmental writing courses in the early to mid-1990s, during the early expansion of ecocriticism as a field. Another batch of anthologies emerged on the market in the late 1990s. Halpern and Frank 1998 diversifies the range of nature and environmental writers and even includes some international figures. Anderson, et al. 2013 is a comprehensive textbook and reader that differs from many of the readers in this list, which mainly reproduce experts of previously published material. Many of the earlier volumesLyon 1989, Halpern and Frank 1998, and even Branch 2004, the latter of which focuses on the origins of nature writingresemble each other in content and approach. The later volumes, starting with Coupe 2000, begin to address a wider range of second wave concerns. Coupe provides an extensive overview of literary periods in ecocriticism, beginning with the Romantics. Fisher-Wirth and Street 2013 is a volume devoted entirely to American environmental poetry. Hiltner 2014 is the most recent and comprehensive reader in this list, except for perhaps Coupe 2000, although it does not offer the pedagogical elements that Anderson, et al. 2013 does. A significant gap at the moment in ecocritical anthologies remains the lack of a complete anthology of environmental writers from around the globe.

Anderson, Lorraine, Scott P. Slovic, and John P. OGrady, eds. Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture. New York: Pearson Longman, 2013.

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Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford Bibliographies

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, Hayles, whose work 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 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]

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.”[18] 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.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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,[22] 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.[18] 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.[23]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

N. Katherine Hayles – Wikipedia

N. Katherine Hayles (born 16 December 1943) is a postmodern literary critic, most notable for her contribution to the fields of literature and science, electronic literature, and American literature.[1] She is professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University.[2]

Hayles was born in Saint Louis, Missouri to Edward and Thelma Bruns. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1966, and her M.S. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1969. She worked as a research chemist in 1966 at Xerox Corporation and as a chemical research consultant Beckman Instrument Company from 1968-1970. Hayles then switched fields and received her M.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University in 1970, and her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Rochester in 1977.[3] She is a social and literary critic.

Her scholarship primarily focuses on the “relations between science, literature, and technology.”[4][5] Hayles has taught at UCLA, University of Iowa, University of MissouriRolla, the California Institute of Technology, and Dartmouth College.[3] She was the faculty director of the Electronic Literature Organization from 2001-2006.[6]

Hayles understands “human” and “posthuman” as constructions that emerge from historically specific understandings of technology, culture and embodiment; “human and “posthuman” views each produce unique models of subjectivity.[7] Within this framework “human” is aligned with Enlightenment notions of liberal humanism, including its emphasis on the “natural self” and the freedom of the individual.[8] Conversely, posthuman does away with the notion of a “natural” self and emerges when human intelligence is conceptualized as being co-produced with intelligent machines. According to Hayles the posthuman view privileges information over materiality, considers consciousness as an epiphenomenon and imagines the body as a prosthesis for the mind .[9] Specifically Hayles suggests that in the posthuman view “there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation…”[8] The posthuman thus emerges as a deconstruction of the liberal humanist notion of “human.”

Despite drawing out the differences between “human” and “posthuman”, Hayles is careful to note that both perspectives engage in the erasure of embodiment from subjectivity.[10] In the liberal humanist view, cognition takes precedence over the body, which is narrated as an object to possess and master. Meanwhile, popular conceptions of the cybernetic posthuman imagine the body as merely a container for information and code. Noting the alignment between these two perspectives, Hayles uses How We Became Posthuman to investigate the social and cultural processes and practices that led to the conceptualization of information as separate from the material that instantiates it.[11] Drawing on diverse examples, such as Turing’s Imitation Game, Gibson’s Neuromancer and cybernetic theory, Hayles traces the history of what she calls “the cultural perception that information and materiality are conceptually distinct and that information is in some sense more essential, more important and more fundamental than materiality.”[12] By tracing the emergence of such thinking, and by looking at the manner in which literary and scientific texts came to imagine, for example, the possibility of downloading human consciousness into a computer, Hayles attempts to trouble the information/material separation and in her words, “…put back into the picture the flesh that continues to be erased in contemporary discussions about cybernetic subjects.[13] In this regard, the posthuman subject under the condition of virtuality is an “amalgam, a collection of heterogeneous components, a material-informational entity whose boundaries undergo continuous construction and reconstruction.”[14] Hayles differentiates “embodiment” from the concept of “the body” because “in contrast to the body, embodiment is contextual, enmeshed within the specifics of place, time, physiology, and culture, which together compose enactment.”[15] Hayles specifically examines how various science fiction novels portray a shift in the conception of information, particularly in the dialectics of presence/absence toward pattern/randomness. She diagrams these shifts to show how ideas about abstraction and information actually have a “local habitation” and are “embodied” within the narratives. Although ideas about “information” taken out of context creates abstractions about the human “body”, reading science fiction situates these same ideas in “embodied” narrative.”

Within the field of Posthuman Studies, Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman is considered “the key text which brought posthumanism to broad international attention”.[16] In the years since this book was published, it has been both praised and critiqued by scholars who have viewed her work through a variety of lenses; including those of cybernetic history, feminism, postmodernism, cultural and literary criticism, and conversations in the popular press about humans’ changing relationships to technology.

Reactions to Hayles’ writing style, general organization, and scope of the book have been mixed. The book is generally praised for displaying depth and scope in its combining of scientific ideas and literary criticism. Linda Brigham of Kansas State University claims that Hayles manages to lead the text “across diverse, historically contentious terrain by means of a carefully crafted and deliberate organizational structure.”[17] Some scholars found her prose difficult to read or over-complicated. Andrew Pickering describes the book as “hard going” and lacking of “straightforward presentation.”[18] Dennis Weiss of York College of Pennsylvania accuses Hayles of “unnecessarily complicat[ing] her framework for thinking about the body”, for example by using terms such as “body” and “embodiment” ambiguously. Weiss however acknowledges as convincing her use of science fiction in order to reveal how “the narrowly focused, abstract constellation of ideas” of cybernetics circulate through a broader cultural context.[19] Craig Keating of Langara College on the contrary argues that the obscurity of some texts questions their ability to function as the conduit for scientific ideas.[20]

Several scholars reviewing How We Became Posthuman highlighted the strengths and shortcomings of her book vis a vis its relationship to feminism. Amelia Jones of University of Southern California describes Hayles’ work as reacting to the misogynistic discourse of the field of cybernetics.[21] As Pickering wrote, Hayles’ promotion of an “embodied posthumanism” challenges cybernetics’ “equation of human-ness with disembodied information” for being “another male trick to feminists tired of the devaluation of women’s bodily labor.”[18] Stephanie Turner of Purdue University also described Hayles’ work as an opportunity to challenge prevailing concepts of the human subject which assumed the body was white, male, and European, but suggested Hayles’ dialectic method may have taken too many interpretive risks, leaving some questions open about “which interventions promise the best directions to take.”[22]

Reviewers were mixed about Hayles’ construction of the posthuman subject. Weiss describes Hayles’ work as challenging the simplistic dichotomy of human and post-human subjects in order to “rethink the relationship between human beings and intelligent machines,” however suggests that in her attempt to set her vision of the posthuman apart from the “realist, objectivist epistemology characteristic of first-wave cybernetics”, she too, falls back on universalist discourse, premised this time on how cognitive science is able to reveal the “true nature of the self.”[19] Jones similarly described Hayles’ work as reacting to cybernetics’ disembodiment of the human subject by swinging too far towards an insistence on a “physical reality” of the body apart from discourse. Jones argued that reality is rather “determined in and through the way we view, articulate, and understand the world”.[21]

In terms of the strength of Hayles’ arguments regarding the return of materiality to information, several scholars expressed doubt on the validity of the provided grounds, notably evolutionary psychology. Keating claims that while Hayles is following evolutionary psychological arguments in order to argue for the overcoming of the disembodiment of knowledge, she provides “no good reason to support this proposition.”[20] Brigham describes Hayles’ attempt to connect autopoietic circularity to “an inadequacy in Maturana’s attempt to account for evolutionary change” as unjustified.[17] Weiss suggests that she makes the mistake of “adhering too closely to the realist, objectivist discourse of the sciences,” the same mistake she criticizes Weiner and Maturana for committing.[19]

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N. Katherine Hayles – Wikipedia

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, Hayles, whose work 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 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]

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.”[18] 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.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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,[22] 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.[18] 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.[23]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

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, 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] 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.[28] 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.[29]

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:[30]

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.[30]

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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posthumanism | Definition of posthumanism in English by …

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, Hayles, whose work 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 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]

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.”[18] 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.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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,[22] 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.[18] 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.[23]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

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” in which all aspects of the concept “posthuman” can be analysed.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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.[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, Hayles, whose work 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 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]

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.”[18] 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.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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,[22] 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.[18] 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.[23]

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Cary Wolfes What is Posthumanism? Introductory …

In the introduction to Cary Wolfes What is Posthumanism?, his objective is to find ways to push human analysis beyond its inherent anthropocentrism. In this book, Wolfe engages the ongoing discussion of the transformation of the human, and it is through this introductory chapter that he attempts to unravel the problem of humanism, which he believes has been responsible for positioning humans as superior to other life forms and animals.He states: Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people []Humanists endorse universal morality based on the commonality of the human condition.

The above passage is from a Wikipedia article that Wolfe purposely includes because he wishes to point out humanisms categorical separation between the human and the non-human, and its conception of Man as a privileged being. Wolfe s goal is to point to the specific concept of the humanthat grounds discrimination against nonhuman animals and the disabled in the first place.Wolfe thinks that in order to even start to think about posthumanism, we must stop placingthe human at the top of a hierarchy of living animals and looking at the human as the pinnacle of perfection for all other beings to be measured against.

Wolfe cites R. L. Rutsky who states: The posthuman cannot simply be identified as a culture or age that comes after the human []for the very idea of such a passage, however measured or qualified it may be, continues to rely upon a humanist narrative of historical change. This is not to say that Wolfe rejects humanism entirely, but rather that he thinks we need to move away from trying to redefine the human as we have come to understand it. Man should never have been so privileged, and should never have dictated what living beings must try to aspire to me.Unlike Hassan, Badmington, or Robert Pepperels take on posthumanism, Wolfe complicates the transformation of the human into posthuman and suggests that it is something more than just a new way of thinking that comes into play with theEnlightenment and Mans wish to become a liberated subject.

He elaborates on this in the following passage:If,however, the posthuman truly involves a fundamental change or mutation in the concept of the human, this would seem to imply that history and culture cannot continue to be figured in reference to thisconcept.Inother words, there are humanist ways of criticizing the extension of humanism that we find in transhumanism.Wolfe believes that transhumanism has been used to describe beingswhose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to no longer be unambiguously human by our current standards. Transhuman [] is the description of those who are in the process of becoming post-human.

This passage hits several points, the first being that transhumanism describes something so enhanced as to not be recognizably human. This suggests a higher state of being, which implies that transhumanism as an extension of post humanism is merely what comes next the next generation of an already superior being.From what Wolfe has stated thus far, I can gather that he does not see posthumanism as Mans evololution into something more. If anything, this definition is the opposite of how he sees posthumanism, for the rhetoric still suggests that Man sits atop a hierarchy.

This becomes clear further along in the introduction, as Wolfe cites Nick Bostrom in order to communicate his point:This sense of posthumanism derives directly from ideals of human perfectibility, rationality, and agency inherited from Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment.Wolfe then states that the best-known inheritor of the cyborg strand of posthumanism is what is now being called transhumanisma movement that is dedicated, as the journalist and writer Joel Garreau puts it, to the enhancement of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capabilities, the elimination of disease and unnecessary suffering, and the dramatic extension of life span.

From this, I can discern that for Wolfe, posthumanism is the complete opposite of transhumanism, which he sees as nothing more than an intensification of humanism. Wolfe insists that his sense of posthumanismis thus analogous to Jean-Franois Lyotards paradoxical rendering of the postmodern: it comes both before and after humanism,which implies that it is not automatically post it exists alongside.Furthermore, he writes:Posthumanism in my sense isnt posthuman at allin the sense of being after our embodiment has been transcendedbut is only posthumanist, in the sense that it opposes the fantasies of disembodiment and autonomy, inherited from humanism itself.

Wolfe does not seem convinced that posthumanism should have anything to do with autonomy and superiority, as these seem to be the egotistical needs acquired from the humanist idea of mastering other species. He writes:To be truly posthumanist, the concept of subjectivity itself needs to be undermined and transformed in a way that does not privilege the human. It is only by giving up notions of personhood that speciesism can be destabilized, he argues, so that we can become posthumanists.Wolfe tries to re-imagine subjectivity as something not exclusively human in order to answer what posthumanism is. Rather than focus on what it has been historically, he imagines what it could be if anthropologically, we were no longer invested in maintaining human superiority.

Works Cited:

Wolfe, Cary. Introduction: What is Posthumanism?What is Posthumanism? xi-xxxiv.

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Cary Wolfes What is Posthumanism? Introductory …

Posthumanism/Post biology Dr. S. Devika

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. 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 to critically question 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 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.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the cyborg of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway. Haraways cyborg is in many ways the beta version of the posthuman.

Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work 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 bodyin 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.

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.

Posthuman does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. Both humans and posthumans could continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities. 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. Many science fiction authors have written works set in posthuman futures.

Postbiological evolution is a form of evolution which has transitioned from a biological paradigm, driven by the propagation of genes, to a non-biological (e.g., cultural or technological) paradigm, presumably driven by some alternative replicator (e.g., memes or temes), and potentially resulting in the extinction, obsolescence, or trophic reorganization of the former. Researchers anticipating a postbiological universe tend to describe this transition as marked by the maturation and potential convergence of high technologies, such as artificial intelligence or nanotechnology. Experts in AI even believe it holds the potential and capability for a postbiological earth in the next several generations. AI could be utilised to solve scientific problems and to analyse situations much faster and more accurately than our own minds.

The move to a complete postbiological stage has two different routes. One route is the change of human consciousness from a biological vessel into a mechanical; this would require the digitisation of human consciousness. A mechanical based vessel would increase the computational power and intelligence of the human consciousness exponentially. The other route is the complete replacement of human consciousness by AI, for this the human race would die out, replaced by our own creation of AI.

While in some circles the expression postbiological evolution is roughly synonymous with human genetic engineering, it is used most often to refer to the general application of the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to improve human performance.

However, the most common criticism of human enhancement is that it is or will often be practiced with a reckless and selfish short-term perspective that is ignorant of the long-term consequences on individuals and the rest of society, such as the fear that some enhancements will create unfair physical or mental advantages to those who can and will use them, or unequal access to such enhancements can and will further the gulf between the haves and have-nots.

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Posthumanism/Post biology Dr. S. Devika

Posthumanism/Post biology Dr. S. Devika

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. 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 to critically question 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 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.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the cyborg of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway. Haraways cyborg is in many ways the beta version of the posthuman.

Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work 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 bodyin 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.

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.

Posthuman does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. Both humans and posthumans could continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities. 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. Many science fiction authors have written works set in posthuman futures.

Postbiological evolution is a form of evolution which has transitioned from a biological paradigm, driven by the propagation of genes, to a non-biological (e.g., cultural or technological) paradigm, presumably driven by some alternative replicator (e.g., memes or temes), and potentially resulting in the extinction, obsolescence, or trophic reorganization of the former. Researchers anticipating a postbiological universe tend to describe this transition as marked by the maturation and potential convergence of high technologies, such as artificial intelligence or nanotechnology. Experts in AI even believe it holds the potential and capability for a postbiological earth in the next several generations. AI could be utilised to solve scientific problems and to analyse situations much faster and more accurately than our own minds.

The move to a complete postbiological stage has two different routes. One route is the change of human consciousness from a biological vessel into a mechanical; this would require the digitisation of human consciousness. A mechanical based vessel would increase the computational power and intelligence of the human consciousness exponentially. The other route is the complete replacement of human consciousness by AI, for this the human race would die out, replaced by our own creation of AI.

While in some circles the expression postbiological evolution is roughly synonymous with human genetic engineering, it is used most often to refer to the general application of the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to improve human performance.

However, the most common criticism of human enhancement is that it is or will often be practiced with a reckless and selfish short-term perspective that is ignorant of the long-term consequences on individuals and the rest of society, such as the fear that some enhancements will create unfair physical or mental advantages to those who can and will use them, or unequal access to such enhancements can and will further the gulf between the haves and have-nots.

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Posthumanism/Post biology Dr. S. Devika


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