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|Criticism of postmodernism|
Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning "after humanism" or "beyond humanism") is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:
Philosopher Ted Schatzki suggests there are two varieties of posthumanism of the philosophical kind:
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.
A second prioritizes practices, especially social practices, over individuals (or individual subjects) which, they say, constitute the individual.
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.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." 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. 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.
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.
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.
Theorists who both complement and contrast Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, cyberneticists such as Gregory Bateson, Warren McCullouch, Norbert Wiener, Bruno Latour, Cary Wolfe, Elaine Graham, N. Katherine Hayles, Benjamin H. Bratton, Donna Haraway, Peter Sloterdijk, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Evan Thompson, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers, such as Robert Pepperell, who have written about a "posthuman condition", which is often substituted for the term "posthumanism".
Posthumanism differs from classical humanism by relegating humanity back to one of many natural species, thereby rejecting any claims founded on anthropocentric dominance.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. The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.
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.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. Recently, critics have sought to describe the emergence of posthumanism as a critical moment in modernity, arguing for the origins of key posthuman ideas in modern fiction, in Nietzsche, or in a modernist response to the crisis of historicity.
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.Drawing on the Enlightenment’s 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.
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.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. 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.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 Haraway’s concept of the cyborg. 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 (even though these notions would more correctly fall into the realm of transhumanism ).
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,as do new concerns with regards to language, symbolism, subjectivity, phenomenology, ethics, justice and creativity.
Sociologist James Hughes comments that there is considerable confusion between the two terms.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.
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.Ontological posthumanism is synonymous with transhumanism. The subject is regarded as “an intensification of humanism.” Transhumanist thought suggests that humans are not post human yet, but that human enhancement, often through technological advancement and application, is the passage of becoming post human. Transhumanism retains humanism’s 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).” 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."
Some critics have argued that all forms of posthumanism, including transhumanism, have more in common than their respective proponents realize.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.
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:
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.
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.
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”.
Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. The term has been more generally applied to describe a historical era said to follow after modernity and the tendencies of this era.
Transhumanism is a philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.
Social theories are analytical frameworks, or paradigms, that are used to study and interpret social phenomena. A tool used by social scientists, social theories relate to historical debates over the validity and reliability of different methodologies, the primacy of either structure or agency, as well as the relationship between contingency and necessity. Social theory in an informal nature, or authorship based outside of academic social and political science, may be referred to as "social criticism" or "social commentary", or "cultural criticism" and may be associated both with formal cultural and literary scholarship, as well as other non-academic or journalistic forms of writing.
"A Cyborg Manifesto" is an essay written by Donna Haraway and published in 1985 in the Socialist Review. In it, the concept of the cyborg is a rejection of rigid boundaries, notably those separating "human" from "animal" and "human" from "machine". She writes: "The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust."
The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is a "technoprogressive think tank" that seeks to contribute to understanding of the likely impact of emerging technologies on individuals and societies by "promoting and publicizing the work of thinkers who examine the social implications of scientific and technological advance". It was incorporated in the United States in 2004, as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, by philosopher Nick Bostrom and bioethicist James Hughes.
In social theory and philosophy, antihumanism is a theory that is critical of traditional humanism, traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition, and to philosophical anthropology. Central to antihumanism is the view that concepts of "human nature", "man", or "humanity" should be rejected as historically relative, ideological or metaphysical.
Animal studies is a recently recognised field in which animals are studied in a variety of cross-disciplinary ways. Scholars who engage in animal studies may be formally trained in a number of diverse fields, including geography, art history, anthropology, biology, film studies, geography, history, psychology, literary studies, museology, philosophy, communication, and sociology. They may engage with questions about literal animals, or about notions of "animality" or "brutality," employing various theoretical perspectives, including feminism, Marxist theory, and queer theory. Using these perspectives, those who engage in animal studies seek to understand both human-animal relations now and in the past, and to understand animals as beings-in-themselves, separate from our knowledge of them. Because the field is still developing, scholars and others have some freedom to define their own criteria about what issues may structure the field.
Nancy Katherine Hayles is an American postmodern literary critic, most notable for her contribution to the fields of literature and science, electronic literature, and American literature. She is professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University.
Humanism is a philosophical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to a system of education based on the study of classical literature. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. It views humans as solely responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasizes a concern for man in relation to the world.
The following outline provides an overview of and a topical guide to transhumanism, an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging and hypothetical technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label posthuman.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to humanism:
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. The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity.
This is a list of articles in continental philosophy.
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner is a German metahumanist philosopher, a Nietzsche scholar, a philosopher of music and an authority in the field of ethics of emerging technologies.
Cyborg anthropology is a discipline that studies the interaction between humanity and technology from an anthropological perspective. The discipline is relatively new, but offers novel insights on new technological advances and their effect on culture and society.
Fred Reinhard Dallmayr is an American philosopher and political theorist. He is Packey J. Dee Professor Emeritus in Political Science with a joint appointment in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame (USA). He holds a Doctor of Law from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and a PhD in political science from Duke University. He is the author of some 40 books and the editor of 20 other books. He has served as president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP); an advisory member of the Scientific Committee of RESET - Dialogue on Civilizations (Rome); the Executive Co-Chair of World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations (Vienna), and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (Berlin).
Marxist humanism is an international body of thought and political action rooted in an interpretation of the works of Karl Marx. It is an investigation into "what human nature consists of and what sort of society would be most conductive to human thriving" from a critical perspective rooted in Marxist philosophy. Marxist humanists argue that Marx himself was concerned with investigating similar questions.
Critical theory is the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities to reveal and challenge power structures. It argues that social problems are influenced and created more by societal structures and cultural assumptions than by individual and psychological factors. Critical theory has origins in sociology and also in literary criticism. The sociologist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them".
Transhumanist politics constitutes a group of political ideologies that generally express the belief in improving human individuals through science and technology.
Posthumanization comprises "those processes by which a society comes to include members other than 'natural' biological human beings who, in one way or another, contribute to the structures, dynamics, or meaning of the society." Posthumanization is one of the key phenomena studied by those academic disciplines and methodologies that identify themselves as "posthumanist", including critical, cultural, and philosophical posthumanism. Its processes can be divided into forms of non-technological and technological posthumanization.
gigadeath – the characteristic number of people that would be killed in any major late 21st century war, if one extrapolates up the graph of the number of people killed in major wars over the past 2 centuries