[ExI] [wta-talk] Fwd: Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Wed Jun 17 16:32:26 UTC 2009

Yes, precisely.  That is why there is a type of new approach which is
separating out the posthumanism (leaving humanism behind) and a posthumanism
that is looking at the next stages of humans and humanism, and which I
believe is dipping into the knowledge base of transhumanism.  And if so, is
it good thing or a not so good thing.  And, further, where are the
references/footnotes, etc. outside of maybe one piece of writing of a
transhumanist, rather than a solid base of writing of transhumanists for

I suppose the best way to do this is to author an anthology.  I could do
this while writing my dissertation, but I would need help.

Nlogo1.tif Natasha Vita-More

-----Original Message-----
From: wta-talk-bounces at transhumanism.org
[mailto:wta-talk-bounces at transhumanism.org] On Behalf Of M.>h
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:11 AM
To: World Transhumanist Association Discussion List
Subject: Re: [wta-talk] Fwd: [ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism

the issue with posthumanism (esp. in europe, but also elsewhere) is that it
often gets (mis)interpreted as leaving the values of humanism behind or,
even worse, as inhumane. that's why i do not favour this term that to my
knowledge pretty much evolved within the h+ critical philosophical academia.



Dr. M. Ji Sun

Futurologist/Emerging Technology Foresight

Am 17.06.2009 um 15:17 schrieb Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com>:

> Just thought the effort I made putting together the references  
> included in
> my message below deserved to be extended to this list... :-)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com>
> Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 3:00 PM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:48 AM, <natasha at natasha.cc> wrote:
>> Hayles set it up and academia too a big bite into her literary  
>> theory of
>> the posthuman. Fukuyama brought posthuman into ethics and policy of  
>> human
>> futures without knowing what it means, or transhumanism for that  
>> matter.
>> Ever since, there has been a growing interest among academics (and  
>> others)
>> to turn the posthuman into a theory, and now a philosophy.
>> There are many similarities in posthumanism's advocates' ideas and
>> suggested  findings.  Many of these similarities link directly to
>> transhumanism.
> I think it is difficult to make a comparison. Apples to oranges.
> Transhumanism, thank to the vision of some individuals, a few  
> pivotal works,
> and some organised efforts, developed into a proper "culture", not to
> mention an active movement, with relatively well-defined boundaries, a
> shared jargon and mentality, and a "social", albeit small, following.
> Philosophy is only one of the field where it expresses itself, and  
> by far
> not the main one.
> I would say that posthumanism is instead a broad definition  
> encompassing the
> various stances of intellectuals and philosophers, mostly European  
> or deeply
> influenced by the European academic scene, who think that old   
> "humanist"
> views should be revised, and possibly overcome.
> This is already an opportunity for misunderstanding, since AFAIK  
> "humanism"
> is a word that in the US common usage has strong secular undertones,  
> which
> are almost entirely absent, e.g., in Italy (where "christian  
> humanism" is a
> very widespread phrase), so that in the US to speak of  
> "posthumanism" may
> suggest a going back to thinly disguised religious views. Add to  
> that the
> perspectivist and relativist penchant adopted by many  
> "posthumanists" and
> this is bound to generate a wariness by many transhumanists who may
> implicitely or explicitely adhere to more "neopositivistic" attitudes,
> especially at an epistemological or political level. Especially  
> given the
> undeniable temptations in close quarters to slip in oracular nonsense,
> cosmic pessimism, and anti-science postures (see, e.g., Fashionable
> Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of
> >
> by
> Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont)
> Having said that, my personal opinion that posthumanism and  
> transhumanism
> besides the differences of nature and language are already strictly
> intertwined by their ultimate roots and by the basic idea that a  
> fixed,
> essentialist, specieist view of the man, which we inherit from
> judeochristianism, is not adequate any more to epochal changes  
> currently in
> place, namely those which pertains to the impact of technology on  
> our own
> worldview, life and destiny. And that a posthuman changed should be
> embraced. This is very explicit also in American posthumanism, and I
> routinely recommend to everybody in this respect Viroid Life:  
> Perspectives
> on Nietzsche and the Transhuman
> >
> by
> Ansell Pearson as well as Posthumanism (Readers in Cultural
> >
> by
> Neil Badmington.
> Moreover, even though some routine criticism of a few "philosophically
> naive" traits of popular transhumanism exists in most of the authors
> concerned, bridges already exist, and become ever more numerous.
> To make a few examples, I think that it is difficult not to consider
> explicitely transhumanist the positions taken by Peter Sloterdijk on
> evolution, biotech and reprogenetics, positions which did not go  
> unremarked
> by the neoluddite camp and unleashed a harsh response. See the very
> controversial "Rules for the Human Park" (in German included in Nicht
> gerettet: Versuche nach
> >,
> in Italian in Non siamo ancora stati salvati. Saggi dopo
> >,
> and published alone in Spanish, Normas para el parque
> >,
> and in French, Règles pour le parc humain : Une lettre en réponse  
> à la
> Lettre sur l'humanisme de
> >;
> in English? no chance... :-(
> In France, to mention very diverse writers, the proto-transhumanist  
> penchant
> of Lyotard (see Moralités
> >,
> Postmodern
> >)
> has repeatedly remarked in our camp, e.g., by Riccardo Campa in Dal
> postmoderno al postumano. Il caso
> Lyotard<http://www.uomo-libero.com/articolo.php?id=407>,
> and also come to mind Yves Christen (Les années Faust, ou, La scienc 
> e face
> au
> >,
> L'homme
> >,
> L'animal est-il une personne
> >)
> as well as Guillaume Faye (see especially the seminal Pour en finir  
> avec le
> nihilisme. Heidegger et la question de la
> technique<http://www.uomo-libero.com/images/file/heidegger_faye.html> 
> [full-text],
> in Italian Per
> farla finita con il nichilismo. Heidegger e la questione della
> tecnica<http://www.uomo-libero.com/articolo.php?id=369>).
> The latter, who also discussed transhumanist subjects both of a  
> "wet" and a
> "hard" nature in L'archéofuturisme (in Italian
> Archeofuturismo<http://www.uomo-libero.com/articolo.php?id=313>[full
> text]), accepted to write the appendix to my own book
> *Biopolitica. Il nuovo paradigma <http://www.biopolitica.it> *(full  
> text),
> that is La soluzione di di
> Prometeo<http://www.biopolitica.it/biop-appendice.html>(La
> solution de
> N>),
> and is now about to publish a long essay on Futurismo e modernità in 
>  the
> third issue/volume of Divenire. Rassegna di studi interdisciplinari  
> sulla
> tecnica e il postumano <http://www.divenire.org>, the peer-reviewed
> "unmagazine" on paper of the Associazione Italiana
> Transumanisti<http://www.transumanisti.it>.
> Lastily a study in French of ideas and fashions that can be found at  
> the
> crossroad of posthumanism and transhumanism is the subject matter Les
> utopies posthumaines : Contre-culture, cyberculture, culture du
> >
> de
> Rémi Sussan, who I believe might be reading this list.
> Coming to Italy, a very influential representative of posthumanist  
> thinking,
> besides of course... yours truly ;-), is Roberto Marchesini who  
> wrote the
> fundamental Post-Human. Verso nuovi modelli di
> >,
> where he distanced himself a little from American transhumanism,  
> only to
> become at a later stage a honorary member of the AIT itself, the  
> author of
> an article (Oltre il mito della purezza) published again by  
> Divenire, in its
> second
> >,
> and probably to be one of the speaker at Transvision 2010.
> Of course, the language, approach and primary concerns of all those  
> thinkers
> and writers is quite different from that of, say, Ray Kurzweil or  
> Gregory
> Stock or our Damien Broderick.
> But I am absolutely persuaded that a significant chunk of  
> posthumanist ideas
> have transhumanism as their only consistent conclusion.
> -- 
> Stefano Vaj
> -- 
> Stefano Vaj
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