[ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism
thespike at satx.rr.com
Wed Jun 17 19:28:02 UTC 2009
At 03:11 PM 6/17/2009 -0400, Natasha wrote:
>Damien, good piece.
Just a fragment from an entire 1997 book, of course.
>However you are tired of academic nonsense, we
>(not necessarily meaning "you" per se, but your writings will suffice
>for you in this regard) do have deal with it because the very
>structure human enhancement futures is being built upon in learning
>institutions is a hack job.
Indeed. At the risk of being tedious, here's another portion from the
middle of THEORY AND ITS DISCOS:
The Death of `Man'
Foucault's most notorious contribution to the theory debate was his
early rhetorical surmise that `man is an invention of recent date.
And one perhaps nearing its end', perhaps due to be `erased, like a
face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea' (Foucault, 1973, p. 387).
Such antihumanist declarations, Kate Soper points out at the close of
her own discussion,
"do nothing to undermine the importance of the
distinction, central to humanist argument, between the actions we
choose to take and the processes we are subject to. There are
differences of degree--and of kind--between the constraints upon us
to breathe, to use money, to love someone, to obey the law, to join a
political party or to go on a hunger strike--differences which no
political or philosophical discourse can justifiably overlook." (Soper, p. 153)
Above all, we must be wary `lest by focusing on the philosophical
"end of man" we encourage a passivity that may hasten the actual
demise of humanity' (p. 153)--no longer a figure of speech, given our
technological powers, but an appallingly literal possibility.
One possible route out of this impasse has been signalled by Peter
Dews, a powerful commentator on Foucault and other gurus of theory,
most tellingly in a sceptical survey of post-structuralist doctrine
in France. It is a proleptic note upon which I shall close the first
half of this essay:
"If one were to attempt... to identify one development
which would symbolize the distinctiveness of the [recent] French
philosophical scene... compared with the entire preceding period
since the Second World War, then the obvious choice would be the
upsurge of interest in Kant [...which] indicates an appreciation that
the Nietzschean assault on a repressive reason itself depends on a
dogmatic conception of the relation between knowledge and
pre-cognitive interests, that an unqualified hostility to the
universal in the domain of ethics and politics has a profoundly
menacing--as well as an emancipatory--aspect, and that a wilful
self-restriction of analysis to the fragmentary and the perspectival
renders impossible any coherent understanding of our own historical
and cultural situation." (Dews, 1987, p. xiii)
Perhaps this is a cost we must pay (it might be said), since we can
no longer agree that any coherent story of our situation, or anyone
else's, is entirely complete, compelling, resistant to fragmentation.
Dews entitled his essay The Logics of Disintegration, and projected a
return to other (post-Kantian) ways of constructing our collective
world than by deconstructing it. Is this truly feasible? Might there
yet be logics of integration, of coding, of structure, to which even
the poststructuralist, the relativist, the wary theorist might give
authentic assent? Might, indeed, be *obliged*--precisely by such
logics, codings, structures--to give assent?
and the rest of the book tried to do just that (at least tentatively,
as of about 15 years ago).
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