[ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Jun 19 16:19:20 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 6:17 AM, Damien Broderick<thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
>> http://www.scribd.com/doc/391082/Post-Humanism-History
> "...the history of posthumanism is neither synonymous with the history of
> technology , nor is it found exclusively within philosophical inquiries into
> technology . Certainly, technological change has become a core component of
> contemporary imaginations about posthumanity. However, I will argue that
> imaginations about how humanity is transformed by technology are specific ,
> historically contingent manifestations"

I am inclined to read it as a "defensive" stance. :-)

On the lines of "there is more to posthumanism than tech and
transhumanism". The fact that one feels the need to point it out is
eloquent enough about the fact that most people might even
over-emphasise the overlapping of the two concepts...

As to the fact that "imaginations about etc." are historically
contingent (Verne's futurist visions are not the same as Kurzweil's),
well, most transhumanists I know would be heppy to agree.

> "of posthuman ideas. Moreover, these ideas are more deeply rooted in claims
> about such concepts as becoming, alterity, transgressions of boundaries and
> the position of humanity in relation to these concepts".

... which sounds almost as Max More. :-)

> "...the 'post' of posthumanism need not imply the absence of humanity or
> moving beyond it in some biological or evolutionary manner. Rather, the
> starting point should be an attempt to understand what has been omitted from
> an anthropocentric worldview, which includes coming to terms with how the
> Enlightenment centring of humanity has been revealed as inadequate."

Bof. Is a a real post-humanism even possible without *also*
contemplating a posthuman-ist evolution? I maintain that the answer is

And amongst posthumanists, even those who would be inclined to
neoluddite feelings, most are adamant on the fact that even though
they may mourn him, "Man is dead", and it is mystifying and naive to
deny it by pretending that we can go on with "business as usual" and
avoid a posthuman-ist change.

A number of Nietzschean descendants, e.g., made herculean, but
ultimately futile efforts to deny any - even vaguely - "biological"
interpretations (as they appear otherwise to fear association with
eugenism, nazism, scientism, or... transhumanism). But it is
sufficient to re-read the first lines of the Zarathustra, or the
discussion of Darwinian ideas contained in the Will to Power, to
realise that Nietzsche himself was perfectly aware that the upcoming
Zeit-Umbruch, epocal change, involves the *nature* itself of the human
beings, not mere cultural or philosophical traits.

Stefano Vaj

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