A Review of Herbrechter’s “Critical Posthumanism”

EX-MACHINA2John Bruni at berfrois:

If posthumanism signals the end of a certain way of describing—or, more precisely, orienting—selfhood, then we might ask, as Ralph Waldo Emerson did at the start of his famous essay, “Experience” (that addressed, among other crucial issues, slavery), “Where do we find ourselves?” (266). [1]

To be sure, technology has already expanded ideas about seeing the human as created through evolution. Marvin Minsky argues that robots will be the next evolutionary phase; they will be our “children.”[2] Ray Kurzweil anticipates the ethical issues of posthumanism will be worked out by machines gaining consciousness and then guiding themselves (and, presumably, us) through deeper realms of spiritual experience and insight. [3]

But, it must be asked, where does all this talk about spiritual transcendentalism leave the crucial subject of our bodies? N. Katherine Hayles cautions that privileging the disembodiment of information is a return to Cartesian dualism that supports the liberal humanist subject: what posthumanism seeks to challenge.[4] Cary Wolfe, moreover, reminds us that we have to take into account how posthumanism is shaped by our relationships with other embodied forms of life constituted by non-human animals.[5]

more here.