Eugenics, Biopolitics, and the Challenge of the Techno-Human Condition
Chapter Five: Prosthetic Life
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[A]t stake here will be the attempt to think, instead of the birth of the human qua entity related to its end, rather its invention or even its embryonic fabrication or conception, and to attempt this independently of all anthropologism, even if this would mean considering with the utmost seriousness this other question: “And if we already were no longer human?”2
The Forgetting of Epimetheus
Bernard Stiegler’s ongoing philosophical project Technics and Time3 is one of the most original and promising efforts in contemporary continental philosophy to rethink the relationship between the human and technology.4 Drawing on the writings of Leroi-Gourhan, Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida, and Simondon, Stiegler seeks to argue that “anthropogenesis corresponds point by point to a technogenesis,”5 in the sense that human beings and technical artifacts have always been involved in a mutually constitutive relationship. In the first volume of Technics and Time, ‘The Fault of Epimetheus,’ Stiegler sets up his argument around the emblematic figure of Epimetheus, Prometheus’ slow brother whose role in the infamous myth, just as that of technics, is usually forgotten by the philosophical tradition.6 Since this story contains in broad outlines the central ← 127 | 128 → features of Stiegler’s theory, it is worthwhile to summarize it briefly. In Protagoras’ version of the story as narrated by Plato, Epimetheus convinces his brother Prometheus to entrust him with the task of distributing the qualities or powers among the...
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