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From Humanism to Meta-, Post- and Transhumanism?


Edited By Irina Deretić and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

The relationship between humanism, metahumanism, posthumanism and transhumanism is one of the most pressing topics concerning many current cultural, social, political, ethical and individual challenges. There have been a great number of uses of the various terms in history. Meta-, post- and transhumanism have in common that they reject the categorically dualist understanding of human beings inherent in humanism.
The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
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Irina Deretić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade - On the Origin and Genesis of Humans and Other Mortals in Plato’s Protagoras


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Irina Deretić

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade

On the Origin and Genesis of Humans and Other Mortals in Plato’s Protagoras

1. Introduction

“Where did we come from?” This is an endless riddle for human thought. Furthermore, it challenges us with the question: “Who are we?” This is an even more perplexing and complex issue. One of the most prominent and well-known answers to these two questions is given by Protagoras1 in Plato’s dialogue named after him. It is not surprising that the same famed sophist, who claimed that a human is the measure of all things,2 is the one also telling us this myth about the origin of humankind and its virtues.

The story and its interpretation are parts of Protagoras’ so-called Great Speech, which includes not only the myth itself, but also the sophist’s interpretation of it. Protagoras used the myth to support his claim about the possibility of teaching virtue. My primary intention is not to interpret the role of the myth in the course of this dialogue or to evaluate it in terms of its consistency, persuasiveness, and argumentative power as a part of Protagoras’ so-called Great Speech. Instead, ← 21 | 22 → I will endeavor to (a) find out what this myth conveys about the origin, the development, and the nature of humans, and, (b) what it reveals about the dimensions and aspects of us, which are, as we shall see, not irrelevant...

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