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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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Pauliina Remes, University of Uppsala - ‘For Itself and from Nothing’: Plotinus’ One as an Extreme Ideal for Selfhood


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Pauliina Remes

University of Uppsala

‘For Itself and from Nothing’: Plotinus’ One as an Extreme Ideal for Selfhood

Ancient philosophy includes a controversial ideal of becoming godlike. This ideal can be interpreted as a call to become a perfect, invulnerable being untouched by worldly desires and contingencies. If so, then it embodies, then so one might argue, both an unrealistic and inhumane ideal to become another kind of creature. One may wonder what the ethical benefits of such a goal are: The best life for human beings would be a life that actually does not resemble a human living at all, and would not, thus, be an actualization of humanity or its best part, but an abandonment of it. (For a related accusation in Platonism, see Annas 1999, ch. VI). Moreover, since there seems to be a rupture between human and non-human, one may also raise a question whether this is an impossible telos, a breach of categories, as it were.

The worry becomes ever more pressing when, in later antiquity and during the Middle Ages, monotheistic conceptions of deity are further developed. In Neoplatonism, as well as in its Christian and Islamic aftermath, we find a distinction between that which is the creator/generator, an independent and self-sufficient thing, and that which is created/generated, a dependent and lacking being. Both of these descriptions seem essential attributes of the nature of the described thing, the former of God or the...

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