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From Humanism to Meta-, Post- and Transhumanism?

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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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Regine Kather, University of Freiburg - Humans and Nature: Modern Society between Cultural Relativism and the Ontological Foundation of Values

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Regine Kather

University of Freiburg

Humans and Nature: Modern Society between Cultural Relativism and the Ontological Foundation of Values

I Humans as Animal Symbolicum

Is human life a mere fact which has happened accidentally and which can be explained scientifically, or does it imply a normative dimension? Is a survival and beyond this even well-being a goal or even an intrinsic value? And if so, what are the necessary conditions?

Obviously, every living being strives for survival and tries to avoid pain. The theory of evolution tells us that the struggle for life has at least an instrumental value for the survival of the individual and the species. Only if bodily or psychic suffering becomes too strong, death may be preferred. Also, human identity cannot only be based on mental acts which follow the laws of logic; humans, too, are living beings, which distinguish between pain and pleasure. And they would be dissatisfied if life were reduced to mere biological survival. Nearly everywhere in the world the social dynamic is driven by the hope that the conditions of life will steadily improve and bodily and social well-being will be attained. Obviously, the survival and fulfillment of interests are highly appreciated. But has the life of humans also an intrinsic value? And, is nature a mere resource for human needs or has it also an intrinsic value? Yet, the instrumental as well as the intrinsic value of human...

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