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Post- and Transhumanism

An Introduction


Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

Scientific advances in genetics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence signal the end of our traditional concept of the human being. The most vigorous movements dealing with this ongoing crisis of humanism are posthumanism and transhumanism. While posthumanism reconsiders what it means to be human, transhumanism actively promotes human enhancement. Both approaches address the posthuman condition in the technological age. In 20 articles, written by leading scholars of the field, this volume provides the first comprehensive introduction to debates beyond humanism.
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Ontologies of Becoming


Thomas D. Philbeck

Long after the pessimistic determinism of the mid-twentieth century, it appears that sophisticated electronic technologies have found their way into almost all the societies on earth, even where basic infrastructure, agriculture, and medicine are still lacking. Images of tribesmen from various continents employing mobile phones while otherwise equipped only with rudimentary tools are evidence of the extent of this technosocial diffusion. Furthermore, technology is not only spreading to the far corners of the world, it is transforming us. It is changing our understanding of ourselves and challenging the ontological models and the foundational claims that we rely upon to define being human. Over the last two decades, the terms “transhumanism” and “posthumanism” have been gaining currency in academics and popular culture, inspiring dozens of texts and energizing a mood of reflective engagement with the changing character of the human condition. Traditional modes of social engagement and interaction are fading and are being replaced by technological modes of mediation. The internet and mobile networks, together with increasingly portable non-dedicated devices like mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, are transforming how people, and entire societies, interoperate.

Though announced repeatedly over the last half-century, the gravity of this last point is being felt all over the world, reflected in the daily news and almost every other facet of life. Technological determinism may still rear its head from time to time, mostly for sensational purposes, but the practical understanding is that the technologies are not the issue in...

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