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Post- and Transhumanism

An Introduction

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Edited By 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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Paragone of the Arts

Extract

Andy Miah

For over a century, science fiction has gripped the attention of audiences worldwide, with some of its most successful achievements furnishing the world with utopian and dystopian narratives about the progress of science and the limits of humanity’s ability to understand its own complexity and place in the world. However, it is only in the last 30 years that ideas of transhumanism and posthumanism have become part of the intellectual influences of various other art forms that engage with similar subject matter. It is even more recent that posthumanist and transhumanist scholars have interpreted the work of many pioneering artists and designers as manifestos for their ideas, or as rejections of the possible futures their ideas imply. This is not to say that transhumanist and posthumanist thought is absent from art works that precede this period, but that the explicit link between theories of post- and transhumanism and such artwork has only recently been made.

This chapter makes explicit the association of certain art forms and art works to trans- and posthumanist ideas, which have become constitutive of the political, cultural and philosophical differences and similarities that exist between these concepts. It discusses a range of art practices with a view to identifying themes within trans- and posthumanist art, while also articulating some of the foundational contributions in this field. It begins by advancing a definition of bioart to capture the common ground between transhumanist and posthumanist art. It then considers interpretations of such...

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