Towards a Non-Humanist Posthumanism: The Originary Prostheticity of Radical and Methodological Posthumanism

  • Tamar Sharon
Chapter
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 14)

Abstract

We can now begin to take a closer look at radical and methodological posthumanism as the main candidates for a non-humanist alternative to dystopic and liberal posthumanism. These approaches develop alternative frameworks that move beyond the essentialism inherent in instrumental and substantive models of technology that inform dystopic and liberal posthumanism. Radical posthumanism argues for a reflexive model of technology, in which technologies are both seen as the product of human creativity and a force that shapes human existence, i.e. technologies are determinative of human experience, though not deterministic. And methodological posthumanism introduces the key concept of technological mediation, which implies that technologies are active mediators of how humans experience the world and how humans act, transforming ourselves and the world in the process.

Both approaches imply an “originary prostheticity”, the idea that the human exists in relation to and is dependent on its technologies; that the human emerges as a result of this relationship. In this view, the dualist humanist paradigm is a hindrance to understanding how humans engage with technologies. Both approaches also argue for more positive conceptualizations of technology than previous critical philosophy of technology allowed for. For radical posthumanism, starting with the “Cyborg Manifesto”, this implies a celebration of the political potential inherent in new technologies. For methodological posthumanism this means conceptualizing the ambivalent status of technology, which may lead to a loss of involvement of humans in their environment in some instances, but also amplifies and creates new forms of engagement.

Keywords

Technological mediation Originary prostheticity “Empirical turn” Instrumental model of technology French philosophical materialism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamar Sharon
    • 1
  1. 1.PhilosophyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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