A Posthumanist Anthropology between Human and Machine

  • Janina Loh (Vortragende*r)

Aktivität: VorträgeVortragAndere


This talk will provide a critical reflection of the work of traditional philosophical anthropology by focusing on the relation between human and machine and not – as conventionally in the pre-Anthropocene ages – human and animal. Considering young disciplines such as robot ethics and discourses with several anthropological assumptions such as trans- and posthumanism it is surprising that there still exists no systematical work on a philosophical anthropology between human and machine. The project rests on the premise that man is a bio-technological being, i.e. she is part of the organic as well as the technical universe; humans do not have completely non-technological modes of existence. In the light of these reflections I will sketch the agenda for a gradual and negative anthropology by using Wallach’s and Allen’s concept of functional equivalence in order to include it in a relational approach (Coeckelbergh) – understanding functionalism phenomenologically rather than essentialistic. The approach presented here intends a critical perspective on traditional philosophical-anthropological thinking insofar as it abandons the vision of an essentialistic defined human (or any other being’s) nature. In transcending dualisms and categories of species and beings it rejects an anthropocentric setup and by this is thought as a posthumanist approach in the tradition of Haraway, Barad, Wolfe, Latour, Gunkel, and others. A not-anthropocentric anthropology can still pose the fundamental question of classical philosophical anthropology: “What is man?”. However, my posthumanist answer to that question has twofoldly varied by contrast with the traditional philosophical-anthropological way of thinking during the pre-Anthropocene ages: (1) I understand the differences between species and beings shifting and gradually (instead of fixed and categorically) and (2) I alter the focus from the subjects in question to what lies “in between” (Arendt) in order to articulate an alternative to an essentialist anthropological approach. The age of the Anthropocene is defined via man’s influence and power that even includes her own decentering in the one discipline that explicitly asks for “the human”: anthropology. The final conclusion of a truly posthumanist anthropology might even dismiss this traditional philosophical discipline altogether. It might be that philosophical anthropology in the age of the Anthropocene ultimately transforms to a posthumanist “otherology” or “alteritology”. If we believe Gunkel who claims that “[t]here is […] always someone or something that is and must be the other” (Gunkel 2012, 160) this might appear as the adequate response to the decentering of the “anthropos” from the center of the stage of her own age: In the age of the Anthropocene there exist only the others, the alterities.
Zeitraum23 März 2017
EreignistitelGrand Narratives, Posthumanism, and Aesthetics
OrtAarhus, DänemarkAuf Karte anzeigen