Re: "Post-humanism": The right term?

Damien Broderick (
Sat, 07 Aug 1999 23:33:19 +0000

At 12:46 AM 7/08/99 -0700, Brian Manning Delaney wrote:

>I recently had another "What's the Hell's up with this 'post-humanism'
>business?!" discussion with some friends of mine who are academics in the
>humanities. Many of them are technophobes, or simply unimaginative when it
>to the possibilities of human transformation. But their objections to the
>"post-humanism" I share.

The usual term, from Foucault and his mates, is `antihumanism'/`antihumanist'.

>(It's still not clear to me if the "post-" governs "human," with the "-ism"
>tacked on to make the substantive, or whether it governs "humanism."

The latter, with suspicions among its critics of a lurking distaste for humans.

>The operative notion of humanism in post-humanism seems to me possibly
>historically blind; and the notion of the human itself seems to me
>and biologically essentialist.

The case of the antihumanists is exactly that humanism as historically constructed is an essentialism that toadies to power. This places them in opposition to evolutionary psychology, for example, which argues that certain core inherited characteristics of Homo sap sap are not terrifically vulnerable to social massaging let alone obliteration (prior to genomic intervention).

Damien Broderick