Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant

By Pollack-Milgate, Howard | Goethe Yearbook, January 1, 2020 | Go to article overview

Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant


Pollack-Milgate, Howard, Goethe Yearbook


Edgar Landgraf, Gabriel Trop, and Leif Weatherby, eds. Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant. New York: Bloomsbury, 2019. 337 pp.

The diverse group of theories known as "posthumanism" shares perhaps but one characteristic: the belief that humanism, in our historical moment, has been, or needs to be, overcome. This collection, containing an introduction and a series of fourteen papers, many by frequent contributors to the Goethe Yearbook, might well have been entitled: "On Humanism: Essays for its Cultured Despisers." Its greatest virtue (and source of delight) is its construction of fascinating and often unexpected interfaces between, very broadly speaking, (post-)Kantian writers and natural scientists and various directions of today's posthumanist thought. These connections work both ways: not only do they provide new windows into older texts, more and less familiar, but also offer different ways of understanding the most contemporary of themes, from computational neuroscience to global capitalism. Another virtue of the collection is its very varied discussion of the different species of posthumanism; though names like N. Katherine Hayles, Cary Wolfe, and Rosi Braidotti recur in many papers along with the terms "speculative realism," "critical posthumanism," and "object-oriented ontology," each author has a different take on the nature and balance of these different approaches. Most significant is the question everywhere in the background-but left as an exercise to the reader to answer-what do these texts and authors from the "Age of Humanism" have to tell us today?

The essays in this collection are uniformly lucid, balanced in length, and each addresses from its particular angle the relationship between present and past. Since there is not enough space to do justice to them all, perhaps a partial catalogue of the intriguing connections made within and implied between them can demonstrate the richness and breadth of coverage. First, we read of relationships between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophers and natural scientists and contemporary cybernetic, systems, and posthumanist theories that demonstrate the constancy of fundamental questions at distinctly different levels of physiological and technological sophistication: Kant's friend, the doctor Markus Herz on vertigo and Marvin Minsky guiding electronic rats through mazes in the 1950's (Jeffrey Kirkwood); Fichtean intersubjectivity and the Turing-test robots of Ex Machina (Alex Hogue); the physiologist Johannes Müller and enactive autopoesis (Edgar Landgraf); Hufeland and Braidotti on the role of death in life (Jocelyn Holland); Gall's phrenology and Derrida's deconstruction of the human/ animal distinction (Patrick Fortmann); Hegel's nonhuman Geist and Bateson (John H. Smith). Second, we see classic Goethezeit authors and philosophers who offer posthumanist insights: Kleist and the limits of the human in the animal and the mechanical (Tim Mehigan), Kantian and Humboldtian natural beauty beyond the human (Peter Gilgen, Elizabeth Millán), and Hegel's dialectical overcoming of Kant as a model for a necessary overcoming of what today's data engineers mean by "ontology" (Leif Weatherby). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.