Posthumanism 101: Non-Fiction and Fiction

After all these posts on posthumanism of late decided to move from non-ficitional reading, which honestly at this point we’ll only enlighten on detail after detail of the aspects touched on by David Roden in his excellent book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human , where he defined the core concept as “the philosophical critique of anthropocentrism in its different flavours”.1 He divided this core value system into four flavors:

1. Speculative posthumanism (SP) – the primary concern of this book – opposes human-centric thinking about the long-run implications of modern technology.
2. Critical posthumanism is a broadly based attack on the supposed anthropocentrism of modern philosophy and intellectual life. 
3. Speculative realism opposes the philosophical privileging of the human– world relationship in Kantian and post-Kantian transcendental philosophy. 
4. Philosophical naturalism is also opposed to the claim that philosophical truth claims can be arbitrated from a transcendental point of view but uses scientific theory as a constraint on philosophical truth claims. By contrast, while speculative realists are equally hostile to transcendentalism, many also oppose naturalism on the grounds that science is just another way of translating a mind-independent reality into forms that humans can understand.

 Since David’s excellent framework engenders an elaboration of texts I thought it might be beneficial to fill out a basic reading list within each of these categories (it is not meant to be a complete bibliography, but my own personal list: take it or add your own – or leave a comment below of your favorites!):

Speculative posthumanism

1. David Roden. Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human
2. Asher Seidel. Inhuman Thoughts: Philosophical Explorations of Posthumanity
3. Rosi Braidotti. The Posthuman
4. Dennis M. Weiss, Amy D. Propen, Colbey Emmerson Reid Editors. Design, Mediation, and the Posthuman

Critical Posthumanism

1. N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics
2. Cary Wolfe. What Is Posthumanism?

3. Stefan Herbrechter. Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis
4. Jussi Parikka. Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology

Speculative Realism

Introductory Texts that will cover the main ideas and concepts from different perspectives (SR is an umbrella concept covering the work of several philosophers, some who even disown the umbrella concept altogether: see here):

1. Peter Gratton. Speculative Realism: Problems and Prospects
2. Tom Sparrow. The End of Phenomenology: Metaphysics and the New Realism (Speculative Realism)
3. Steven Shaviro. The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism(Posthumanities)

Philosophical Naturalism

1. Stewart Goetz;Charles Taliaferro. Naturalism (Interventions)
2. John R. Shook;Paul Kurtz. The Future of Naturalism


Science Fictional Posthumanisms

1. iO9 – Annalee Newitz. The Essential Posthuman Science Fiction Reading List

All I would add to her list is a couple favorites:

2. Stanislaw Lem: Cyberiad, Solaris, His Master’s Voice, and anything else by Lem

Lem was a satirist at heart, but was a formidable encyclopedist and philosophical speculator, too. I consider him our Swift and postmodern Voltaire.

3. Greg Egan, H.G Wells, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod all have works in this vein. Newitz above covers some of these. In fact one could probably cite hundreds of works in the posthuman vein.

Two that I’m currently reading are Linda Nagata‘s The Bohr Maker (series) and Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince (series)  Both of which I’ll be reviewing sometime in the future.

 

1. Roden, David (2014-10-10). Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (Kindle Location 499). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

14 thoughts on “Posthumanism 101: Non-Fiction and Fiction

    • Oh, yea… lots of good one’s: the reason why I figured not going further, because these have great bibliographies that mention what you’re speaking of. Yea, all three of the introductory books speak of Levi and others. Any of the urbanomic books are excellent. And, I’ve covered here on the site Harman, Bryant, Meillassoux, Badiou, Brassier, etc. etc.

      As you say there is a good 20-30 good books that could be added and many more prepatory works. 🙂

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  1. I am literally thinking of trying to write a “book”- not for realz- simply to try to limit the deluge of reading. My copy of David’s book is sitting in my kitchen but atm I’ve been reading up on addictions for a pessimistic essay that may or may not be satire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Craig,

    Thanks again for the shout. So nice to know that people are getting something out of my odd little book.

    Do you, Arran, or anyone else know anything good written in the area of posthumanism, embodiment and sexuality. I’m possibly going to co-write something in this area, so a concise reading list would be good.

    D

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    • I’m reading a book by Steven T. Brown Tokyo Cyberpunk Posthumanism In Japanese Visual Culture that is very interesting dealing with most of the themes from the 90’s onward. More specialized, but still fascinating in that it works through many of the notions your presenting of performativity in your later pages. Japanese culture has always had a fetish with the uncanny: dolls, androids, etc. And, now with their need in robotics to incarnate the thin line between human and alien other Brown brings out a great deal of the nuances otherwise missed.

      Another is Full Metal Apache: Transactions between cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop Art America by Takayuki Tatsumi. He’s another worker of the territory.

      But both works deal with the erotic/death themes between body, process, etc. And give great background in that area of performative art that you seem to show an interest in.

      Like

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