We imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0.
Posthuman Life argues that the enhancement debate projects a human face onto an empty screen. We do not know what will happen and, not being posthuman, cannot anticipate how posthumans will assess the world. If a posthuman future will not necessarily be informed by our kind of subjectivity or morality the limits of our current knowledge must inform any ethical or political assessment of that future. Posthuman Life develops a critical metaphysics of posthuman succession and argues that only a truly speculative posthumanism can support an ethics that meets the challenge of the transformative potential of technology.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Churchland's Centipede 1. Humanism, Transhumanism and Posthumanism 2. A Defence of Pre-Critical Posthumanism 3. The Edge of the Human 4. Weird Tales: Anthropologically Unbounded Posthumanism 5. The Disconnection Thesis 6. Functional Autonomy and Assemblage Theory 7. New Substantivism: A Theory of Technology 8. The Ethics of Becoming Posthuman. Index
David Roden is Lecturer in Philosophy at The Open University, UK. His published work has addressed the relationship between deconstruction and analytic philosophy, philosophical naturalism, the metaphysics of sound, and posthumanism.
"Unpacking a range of debates spanning ethics, existentialism, phenomenology, and the philosophy of mind, Roden offers a compelling take on the fate of humanism in a posthuman world. … Throughout, Roden’s writing is careful, accessible, and riddled with pop-culture references. Overall, this book succeeds as both a work of original research and as a primer for those curious about posthumanity. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - L. A. Wilkinson, CHOICE
"I would recommend Roden's book to readers with at least some expertise in modern day ethics and phenomenology. Its greatest strength is that it is conceptually clear with a logical structure. The arguments are well worked out and lucid. Reading this book will lead readers to reflect about their own intuitions and preconceptions."
Kasper Raus, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Roden challenges the notion that any potential moral agents of the future that can trace their line of descent back to humanity will be something like Kantian moral agents rather than agents possessing a moral orientation we simply cannot imagine. He also manages to point towards connections of the postmodern thrust of late 21st century philosophy which challenged the role of the self/subject and recent developments in neuroscience, including connections between philosophical phenomenology and the neuroscience of human perception that do something very similar to our conception of the self. Indeed, Posthuman Life eclipses similar efforts at synthesis and Roden excels at bringing to light potentially pregnant connections between thinkers as diverse as Andy Clark and Heidegger, Donna Haraway and Deleuze and Derrida along with non-philosophical figures like the novelist Philip K. Dick." - Rick Searle, IEET
"A unique and fascinating work. I am not sure that I have ever read anything quite like it." - John Danaher, University College Cork, Ireland