It is a common question, what is a “Posthuman?”
That is why it is inspiring for me to share the notion of the posthuman today. So, I will address in this article the question, what does posthuman mean?
You may have come across the term in a book, perhaps in a journal, or when you attended a symposium, and you may have asked yourself, but what does posthuman mean?
That is a genuinely relevant question in the 21st century, and it is a question that can be addressed from a philosophical perspective in many ways.
Why is that? Because the term Posthuman is what we call an umbrella or sometimes blanket term.
Posthuman is an umbrella term defined by many different schools of thought in diverse ways. So, which one are these schools of thought are we referring to?
There is many, on one side; we can see Posthumanism.
Posthumanism is a philosophical movement that is happening right now, addressing the topic of the Posthuman.
Also, Posthumanism is not one, but many; we should refer to Posthumanism(s). We can think of Critical Posthumanism, Cultural Posthumanism, together with Philosophical Posthumanism among others, such as Anti-humanism, as well as, not one and many; there is Marxist Anti-humanism, which has many diverse types of anti-human; as well, we can also think of New Materialism, we can also think of Meta-humanism and so on.
Is this confusing? Yes, a little bit. Is this exciting?
Of course, it is, it is overly exciting to reflect on a topic that is happening right now; why there are so many diverse groups of people thinking about this topic because of the Posthuman, and this is the way that is redefining the notion of the human in the 21st century.
So why does the notion of the human not reflect who humans are in the 21st century?
Specifically, the human is an open notion. So, all these movements share something in common. They share the idea that humans are a closed notion that no longer reflects who we are.
The human is an open notion, an open notion of evolution, for instance, and we can bring into the discussion the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, Charles Darwin; as we can think of as an open notion through technology, for instance, and the idea of the Cyborg.
Posthumanism and Transhumanism not being just only one specific movement; we should address them in the plural, like Posthumanism(s) and Transhumanism(s), because each of them is made and developed by quite different schools of thought within; for instance, according to Transhumanism, we have Democratic Transhumanism, then Libertarian Transhumanism and Extropianism, philosophy of extropy; [an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition].
We have the singularity; you can see already that this movement is one but many; that is why we refer to Transhumanism(s); all these schools of thought bare the same notions.
As a simple example, think of someone with a cardiac implantable electronic device, including pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), biventricular pacemakers, and cardiac loop recorders, are designed to help control or monitor irregular heartbeats in people with certain heart rhythm disorders and heart failure.; we are talking about a human being who needs a piece of technology in order to survive.
Now, is this person a human? Yes, they are. Is this person a cyborg? On some level, they are also because we have some biology that needs some technology to survive the term. So, Cyborg comes from two words, which are cybernetic on one side and the other side organism.
We can think, for instance, of ecology and the notion of the Anthropocene, which is the area in which we are living. The idea is that human is not disconnected from the biosphere and from ecology.
Ecology comes from the Greek Oikos; the discourse on eco comes from Oikos, which means house. Oikos, the house, the home, the place we inhabit.
So, on one side, we are affecting the Anthropocene shows clearly that human habits are affecting everything else we are in relation to all the other species, to the planet as a whole and on the other side is that, we are affected by the environment, again, think to Darwin, believe to the notion of adaptation, our adaptation is an important notion. So, our species is as such because of planet Earth because it has adapted to planet Earth.