How Have We Always Been Posthuman?




humanism, transhumanism, critical posthumanism, rootedness, transcending, critical humanism


This paper problematises the justification of ‘postist’ revisions of humanism. In the first part of the paper, a line of thought that persistently marks the self-perception of man is presented. It stretches from Plato, through Pico della Mirandola and Kant, all the way to existentialism and philosophical anthropology in the twentieth century. In it, man is understood as chronically deficient in their own ‘nature’ or ‘essence’, and his privileged status is built from this rootlessness. The second part of the paper is dedicated to the relationship of transhumanism and critical posthumanism to humanism. Transhumanism is found to harmoniously continue and/or radicalise the humanist project of self-creating and self-transcending man, while critical posthumanism advocates a rethinking and redescription of man in view of what are considered to have been the disastrous consequences of humanism: a transgression in relation to everything different from man by anthropomorphising it and anthropocentrically measuring it against himself. The concluding part of the paper detects a certain arbitrariness in the understanding of humanism by its critics, reminds that even within such a broadly understood humanism, critical moments have been inherited as its own content and corrective, and that announcements of radical cuts and ruptures with the humanistic tradition are perhaps redundant. It is also noted that something non-negligible has changed with the contemporary challenges of technoscience – artificial intelligence, informatics, robotics –but it is contested that this change in social history requires a cardinal rejection, change or neglect of the intellectual heritage that enables responses to it and/or a rational dispute about it. A synoptic overview of humanist landmarks and their post-humanist condemnations is suggested, which would respect the heritage of humanist thought and the right or even the obligation built into it of its critical review.


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How to Cite

Krstić, Predrag. 2023. “How Have We Always Been Posthuman?”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 18 (2):329–350.