The 7th Conference of the Beyond Humanism Conference Series
“From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?”
September 15-18, 2015
Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
We invite abstracts of up to 500 words, to be sent in MS Word and PDF format to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Files should be named and submitted in the following manner:
Submission: First Name Last name. docx (or .doc) / .pdf
Example: “Submission: MaryAndy.docx”
Abstracts should be received by the 1st of April 2015.
Acceptance notifications will be sent out by the end of April 2015.
All those accepted will receive information on the venue(s), local attractions, accommodations, restaurants, and planned receptions and events for participants.
Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes. Each presenter will be given 10 additional minutes for questions and discussions with the audience, for a total of 30 minutes.
“From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism?”
The relationship between humanism, posthumanism and transhumanism is one of the most pressing ones concerning many current cultural, social, political, ethical and individual contemporary challenges. There have been a great amount of uses of the various terms in historical and contemporary discourses. The goal of the conference “From Humanism to Post- and Transhumanism” is to get a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their ethical, social and cultural advantages and disadvantages. There is an Ancient, a Renaissance, Enlightenment, a secular humanism and many other types of humanism. When dealing with the various movements which claim to go beyond humanism, the concept “humanism” implies the affirmation of categorical dualities, e.g. the immaterial and the material. Consequently, a secular humanism which holds a secular, naturalist or this-worldly ontology also rejects a humanism which affirms such dualities and could be classified as a beyond humanism approach. Similar challenges need to be considered when talking about meta-, trans- or posthumanism. However, the following short descriptions represent possible initial definitions which are helpful when investigating in more detail different contemporary movements.
Posthumanism represents the attempt to avoid affirming categorical dualities in theoretical and practical circumstances. The term was coined first by Ihab Hassan in the article “Prometheus as Performer: Toward a Posthumanist Culture?” from 1977. The cultural embeddedness reveals its origin in the tradition of literary theory, cultural studies and continental philosophy. In contrast to posthumanism, transhumanism is intimately related to the English speaking world, naturalism, utilitarianism, and evolutionary theory, as the term “transhumanism” was coined by Julian Huxley. Darwin supporter Thomas Henry Huxley was his paternal grandfather. His brother Aldous Huxley was the author of the novel “Brave New World”. A noble-prize winner in biology was his lesser known half-brother Andrew Huxley. Julian Huxley was the first general director of the UNESCO, and long-time president and member of the British Eugenics Society. “Transhumanism” as terminus technicus was coined in his monograph “New Bottles for New Wine” from 1957. There, Julian Huxley stressed the need of human beings to transcend themselves by means of the usage of science and technology. Metahumanism is a more recent concept coined by Jaime del Val and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner in 2010 (published in 2011) which represents an alternative to post- and transhumanism and can be seen as lying beyond humanism as well as in between post- and transhumanism – the prefix meta captures both connotations in between as well as beyond.
To investigate the relationship between the various beyond humanism movements further, the following questions need to be addressed:
*Has a move from humanism to post- or transhumanism occurred? *When did humanism begin to dominate cultural realms? *What do we mean when we talk about humanism, posthumanism and transhumanism? *Which historical figures have been particularly relevant concerning thinking beyond humanism? *What is the relationship between Nietzsche, Darwin or Freud and beyond humanist thinking? *What is the difference between postmodernism and posthumanism? *Are all postmodern thinkers ancestors of posthumanist philosophies? *Who is the “posthuman”? *Is the posthuman a reconceptualization of humanist understanding of anthropoi, a carbonate-based entity still belonging to the human species but having at least one capacity which goes beyond the capacities current human beings possess, a carbonate-based entity no longer belonging to the human species or a silicon-based entity? *What is the role of bioart, new meadia arts, movies, science fiction, literary works, music or performances concerning beyond humanism discourses? *Does technology promote plurality or does it promote totalitarian or paternalistic social structures?
In general, we welcome papers related to various aspects of posthuman studies. Humanism, and meta-, post- and transhumanism can be analysed with respect to a great variety of specialized topics, questions and disciplines:
1. Philosophy: Anthropology; Ethics; Applied Ethics; Bioethics; Ontology; History of Philosophy (Existentialism; Phenomenology and postphenomenology; New Materialisms; Speculative Realism; Antihumanism; Postmodernism).
2. Medical Ethics: Enhancement; Longevity; Neuroethics; Deep brain stimulation; Moral Status of embryos.
3. Science and Technology Studies: Artificial intelligence; Cybernetics; Cyborg studies; Robotics; Existential risks; Emerging Technologies; Virtual reality.
4. Cultural studies: Transhumanism; Posthumanism; Critical theory; Deconstructionism; Metahumanism; Poststructuralism; Media Studies; Bioarts and Performance Art; Science fiction; Popular culture; Utopian/dystopian literature; Literary Theory.
5. Theology: Evolution; Biotechnology; New Spirituality; Singularity; Non-duality and Mysticism.
6. Interdisciplinary Fields: Gender Studies; Animal Studies; Ecology; Disability Studies; Critical Race Studies; Future Studies.
7. Other Disciplines: Law; Economy; Art History; History of Medicine; Informatics; Biology; Sociology.
We also welcome suggestions for further topics, not included in the above list.