Pragmatic Humanism and the Posthumanist Challenge: Between Biocentrism and the New Human Being

In: Contemporary Pragmatism
Author: Ana Honnacker1
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Humanism is charged with fostering a harmful anthropocentrism that has led to the exploitation of non-human beings and the environment. Posthumanist and transhumanist ideas prominently aim at rethinking our self-understanding and human-nature relations. Yet these approaches turn out to be flawed when it comes to addressing the challenges of the “age of the humanity”, the Anthropocene. Whereas posthumanism fails in acknowledging the exceptional role of human beings with regard to political agency and responsibility, transhumanism overemphasizes human capabilities of controlling nature and only deepens the human-nature dualism. Therefore, a critical and humble version of humanism is suggested as a viable alternative. Drawing on pragmatist thinkers William James and F.C.S. Schiller, a resource for de-centering the human being is provided that critically reflects our role in the larger ecosystem and underlines human potentials as well as human responsibilities.

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