Not sure where I’m going with this post. I’m going to start by copying some text from Hayles in which she defines the posthuman:

First, the posthuman view privileges informational pattern over material instantiation, so that embodiment in a biological substrate is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life. Second, the posthuman view considers consciousness, regarded as the seat of human identity in the Western tradition long before Descartes thought he was a mind thinking, as an epiphenomenon, as an evolutionary upstart trying to claim that it is the whole show when in actuality it is only a minor sideshow. Third, the posthuman view thinks of the body as the original prothesis we all learn to manipulate, so that extending or replacing the body with other protheses becomes a continuation of a process that began before we were born. Fourth, and most important, by these and other means, the posthuman view configures human being so that is can be seamlessly articulated with intelligent machines. In the posthuman, there are no essential differences or demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism an biological organism, robot teleology and human goals. (1999: 2-3)

I’m not sure we’re on the same wavelength; I feel I need an example. Hayles unhelpfully mentions the ’six-million-dollar man’, apparently a “paradigmatic citizen of the posthuman regime” (1999: 4) and Robocop (whaaaaat …?).Real-life examples would be nice … .

I don’t feel such a definition – see earlier post – is sufficiently different to earlier critiques of the ‘liberal humanist subject’ or justifies any use of the term posthuman. Posthumanist yes, posthuman, no.


Hayles, N.K. (1999). Toward embodied virtuality, chapter 1 of How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature and informatics. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. pp1-25

No comments

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

HTML enabled