Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism

Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism

Steven Shakespeare

Language: English

Pages: 312

ISBN: 1441150110

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Beyond Human investigates what it means to call ourselves human beings in relation to both our distant past and our possible futures as a species, and the questions this might raise for our relationship with the myriad species with which we share the planet. Drawing on insights from zoology, theology, cultural studies and aesthetics, an international line-up of contributors explore such topics as our origins as reflected in early cave art in the upper Palaeolithic through to our prospects at the forefront of contemporary biotechnology. In the process, the book positions "the human" in readiness for what many have characterized as our transhuman or posthuman future. For if our status as rational animals or "animals that think" has traditionally distinguished us as apparently superior to other species, this distinction has become increasingly problematic. It has come to be seen as based on skills and technologies that do not distinguish us so much as position us as transitional animals. It is the direction and consequences of this transition that is the central concern of Beyond Human.

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rationality, on the one hand declaring the deceased to have been a trespasser in the space of the other, but on the other exercising a punishment on the ‘non-human animal’, who is not allowed to exercise power on or over human animal beings who knowingly encroach on its world. In the film, Larry Van Daele, a bear biologist, explains Treadwell’s mistake and what distinguishes him from those scientifically trained, in that he tried to understand the bears through attempting to ‘be a bear’. To

metamorphosis with the shock of dysrecognition arriving when the reader realizes that the distinction between the girl campers and their horses is fading and that the girls and horses merge in body and behaviour. The camp is a place of initiation, a place where transformation happens. The story traces a voyage away from the familiar, the familial, into a setting that offers alternative kinship, a community of girls and horses, and an experience that changes what it means to be a girl. But Horse

literary beasts play an important role in bringing to the fore the vital importance of human-animal relationships. In many of these recent texts, by Chamoiseau, and also by other French Carribbean writers such as Raphaël Confiant and Daniel Maximin, animals are represented in positive ways that evoke relationships with humans beyond the stereotyped dialectical interactions of master and slave or oppressor and victim. They are instrumental in providing 124 BEYOND HUMAN an anti-history that

only speculate on the use-value the images had for the community that drew and maintained them. However, we can observe that the communal mediatization of the key things in the communities’ life is nothing new. Today we have images that attest to a worship of information devices and recording equipment, but where are the affective images of the animals we depend upon to be found today, and what forms do they take? There are settler museums devoted to cattle images including the Cattle Raisers

theoretical symmetry between rights-bearers (Regan). By contrast, according to a Levinasian moral theology, the ethical life is born when the Other establishes asymmetry with me, commanding me with her powerlessness, provoking my response. Importantly, Singer describes the ways that differences between humans and members of other animal species justify different treatment and different rights, but we need the Levinasian reminder that differences between species require different responsibilities.

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