I’m teaching an environmental philosophy senior seminar at Sterling College this semester titled Posthumanism. The premise of the course is to think about how it might change our relationship with both one another and with the non-human world if we reframed our perspective to no longer see humans at the center of the world.
We begin our twice-weekly foray into the posthuman by dipping into the Copernican revolution and the rise and deconstruction of Cartesian dualism and build a scaffold of phenomenology and postmodernism to empower us to blur the boundaries between the human and the non-human.
To ask, quite literally, where do you end and where does the world begin?
Throughout the course, we summarily explore the end of nature, the demise of metanarratives, the slipperiness of fact and truth, the ineffectiveness of language, and sometimes get very very depressed.
In those moments of existential despair, though, we come back to time and again the idea that we are ultimately, bodily, inextricably connected with the world and everything and everyone else in it — and if we can learn to accept and embrace that connection, we can strengthen our relationships with one another first.
The key to understanding posthumanism, it turns out, is first understanding how we can be more human, more civil, more caring toward one another.
Only then, I believe, can we make any meaningful lasting change for a more resilient and positive future.