Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant - New Directions in German Studies (Hardback)
  • Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant - New Directions in German Studies (Hardback)
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Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and the Life Sciences after Kant - New Directions in German Studies (Hardback)

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£98.00
Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 04/10/2018
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The literary and scientific renaissance that struck Germany around 1800 is usually taken to be the cradle of contemporary humanism. Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism shows how figures like Immanuel Kant and Johann Wolfgang Goethe as well as scientists specializing in the emerging modern life and cognitive sciences not only established but also transgressed the boundaries of the "human." This period so broadly painted as humanist by proponents and detractors alike also grappled with ways of challenging some of humanism's most cherished assumptions: the dualisms, for example, between freedom and nature, science and art, matter and spirit, mind and body, and thereby also between the human and the nonhuman. Posthumanism is older than we think, and the so-called "humanists" of the late Enlightenment have much to offer our contemporary re-thinking of the human.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781501335679
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 553 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
It is very reassuring to see that the emerging paradigm of posthumanism and the posthuman is beginning to receive some solid critical, historical and genealogical contextualisation. Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism: Mind, Matter, and Life Sciences after Kant is a very welcome extension of the idea of posthumanist prefiguration into the Enlightenment, German Idealism and Romanticism. The contributions to this important collection make an excellent case for locating the beginnings of a critique of anthropocentrism, human exceptionalism, mind-body dualism, unified self and free will within 18th- and 19th-century humanist thought. In doing so, they succeed in painting a more complex, less fashionable, more nuanced and thus more powerful picture of the posthumanist paradigm, while also providing an overdue critical reassessment of German Enlightenment and Romantic thought and their continued influence. The individual contributions take their readers on a fascinating journey through the beginnings of modern life and cognitive sciences, the aesthetic and politics of Romanticism and show how figures like Kant, Herder, Hegel, Humboldt, Kleist, Fichte, Goethe and many others already prepare the terrain for current revisions of materialism, the redefinition of the boundaries between human and nonhuman, the questioning of the role of agency and technology, as well as the rethinking of ecology. * Stefan Herbrechter, Research Fellow, Coventry University, UK *
The essays collected in Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism fully realize this volume's aim to constitute posthumanism as a "transhistorical ethos" informing Western thought since antiquity, but especially in the era that extends from the German Enlightenment through 19th-century literature and philosophy, with particular reference to discourses on life and nature. The "classical humanism" of post-Kantian German thought proves to be fertile territory for posthumanist rethinkings of our species-specific privileges and prerogatives. Indeed, as the editors suggest, Hegel does have something in common with cybernetics, and Kant does have something to tell us about embodiment. Readers of Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism will have many of their intellectual stereotypes challenged if not overturned and replaced with more generous conceptions. * Bruce Clarke, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science, Texas Tech University, USA *
The essays in this volume make clear just how turbulent and varied the field of posthuman theory has become; new readers are not obliged to fall in line with a single dominant strand of argumentation but are free to sort through the many intriguing claims for themselves. The essays are tightly interlaced from start to finish. Goethe and Kant, along with a host of nineteenth-century descendants, are woven into the contemporary theory discussion as if those two figures were central to defining posthuman. The average German scholar will be grateful for such careful explanations of the links between the historical sources under investigation and their relevance for the new theory movements. I was impressed over and over again with the many new vantage points contributors offer on canonical texts. This volume could produce an entirely new line of critical interest in both nineteenth-century German science and the established culture around 1800. I read the essays with fervor and I cannot recommend this volume more highly. * Daniel Purdy, Professor of German Studies, Pennsylvania State University, USA, and author of On the Ruins of Babel: Architectural Metaphor in German Thought (2011) *

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