The Crisis of Humanism and Emerging Post-Anthropocentric Epoch: A Personalistic View

Abstract

The present article is devoted to a discussion of the crisis of humanism and prospects for a post-anthropocentric society. The evolution of humanism is traced as a broad cultural phenomenon that affects all spheres of society. The author sets out to show that the crisis of humanism is associated not only with philosophical criticism from the perspectives of trans- and post-humanism, but also with the prospects for a society in which humanistic ideas about a person as a bodily- and mentally-autonomous being continue to predominate. In this regard, various ethical and philosophical concepts are considered that seemingly point to the inevitability of going beyond the limits of anthropocentrism. However, one particular problem that emerges is either ignored by many authors or remains to be properly resolved. This problem is associated with the prospect of losing the capability of “metamorphosis” due to the latest human technologies for universal communication (empathy and understanding) along with the destruction of the fragile global “lifeworld”. The destruction of this lifeworld is fraught with alienation and the multiplication of planetary risks. The author proposes that the problem of unpredictability and the danger of manmade interventions in human nature can best be approached by considering the hypothetical posthuman in close relationship with the social whole. This philosophical “optics” can be borrowed from the philosophy of personalism, understood here as the set of philosophical attitudes that affirm the highest value of a personality as a transcending being, involved in a timeless dialogue with other personalities.

Author Biography

Dmitriy A. Davydov, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Dmitriy A. Davydov, Candidate of Political Science, Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Dmitriy conducts research in the fields of political theory and philosophy. His research interests are focused on global social and political transformations, concepts of a post-capitalist society, problems associated with technologies for changing human nature, as well as the philosophy of personalism.

References


  • Alaimo, S. (2016). Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times. Minneapolis, MI: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Andrés, I. (2019, April 02). Rosi Braidotti: “What is necessary is a radical transformation, following the bases of feminism, anti-racism and anti-fascism”. CCCBLAB. Retrieved from: http://lab.cccb.org/en/rosi-braidotti-what-is-necessary-is-a-radical-transformation-following-the-bases-of-feminism-anti-racism-and-anti-fascism/

  • Bailey, R. (2005). Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

  • Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831. DOI: 10.1086/345321

  • Berdyaev, N. A. (1999). Personalism and Marxism (Fr. Stephen Janos, Trans.). Retrieved from: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1935_400.html

  • Berdyaev, N. A. (2010). O rabstve i svobode cheloveka [Slavery and Freedom]. Moscow: AST, Astrel’, Poligrafizdat.

  • Berdyaev, N. A. (2018). Smysl tvorchestva [The Meaning of the Creative Act]. Moscow: AST.

  • Boccaccio, G. (2003). The Decameron (G. H. McWilliam, Trans.). London, UK: Penguin Classics. (Original work published 1353)

  • Bostrom, N. (2016). Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Bracciolini, G. F. P. (1984). Fatsetsii [Facetiae] (A. Dzhivelegov, Trans.). Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia Literatura. (Original work published 1470)

  • Braidotti, R. (2013). The Posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

  • Braidotti, R. (2019). [Preface] The Posthuman as Exuberant Excess. In F. Ferrando, Philosophical Posthumanism (pp. xi–xvi). London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Cano Abadía, M. (2018). New Materialisms: Re-Thinking Humanity within an Interdisciplinary Framework. InterCultural Philosophy, 1, 168–183. DOI: 10.11588/icp.2018.1.48071

  • Chen-Morris, R., Yoran, H., & Zak, G. (2015). Renaissance Humanism and the Ambiguities of Modernity: Introduction. The European Legacy, 20(5), 427–434. DOI: 10.1080/10848770.2015.1041819

  • Cole-Turner, R. (Ed.). (2008). Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  • Conde, A., & Javier, S. (2018). ¿Esposibleun Transhumanismo Marxista? [Is transhumanist Marxism possible]. Eikasía – Revista de Filosofía, 82, 47–86. Retrieved from https://eprints.ucm.es/48441/

  • Davydov, D. A. (2020). Lichnost’ i gosudarstvo v terniiakh postkapitalizma: na puti k novoi antagonisticheskoi obshchestvennoi formatsii [Personality and State in the Thorns of Post-Capitalism: toward a New Antagonistic Formation]. Moscow: LENAND.

  • Del Val, J., & Sorgner, S. L. (2011). A Metahumanist Manifesto. The Agonist, 4(2). New York, NY: Nietzsche Circle. Retrieved from https://metabody.eu/metahumanism/

  • Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1977). Anti Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (R. Hurley, M. Seem, & H. Lane, Trans.). New York, NY: Penguin Books. (Originally published in French 1972)

  • Derrida, J. (1977). Of Grammatology (corrected edition; G. C. Spivak, Trans.). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. (Originally published in French 1967)

  • Des Périers, B. (1965). Cymbalum Mundi (B. L. Knapp, Trans.). New York, NY: Bookman Associates. (Original work published 1537)

  • le Dévédec, N. (2018). Unfit for the Future? The Depoliticization of Human Perfectibility, From the Enlightenment to Transhumanism. European Journal of Social Theory, 21(4), 488–507. DOI: 10.1177/1368431017750974

  • Donaldson, S., & Cole-Turner, R. (Eds.). (2018). Christian Perspectives on Transhumanism and the Church. Chips in the Brain, Immortality, and the World of Tomorrow. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Esfandiary, F. M. (1989). Are You a Transhuman? Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World. New York, NY: Warner Books.

  • Ettinger, R. C. W. (1972). Man into Superman: The Startling Potential of Human Evolution and How to be Part of It. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

  • Ferrando, F. (2013). Posthumanism, Transhumanism, Antihumanism, Metahumanism and New Materialisms: Differents and Relations. Existenz, 8(2), 26–32. Retrieved from https://existenz.us/volumes/Vol.8-2Ferrando.pdf

  • Ferrando, F. (2019). Philosophical Posthumanism. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Fishman, L. G., & Davydov, D. A. (2015). Budushhee kapitalizma: ot litRPG k futurologii [The Future of Capitalism: from litRPG to Futurology]. Svobodnaja mysl’, 3, 139–150.

  • Foucault, M. (1994). The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York, NY: Vintage Books. (Originally published in French 1966)

  • Freud, S. (1949). The Ego and the Id. London, UK: The Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1927)

  • Fromm, E. (1990). The Sane Society. New York, NY: Holt Paperbacks. (Original work published 1955)

  • Fromm, E. (2013). To Have or To Be? London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic. (Original work published 1976)

  • Fukuyama, F. (2003). Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York, NY: Picador.

  • Fuller, R. (2015). Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose. London, UK: Zed Books.

  • Gorfunkel, A. Kh. (2017). Filosofiia epokhi vozrozhdeniia [Renaissance Philosophy] (3rd ed.). Moscow: LENAND.

  • Gregersen, N. (2013). Imago Imaginis: Chelovecheskaja lichnost’ s bogoslovskoj tochki zrenija [Imago Imaginis: A Human Person From a Theological Point of View] (S. Pavlov, Trans.). In A. Bodrov & M. Tolstoluzhenko (Eds.), Bogoslovie lichnosti [Theology of the Person] (pp. 1–27). Moscow: BBI Publ.

  • Habermas, J. (1987). The Theory of Communicative Action: Vol. 2. Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason (Th. A. McCarthy, Trans.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

  • Habermas, J. (2003). The Future of Human Nature. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

  • Harari, Y. N. (2017). Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Homo Deus. New York, NY: Harper.

  • Haraway, D. (1985). Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the 1980s. Socialist Review, 80, 65–107.

  • Haraway, D. (1991). Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Hassan, I. (1977). Prometheus as Performer: Toward a Posthumanist Culture? Georgia Review, 31, 830–850.

  • Hayles, N. K. (1999). How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

  • Heidegger, M. (1978). Letter on Humanism. In D. F. Krell (Ed.), Heidegger: Basic Writings (F. A. Capuzzi & J. G. Gray, Trans.; pp. 193–242). London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (Original work published 1946)

  • Hottois, G. (2014). Transgumanizm – eto gumanizm? [Is Transhumanism a Humanism?]. Chelovek, 6, 46–53.

  • Hughes, J. (2002). Democratic Transhumanism 2.0. Retrieved from: http://www.changesurfer.com/Acad/DemocraticTranshumanism.htm

  • Hughes, J. (2004). Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • Huxley, J. (1958). Religion without Revelation. New York, NY: Mentor.

  • Kolesnichenko, I. V. (2018). Lichnost’ v russkoi filosofii 1920–1930-kh godov: biografiia idei [Person in Russian Philosophy of the 1920–1930s: Biography of an Idea]. Moscow: Entsiklopedist-Maksimum.

  • Kondrashov, P. N. (2019). Filosofiia Karla Marksa. Ekzistentsial’no-antropologicheskie aspekty [Karl Marx’s Philosophy: Existential and Anthropological Aspects]. Moscow: URSS.

  • Kurtz, P. (2007). What Is Secular Humanism? Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

  • Kurzweil, R. (2005). The Singularity is Near. New York, NY: Viking Books.

  • Kurzweil, R. (2012). How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. New York, NY: Viking Books.

  • Lacroix, J. (2004). Izbrannoe: Personalizm (I. I. Blauberg, I. S.Vdovina, & V. M. Volodin, Trans.) [Personalism: Selected Works]. Moscow: ROSSPEN.

  • Lunacharsky, A. V. (1925). Ot Spinozy do Marksa [From Spinoza to Marx]. Moscow: Novaia Moskva. Retrieved from: http://lunacharsky.newgod.su/lib/ot-spinozy-do-marksa/naucnyj-socializm/#%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BA%D1%81

  • Lyotard, J.-F. (1984). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. (G. Bennington & B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis, MI: University of Minnesota Press. (Originally published in French 1979)

  • Maher, D. F., & Mercer, C. (Eds.). (2009). Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9780230100725

  • Maher, D. F., & Mercer, C. (Eds.). (2014). Transhumanism and the Body. The World Religions Speak. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan US. DOI: 10.1057/9781137342768

  • Marguerite of Navarre (1984). The Heptaméron (P. A. Chilton, Trans.). London, UK: Penguin Classics. (Original work published 1558)

  • Marx, K. (1966). Zametki po povodu knigi Dzhemsa Millja [Notes on James Mill] (n.d., Trans.). Voprosy filosofii, 2, 113–127.

  • Marx, K. (1969). Theses on Feuerbach. In K. Marx & F. Engels (Eds.), Selected Works (W. Lough, Trans.; Vol. 1; pp. 13–15). Retrieved from: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

  • Mason, P. (2017). Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • More, T. (2003). Utopia. London, UK: Penguin Classics. (Original work published 1516)

  • Mounier, E. (1999). Manifest personalizma [The Personalist Manifesto] (I. S. Vdovina & V. M. Volodina, Trans.). Moscow: Respublika.

  • Nietzsche, F. (2017). Po tu storonu dobra i zla. Preliudiia k filosofii budushchego (N. N. Polilov, Trans.). [Beyond Good and Evil]. Moscow: Eksmo Press. Retrieved from http://nietzsche.ru/works/main-works/side/ (Originally published in German 1886)

  • Petrarch, F. (2011). Moja tajna, ili Kniga besed o prezrenii k miru [My Secret Book]. (M. Gershenzon, Trans.). Moscow: URSS. (Original work published 1343)

  • Rabelais, F. (2016). Gargantiua i Pantagriuel’ [The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel] (V. Piast, Trans.). Moscow: Azbuka Attikus. (Original work published 1532–1564)
    Sartre, J.-P. (1989). Existentialism Is a Humanism (Ph. Mairet, Trans.). In W. Kaufman (Ed.), Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre (pp. 345–368). New York, NY: Meridian Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm (Original work published 1956)

  • Spufford, P. (1989). Money and Its Use in Medieval Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Srnicek N., & Williams, A. (2015). Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work. New York, NY: Verso.

  • Stam, S. M. (1984). Vedushchie idei ital’ianskogo gumanizma [Leading Ideas of Italian Humanism]. In S. M. Stam (Ed.), Ital’ianskii gumanizm epokhi Vozrozhdeniia. Sbornik tekstov. Chast’ 1. [Italian Renaissance Humanism. Collection of Texts. Part 1.] (N. V. Reviakina, N. I. Deviataikina, & L. M. Luk’ianova, Trans.). Saratov: Izdatel’stvo Saratovskogo universiteta.

  • Stirner, M. (2017). The Unique and Its Property (A. Ludd, Trans.). Underworld Amusements. Retrieved from https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/max-stirner-the-unique-and-its-property (Originally published in German 1845)

  • Taylor, Ch. M. (2007). A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Teilhard de Chardin, P. (2008). The Phenomenon of Man (B. Wall, Trans.). New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics. (Originally published in French 1955)

  • Vattimo, G. (2007). Posle khristianstva [After Christianity]. (D. V. Novikov, Trans.). Moscow: Tri Kvadrata.

  • Wallerstein, I. (2004). World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Weber, M. (2002). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writing (P. Baehr & G. C. Wells, Trans.). London, UK: Penguin Classics. (Originally published in German 1905–1910)

  • Williams, T. D., & Bengtsson, J. O. (2018). Personalism. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/personalism/

Published
2020-07-09
How to Cite
Davydov, D. (2020). The Crisis of Humanism and Emerging Post-Anthropocentric Epoch: A Personalistic View. Changing Societies & Personalities, 4(2), 220–247. doi:10.15826/csp.2020.4.2.099
Section
Opening the Debate