Zoltán Boldizsár Simon
Bielefeld University
Today’s technological-scientific prospect of posthumanity simultaneously evokes and defies historical understanding. On the one hand, it implies a historical claim of an epochal transformation concerning posthumanity as a new era. On the other, by postulating the birth of a novel, better-than-human subject for this new era, it eliminates the human subject of modern Western historical understanding. In this article, I attempt to understand posthumanity as measured against the story of humanity as the story of history itself. I examine the fate of humanity as the central subject of history in three consecutive steps: first, by exploring how classical philosophies of history achieved the integrity of the greatest historical narrative of history itself through the very invention of humanity as its subject; second, by recounting how this central subject came under heavy criticism by postcolonial and gender studies in the last half-century, targeting the universalism of the story of humanity as the greatest historical narrative of history; and third, by conceptualizing the challenge of posthumanity against both the story of humanity and its criticism. Whereas criticism fragmented history but retained the possibility of smaller-scale narratives, posthumanity does not doubt the feasibility of the story of humanity. Instead, it necessarily invokes humanity, if only in order to be able to claim its supersession by a better-than-human subject. In that, it represents a fundamental challenge to the modern Western historical condition and the very possibility of historical narratives – small-scale or large-scale, fragmented or universal.
Keywords historical understanding  humanity  posthumanity  otherness  temporality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0952695118779519
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.Nick Bostrom (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
When Species Meet.Donna J. Haraway - 2007 - Univ of Minnesota Press.
The Poverty of Historicism.Karl Popper - 1957 - London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Historical Thinking and the Human: Introduction.Marek Tamm & Zoltán Boldizsár Simon - 2020 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 14 (3):285-309.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Future of Humanity.Nick Bostrom - 2009 - In Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis, Evan Selinger & Søren Riis (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Technology. Palgrave-Macmillan.
Story and Story-World.Amos N. Wilder - 1983 - Interpretation 37 (4):353-364.
Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity. [REVIEW]Michael Hauskeller - 2009 - Ethical Perspectives 16 (1):144-147.
The Evolutionary Challenge for Technology.Alexander Laszlo - 2003 - World Futures 59 (8):639 – 645.
Story Identity and Story Type.Aaron Smuts - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (1):5-14.
Consequentialism and the Standard Story of Action.Paul Hurley - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (1):25-44.


Added to PP index

Total views
131 ( #73,362 of 2,404,058 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
38 ( #21,677 of 2,404,058 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes