Apolline Taillandier is a PhD candidate in political science in Sciences Po, Paris. She studies the history of transhumanist ideas from the 1970s onwards under the supervision of Jenny Andersson.
"Cyborgs, Selfish Genes, Moral machines: Posthuman Beings and Transhumanist Desires"
This presentation explores notions of the posthuman within transhumanist discourses. Transhumanism claims to continue a progressive movement prefigured from the Enlightenment, and is commonly referred to as “liberal posthumanism” or “ultra humanism”, as opposed to critical posthumanism. Drawing from this contrast between transhumanist and posthumanist perspectives, the presentation explores various ways in which transhumanism nonetheless relates to intellectual traditions that challenge the classical notion of the human. It will discuss the appropriation of these traditions and the extend to which they effectively challenge anthropocentrism, proposing three lines of argument: 1) the harawayan figure of the cyborg as a rhetorical resource to define a progressive strand within transhumanism, against libertarian transhumanism as well as bioconservatism (Hughes 2004); 2) the refusal of suffering for all sentience, animal or artificial, as a fundamental antispeciesist motive within transhumanism (Esfandiary 1981; Pearce 2007); 3) notions of identity, preferences and responsibility towards the future, importantly reframed within practical ethics, as core to the elaboration of a much more anthropocentric “human enhancement ethics” within transhumanism (Savulescu and Bostrom 2009). The presentation hopes to contribute to ongoing discussions about the relationships between transhumanism and posthumanism, as well as about moral perfectionism within transhumanist visions of the posthuman.