Transhumanism

Transhumanism

Evolutionary Futurism and the Human Technologies of Utopia

Andrew Pilsch

Exploring the rich history and utopian potential of transhumanism’s belief that humanity is on the cusp of radical evolutionary transformation

256 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517901028
  • Published: August 15, 2017
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  • eBook
  • 9781452954882
  • Published: August 15, 2017
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  • Hardcover
  • 9781517901011
  • Published: August 15, 2017
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Details

Transhumanism

Evolutionary Futurism and the Human Technologies of Utopia

Andrew Pilsch

ISBN: 9781517901028

Publication date: August 15th, 2017

256 Pages

8 x 5

"I know of no other work that provides such a detailed and penetrating analysis of a cultural trend—transhumanism—that promises, like it or not, to be of increasing importance in the near future."—Jeff Pruchnic, author of Rhetoric and Ethics in the Cybernetic Age: The Transhuman Condition


"Pilsch’s book offers a positive outlook of the posthumanist ethos and a nuanced consideration of transhumanism, contributing an important and lucid analysis of the movement’s evolution and a theoretical engagement with transhumanism’s rhetoric that will prove fascinating to anyone thinking about technology and the human limit."—Project Muse


Transhumanism posits that humanity is on the verge of rapid evolutionary change as a result of emerging technologies and increased global consciousness. However, this insight is dismissed as a naive and controversial reframing of posthumanist thought, having also been vilified as “the most dangerous idea in the world” by Francis Fukuyama. In this book, Andrew Pilsch counters these critiques, arguing instead that transhumanism’s utopian rhetoric actively imagines radical new futures for the species and its habitat.

Pilsch situates contemporary transhumanism within the longer history of a rhetorical mode he calls “evolutionary futurism” that unifies diverse texts, philosophies, and theories of science and technology that anticipate a radical explosion in humanity’s cognitive, physical, and cultural potentialities. By conceptualizing transhumanism as a rhetoric, as opposed to an obscure group of fringe figures, he explores the intersection of three major paradigms shaping contemporary Western intellectual life: cybernetics, evolutionary biology, and spiritualism. In analyzing this collision, his work traces the belief in a digital, evolutionary, and collective future through a broad range of texts written by theologians and mystics, biologists and computer scientists, political philosophers and economic thinkers, conceptual artists and Golden Age science fiction writers. Unearthing the long history of evolutionary futurism, Pilsch concludes, allows us to more clearly see the novel contributions that transhumanism offers for escaping our current geopolitical bind by inspiring radical utopian thought. 

Andrew Pilsch is assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University.

Contents

Introduction

1. An Inner Transhumanism: Modernism and Cognitive Evolution

2. Astounding Transhumanism! Evolutionary Supermen and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

3. Toward Omega: Hedonism, Suffering, and the Evolutionary Vanguard

4. Transhuman Aesthetics: The New, the Lived, and the Cute

Conclusion: Acceleration and Evolutionary Futurist Utopian Practice

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index