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MARXIST TRANSHUMANISM OR TRANSHUMANIST MARXISM?

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

For a Special Issue of: New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry

Guest editors: James Steinhoff and Atle Mikkola Kjøsen

In this special issue call, New Proposals asks authors to explore how Marxism and Transhumanism might be brought into conjunction. Could there be a transhumanist Marxism or a Marxist transhumanism?

Transhumanism is defined by its proponents as an “intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities” (Humanity+ n.d.). While this description says nothing about politics, transhumanism has been deeply pro-capital due to its popularization in the 1990s via techno-libertarian “extropianism” (More 1990). Because of this, the promethean project of improving the human condition by technological means tends to be joined with, and confused for, capital accumulation. Some of the most radical transhumanist thinkers have tended to assume to continued functioning of capital amid cataclysmic socio-technological change. For example, although transhumanist luminary Ray Kurzweil argues that the coming technological singularity (the moment when machines exceed human capacities in all respects) will irreversibly transform every aspect of human life, and even “death itself,” he still expects there to be a need for “business models” (2005, 7). Today, transhumanism is tacitly represented in the operations of venture capitalists and the giant tech capitals. DeepMind, acquired by Google in 2014, seeks to “solve intelligence” by creating AI with generalized learning abilities and Elon Musk’s Neuralink aims to provide a seamless machine connection to the human brain.

However, transhumanism is not inherently incompatible with Marxist thought and communism. While transhumanism today appears to be a capitalist project, its historical lineage can be traced back to early twentieth century socialist thinkers such as Alexander Bogdanov, J. B. S Haldane, and J. D. Bernal (Bostrom 2005; Stambler 2010; Hughes 2012). Marx himself has many, what we might call “high modernist” moments in which he argues for overcoming human and natural limits, and advocates the socialized use of technology to achieve freedom from necessity for all humans. This high modernist Marx can be read as expressing a transhumanist impulse toward technologically augmenting the human condition (Steinhoff 2014). With a few exceptions (Armesilla Conde 2018), Marxists have shown little interest in transhumanism, other than as an object of critique (Rechtenwald 2013; Noonan 2016). One exception to this are the left accelerationists/postcapitalism theorists, who draw on transhumanist motifs, such as cyborg augmentation, terraforming and full automation (Srnicek and Williams 2015; Mason 2016; Bastani 2019). Left accelerationism has, however, picked up transhumanist motifs while dropping the capital/labour antagonism central to Marxist thought, glossing over much of the difficult question of how exactly capital is supposed to come to an end. We suggest that left accelerationism forgets its Marxist roots as it is blinded by transhumanist futures.

We argue that the issues central to transhumanism should not be the purview solely of representatives of capital like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, nor of the left accelerationists. Instead, Marxist thought should seriously engage with transhumanism in order to “decouple it from its blindly capitalist trajectory, reflect on Marx’s own high modernist tendencies, and delineate a social project to embrace or escape” (Dyer-Witheford, Kjosen & Steinhoff, 2019, 161). Therefore we ask how a Marxist transhumanism or a transhumanist Marxism might be possible.

For this special issue of New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry we are interested in contributions that engage transhumanism and Marxism with one another. We are not interested in Marxist dismissals of transhumanism. That is not to say that we do not welcome Marxist critiques of transhumanism. We are, however, seeking critiques which take at least some elements of the theory and/or practice of transhumanism seriously from within a Marxist framework.

Possible topics include:

  • Syntheses of transhumanism and Marxism
  • Transhumanism and value theory (e.g. engagement with core concepts like social form, labour-power, the working day, surplus-value etc.)
  • Critically engaging with and/or embracing the high modernist moments in Marx’s thought
  • Staking out a communist approach to transhumanism and/or the singularity (e.g. a communist version of Kurzweil’s intelligence explosion)
  • Engaging with the transhumanist kernel in left-accelerationist thought from a Marxist perspective
  • Engaging with transhumanist projects or technologies from a Marxist perspective (e.g. radical life extension, terraforming, morphological freedom, space exploration, genetic modification, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, intelligence augmentation, brain emulation)
  • Connecting transhumanism to the history of Marxist thought and socialist societies (e.g. Soviet space endeavours, central planning)

 

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words in length, plus a short biography, to Dr. James Steinhoff (jsteinh@uw.edu) and Dr. Atle Mikkola Kjøsen (atlemk@gmail.com) by February 29th, 2020. Please put “New Proposals special issue” in the subject line. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by March 31st, 2020. Full-length papers are 5,000 – 10,000 words.

Timeline:

29 February – deadline for submitting abstract and biography.

31 March – notifications of acceptance

1 August – deadline for submission of full-length (5,000 to 10,000 words) paper for peer review

15 November – submission of final revised paper

Early 2021 – papers published.

Please note that acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee publication. All submissions will be peer reviewed once papers are submitted.

 

References

Armesilla Conde, Santiago Javier. 2018. Is a Marxist Transhumanism possible? Eikasía – Revista de Filosofía 82, 47-86.

Bastani, Aaron. 2019. Fully automated luxury communism. Verso Books.

Bostrom, Nick. 2005. “A history of transhumanist thought”. Journal of Evolution & Technology 14:1.

Dyer-Witheford, Nick, Kjosen, Atle Mikkola and Steinhoff, James. 2019. Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism. London: Pluto Press.

Hughes, James J. 2012. “The Politics of Transhumanism and the Techno‐Millennial Imagination, 1626–2030”. Zygon 47:4, 757-776.

Humanity+. n.d.. “What is transhumanism?” https://whatistranshumanism.org/

Kurzweil, Ray. 2005. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Penguin.

Mason, Paul. 2016. Postcapitalism: A guide to our future. Macmillan.

More, Max. 1990. “Transhumanism: Towards a futurist philosophy.” Extropy 6:6, 11.

Noonan, Jeff. 2016. “The Debate on Immortality: Posthumanist Science vs. Critical Philosophy”. The European Legacy 21:1, 38-51.

Rechtanwald, Michael. 2013. “The Singularity and Socialism.” Insurgent Notes. http://insurgentnotes.com/2013/10/the-singularity-and-socialism/

Srnicek, Nick, and Alex Williams. 2015. Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a world without work. Verso Books.

Stambler, Ilia. 2010. “Life extension – a conservative enterprise? Some fin-de-siècle and early twentieth-century precursors of transhumanism. ” Journal of Evolution & Technology 21:1, 13-26.

Steinhoff, James. 2014. “Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections”. Journal of Evolution & Technology 24:2, 1-16.

New Proposals : Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry represents an attempt to explore issues, ideas, and problems that lie at the intersection between the academic disciplines of social science and the body of thought and political practice that has constituted Marxism over the last 150 years. New Proposals is a journal of Marxism and interdisciplinary Inquiry that is dedicated to the radical transformation of the contemporary world order. We see our role as providing a platform for research, commentary, and debate of the highest scholarly quality that contributes to the struggle to create a more just and humane world, in which the systematic and continuous exploitation, oppression, and fratricidal struggles that characterize the contemporary sociopolitical order no longer exist.

New Proposals is a fully open access journal. We do not charge publication or user fees as a condition of publication. However, if your institution provides funding to support open access publications we ask authors of accepted papers to apply for open access funding support from their institution. For authors at open access funded institutions the production fee is $350 for articles. There are no production fees for student feature articles, or for book reviews, commentaries or reflections of 5,000 words or less. If you have any questions please contact us. We fundamentally support the principles of full open access in academic publishing. It does cost money to do this, even as we rely upon a lot of good will, volunteer labour, and self-exploitation to get the publication out the door. Any support or assistance is always appreciated!

Special issue editors:

Dr. James Steinhoff is a UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. He researches the artificial intelligence industry, data science labour, Marxist theory and automation. He is author of the forthcoming book Automation and Autonomy: Labour, Capital and Machines in the Artificial Intelligence Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) and co-author of Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism (Pluto Press 2019). .

Dr. Atle Mikkola Kjøsen is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. He researches Marxist value theory, media theory, logistics, artificial intelligence, androids, and post-singularity capitalism. With Nick Dyer-Witheford and James Steinhoff, he is co-author of Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism (Pluto Press 2019).

 

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Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

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Postdigital Science and Education

MARXIST EDUCATION ACROSS THE GENERATIONS: A DIALOGUE ON EDUCATION, TIME, AND TRANSHUMANISM

 

A Dialogue by Derek R. Ford and Glenn Rikowski

A pre-print of this Dialogue was published in Postdigital Science and Education on 9th January 2019

 

In this dialogue, two educational theorists discuss a range of topics at the nexus of Marxism and education, exploring the rich and diverse paths traversed within and around Marxist educational theory. The first part consists of a synthesis of their own trajectories and how they fit into broader social movements and political and academic conversations. In particular, they focus on the social production of labor-power and pedagogical logics. The second part concentrates on postdigital debates, including conceptions of time and transhumanism.

In June of 2018, Derek Ford contacted Glenn Rikowski proposing a collaboration, and Glenn suggested a dialogue. After a few months of preparation, they began the dialogue over e-mail in early October. A few weeks later, Derek visited Glenn in England for 5 days. They finished the conversation over e-mail, completing it in December 2018.

This dialogue is now available in pre-print format at Academia: https://www.academia.edu/38235324/Marxist_Education_Across_the_Generations_a_Dialogue_on_Education_Time_and_Transhumanism

 

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Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

imagesTRANSHUMANIST EDUCATION, POLITICS, AND DESIGN

Call for Papers

“Transhumanist Education, Politics, and Design”

Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics

For this special issue on ‘Transhumanist Education, Politics, and Design’, we welcome contributions from scholars with various disciplinary backgrounds to debate transhumanistic issues in relation to education, politics, and design.

In the soon to come future, technological revolutions are likely to change future societies, bodies and minds in more far-reaching ways than ever before history.

Transhumanism can be described as ‘a new paradigm for thinking about humankind’s future’ (World Transhumanist Association). Transhumanism is a philosophy, a cultural movement and a growing field of study. More specifically, transhumanism is the belief in morphological freedom and the aspiration to enhance human abilities and attributes and thereby transcend human biological limits.

This special issue of Confero encourages contributions that approach and analyse transhumanism transhumanism in relation to education, politics, and design.

 

Topics suitable for this special issue could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transhumanism, corporeality and (un)learning
  • Transhumanism and disease(s)
  • Transhumanism and monstrosity
  • Transhumanism and citizenship
  • Transhumanism and surveillance
  • Transhumanism and cognitive science
  • Transhumanism and values (social, economical, ethical, juridical, environmental, moral, instrumental, utilitarian, hedonic etc.)
  • Transhumanism and intersectionality (e.g. race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, able-bodied, crip)
  • Human enhancement, prosthesis and extension
  • Morphological freedom
  • Educating the transhuman
  • Queering transhumanism
  • Transhumanism and speed
  • Transhumanist design
  • Definitions, practices and consequences of transhumanism (e.g. bio-hacking and DIY citizenship)
  • A battle for/of the anthropocene? Posthumanism vs. transhumanism
  • Transhumanism as subversive power

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Notes for Contributors

We encourage authors to use the Oxford referencing system. To give the essay form and improve its readability, we ask that the essay has a clearly defined topic or theme that is laid out in the introduction of the piece. We also encourage the writer to divide the text into sections, using headings to promote its readability. Authors are encouraged to refrain from selfreferences. The text should be proofread before submission. The journal applies double-blind peer review. Authors will also be invited to review papers for this special issue. Guest editors for this special issue are Mattias Arvola (Linköping University), Lina Rahm (Linköping University), and Jörgen Skågeby (Stockholm university).

The editorial group can be reached at confero@liu.se. A first full draft of the essay should be sent toconfero@liu.se on or before 1 April 2016. The subject line of the submission should read “Submission for SI on transhumanism”.

For further information and instructions, please visit our homepage: http://www.confero.ep.liu.se

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments: http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.co.uk/

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images (24)BIOTECHNOLOGY, BIOPOLITICS & BIOCAPITAL

Friday October 23, 2015

2.30 – 6.00 pm

216 Asa Briggs Hall

Richmond University

17 Andsell Street, London, W8 5BN

Advances in our ability to make circulate, to intervene and to enhance biological functions have meant that the realm of culture now involves the transformation and commodification of ‘nature’ at its most elemental and molecular levels. This workshop interrogates changing understandings of ‘life’, the human, and the natural in the context of these and related developments in biotechnology, biopolitics and bio-capital.

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Benoît Dillet (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies) ‘Automation, Desire and Capital’

Alexander R. Wilson (Aarhus University) ‘Chronopolitics, Biotechnology, and the Post-Human Narrative’

Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway) ‘Gaia, Gender, and the Anthropocene’

Paul Rekret (Richmond) ‘Cogito Ergo Habum’

 

All welcome.

 

Please register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/biotechnology-biopolitics-biocapital-tickets-18625940690

For enquiries contact Paul Rekret rekretp@richmond.ac.uk

Part of the ‘Living in the Anthropocene: Rethinking the Nature/Culture Divide’ Workshop Series: http://rethinkingtheanthropocene.blogspot.co.uk/

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments: http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.co.uk/

BIOdownload

images (3)POLITICS AND POETICS

Call for Papers, Presentations and Performances:

Politics and Poetics

The third symposium of the Leverhulme International Research Network ‘Imaginaries of the Future’

Queen’s University, Belfast, 19-21 January 2016.

Website: https://imaginariesofthefuture.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/cfp-politics-and-poetics-3rd-symposium-of-the-leverhulme-research-network/

What does it mean to think of politics as a poetics, and to do so through the prism of the expectant, the anticipatory, the Not-Yet, and the futural? The third symposium of the ‘Imaginaries of the Future’ International Research Network seeks to investigate the ways in which futures are both imagined and governed, projected, deferred and deterred, through different disciplinary formations, and to explore the effects of competing ways of conceiving futurity.

The ‘hope project’ at the heart of utopianism pursues a future transformed through collective agency, and develops an anticipatory register in which visions of competing futures are mobilized to orient such collective political agency. Conversely, in what ways are creative practices of agency obstructed, and how are visions of ‘the future’ deployed in reactive, prohibitory ways? How does the utopian anticipatory compare with other categories of futurity, such as precaution or pre-emption, risk or threat? How, then, can we theorize the ambivalence of the anticipatory, modes of capture and recuperation?

Symposium participants may interrogate utopianism itself, exploring the poetics of utopian desire, affect, and agency vis-à-vis the politics of contestation, challenge, and transformation. We may also consider the specificity of politics and poetics, and the relations of connectivity between these approaches. Is politics necessarily reducible to calculative and instrumental modes of grasping the future? Is poetics more attuned to the epistemological and ontological uncertainty of the future, to what has not and might not happen? Or, is there a politics to poetics, and a poetics to politics? How can engagement with poetics help map forms of relationality and connection, and what is the role of affect, emotion, memory in creating connections and preconditions for political agency? What might be the political valence of aesthetic and sensual categories of experience — touch, proximity, intimacy, harmony and dissonance? How might technological and cybernetic invention advance both human agential capacity, as well as contribute to a critique of the anthropocentrism of both politics and poetics? And can we think of ethics (say, the Levinasian encounter with the Other, or perhaps the Spinozist endeavour to enhance capacity, agency, connectivity, and joy) as a missing third term between poetics and politics?

We welcome proposals of 250-300 words in length from across the arts and humanities (and beyond) for papers, presentations or performances of up to 20 minutes in length. Please send all proposals to both s.mcmanus@qub.ac.uk and nathaniel.coleman@ncl.ac.uk

Utopia

Utopia

Bursaries

Five travel bursaries, two of up to £1000, and three of up to £350, will be awarded through open competition to individuals who promise to make a significant contribution to the work of the Network. The larger bursaries are intended for applicants traveling a significant distance to attend the symposium. We welcome submissions from all career stages including PhD researchers. Bursary recipients will be expected to contribute a piece of writing and/or embedded media to the Network blog, and will be invited to submit work to be considered for publication opportunities arising from the symposium.

To apply for a bursary, please send a CV along with your proposal to both s.mcmanus@qub.ac.uk and nathaniel.coleman@ncl.ac.uk by 30 October 2015

 

Dr Susan McManus

Lecturer in Political Theory

Politics, International Studies and Philosophy QUB.

Even Bigger Data

Even Bigger Data

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments: http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.co.uk/

Cyborg

Cyborg

CYBORGS, KNOWLEDGE AND CREDIT FOR LEARNING

Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

London Branch

Cyborgs, knowledge and credit for learning
Ben Kotzee (Birmingham University)
Wednesday 7 October
Institute of Education, UCL, 20 Bedford Way
Room 828
5:30 – 7:15
All are welcome.
Enquiries: sun.yun.14@ucl.ac.uk

download (2)

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia: http://lsbu.academia.edu/RuthRikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments: http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.co.uk/