Posthuman Environments


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Week 10 Lecture for University of the West of Scotland, Becoming Posthuman Course

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Posthuman Environments

  1. 1. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Week 10: Posthuman Environments Andy Miah University of the West of Scotland 2010/11
  2. 2. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Context • In trying to establish humanity’s place in the world, where should we begin? • Do we consider our role in evolution, our relationship to other species, our relationship with non-animal species, our planet? • These considerations are relevant to posthumanism, since we are in the business of considering how humanity may shift in the coming years, as a result of technological change.
  3. 3. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Context: Technological Change • To this end, answering our question about what defines posthuman envirnoments requires defining the limits of technology • While we may talk about technologies as apparatus or artifacts, we may also claim that each of these devices are, in fact, environmental conditions. • They shape our existence and limit our interactions with the world
  4. 4. BECOMING POSTHUMAN • By extension, posthumanism is the study of our environmental interactions, from the clothes we wear, to the impact of our carbon omissions on the planet. • This is why environmental change is central to the posthumanist debate.
  5. 5. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Applied Ethics • We can also identify the disciplinary shifts that have occurred over the last 10 years and identify ‘environmental ethics’ as a part of the ‘applied ethical’ movement towards ‘bio’ issues.
  6. 6. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Politics • Yet, perhaps more than any other topic we have discussed, the environment engages politics in a way that draws attention to – The limits of ethical debate – the public context within which policy debates are played out • It is also the one issue where the evidence base is most crucial and controversial
  7. 7. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Key Issues • Should we have concern for non-human life? – How far should we expand this concern? • Is a change in society the right way to handle this risk • Is the ‘technological fix’ a better strategy? • What does ‘respect’ for the environment involve? • How should this issue be handled on a global level? – is it reasonable to require developing countries to adhere to same standards?
  8. 8. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Screenings • An Inconvenient Truth (2007) • The Great Global Warming Swindle – Focus on this as the more interesting cultural artifact, not because it is right about the issue, but because it allows us to understand the way in which a dilemma becomes a norm and the impact of this
  9. 9. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Further Research • Cop15 – UN Climate Change Conference (2009) – 15th meet of parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change • BP Deep Water Horizon (2010) • Climate Gate – controversy around University of East Anglia (2009)
  10. 10. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Further Reading • Self-censorship and science: a geographical review of media coverage of climate tipping points, Public Understanding of Science March 1, 2010 19: 240-256 • Ideological cultures and media discourses on scientific knowledge: re-reading news on climate change, Public Understanding of Science April 1, 2007 16: 223-243 • Evaluating the effects of ideology on public understanding of climate change science: How to improve communication across ideological divides?, Public Understanding of Science November 1, 2010 19: 743-761 • Global warming--global responsibility? Media frames of collective action and scientific certainty, Public Understanding of Science July 1, 2009 18: 421-436 • From Carbon Markets to Carbon Morality: Creative Compounds as Framing Devices in Online Discourses on Climate Change Mitigation, Science Communication March 1, 2010 32: 25-54 • Gardner, Stephen M., A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption, Environmental Values, Volume 15, Number 3, August 2006 , pp. 397-413(17)
  11. 11. BECOMING POSTHUMAN Debate We should NOT adapt our lifestyles out of a concern for the environment. Agree/Disagree