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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter argues that in human relations with technology, assumptions about ourselves are just as crucial as assumptions about technology. Neither the optimistic traditional humanist belief in human freedom and autonomy, nor the pessimistic view that humans are necessarily anthropocentric, will do for building sound relations with technology. The chapter develops this argument through three debates. First, Heidegger’s antihumanism, in which humans do not have any agency in their relations with technology, may not be convincing, yet lack of control is still a relevant theme. Second, the section on evolutionary humanism (turning to transhumanism and AI) shows that humans now often look vulnerable rather than masterful in their relations with technology. Third, Anthropocene debates tend to rest on bleak views of human beings, so that hard-to-control technologies may then seem to be our only hope. The chapter argues for a need to develop more detailed insights into how we function by facing and exploring our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as well our under-recognized abilities for responsibility. This may open perspectives on more modest and entangled forms of agency, more humane technologies, and more de-centered relations with nature.

Keywords: antihumanism, Heidegger, evolutionary humanism, Julian Huxley, transhumanism, attention economy, ecomodernism, anthropocentrism, Anthropocene, humane technology

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