ABSTRACT

This paper takes a loosely “quantum” approach to political possibility. In other words, depending on how the present is characterized, both past and future possibilities are defined simultaneously. Political history is full of such quantum moments, which revolutionize our understanding of the historical subject. It is normally assumed that some version of Homo sapiens is the historical subject. However, post-and trans-humanism challenge that assumption, albeit in rather different ways. For example, the “genetic” and the “superorganic” figure in both but are given quite different spins, neither implying that the morphology of the upright ape is inviolate. Posthumanists stress our overlap with other species and interdependency with nature, while transhumanists stress the variability and mutability of genes, which allow enhancement. Posthumanist sociology emphasizes the “superorganic” biological and evolutionary roots of social behavior, while transhumanists emphasize humanity’s extension into technology and our accelerating cultural evolution. Both posthumanists and transhumanists see our simian nature as a platform or way station that opens up into a much wider range of possible ancestors and descendants than conventional politics normally countenances.

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