The 11th Beyond Humanism Conference
This 11th Beyond Humanism Conference aims to intensify the debates between transhumanists and posthumanists on the impact of emerging technologies on our lifeworld. Transhumanism and posthumanism have many different meanings in the literature depending on the context, and the cultural and disciplinary background of the researchers who uses them. This diversity is both a richness and a source of misunderstanding.
Even though there are a great variety of different conceptions of transhumanism and posthumanism, what all of them have in common is an active engagement with the impact of emerging technologies on our lifeworld, and a move away from a traditional humanist understandings of human beings. This is what the posthuman paradigm shift stands for. The 11th Beyond Humanism Conference aims to map the differences between transhumanism(s) and posthumanism(s), as well as their alternatives, but it also tries to investigate possibilities of convergent approaches. These endeavours might lead to the emergence of a new way of thinking. What would a critical transhumanism or a critical posthumanism look like? By being confronted with our current existential risks and our awareness of living in the anthropocene, we need to be open for new ways of thinking in order to prepare ourselves for successfully dealing with the challenges humanity is facing today. Is a non-anthropocentric and post-humanist transhumanism conceivable? What would be the proposal and concrete content of such a synthesis? Are transhumanism and posthumanism compatible with one another? These questions also call for the investigation of alternative ways of thinking which go beyond the limits of transhumanism and posthumanism, such as metahumanism, hyperhumanism, off-centred humanism… The proliferation of such alternatives to transhumanism and posthumanism must also be questioned here. Are radically different options possible, which would not focus on convergences between transhumanism and critical posthumanism but which could provide us with a different horizon within which we could consider our current condition?
Maybe, the realm of art is needed for providing us with an initial stimulus for breaking out of the framework within which we are thinking. Consequently, artists of all kinds and on all media are strongly encouraged to get in contact with us, so that their works can also be considered for inclusion in this event.
In addition to the need to clarify ongoing debates and the evolution of contemporary trends in our reflections on the future of humanity and our place in nature, the 11th BHC will also investigate how contemporary concerns are problematized within transhumanism, posthumanism, and their alternatives. These topics of interest give rise to a great plurality of possible proposals. The 11th BHC will provide a unique opportunity for debates, aesthetic experiences, playful interventions and more. We are open to receiving your suggestions which will provide all of us with alternative ways for thinking about and experiencing the world we live in. We are very much looking forward to getting together with you in the beautiful city of Lille.