Cary Wolfe

Teoksen What Is Posthumanism? tekijä

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Cary Wolfe is Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University. He is author of Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the "Outside" and What Is Posthumanism?; editor of Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal; and editor of the Posthumanities series, all published by the näytä lisää University of Minnesota Press. näytä vähemmän

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This is what happens when a postmodernist literary theory professor tries to write about systems science. I will try to be nice, not easy in the case. I have read some postmodernist writings that actually make sense, including by Jameson. This may be the worst I have read.

The author has tried hard, he read a lot, and gives us notes and references. Some may find it useful. He persuades me that Maturana, Varela, and Luhmann are even worse than I thought.

Don't give up! Read Von Beretallanfy and Buckley. They are the best in systems science, they were pre-postmodern, and their writings really are useful for social scientists.… (lisätietoja)
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johnclaydon | Apr 11, 2020 |
If you've been reading Wolfe, you've already read this. Comprising articles on Bjork and psychoanalytic theory, systems theory, critical animal theory, Wallace Stevens, and Emerson, What is Posthumanism never quite gelled into a book for me. Instead of this collection, I would have welcomed an entire, brief book collecting the critical animal theory material Wolfe has published since Animal Rites and a separate, somewhat longer book on systems theory.

The imagined systems theory book would have had a more sustained and careful treatment of N. Katherine Hayles, surely, as I understand things, the big name in systems theory and cultural studies. On her, in the book as actually published, Wolfe writes:
my sense of posthumanism does not partake of the fantasy of the posthuman described by N. Katherine Hayles, which imagines a triumphant transcendence of embodiment and 'privileges informational pattern over material instantiation, so that embodiment in a biological substrate is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life.' On the contrary...[posthumananism:] requires us to attend to that thing called 'the human' with greater specificity, greater attention to its embodiment, embeddedness, and materiality, and how these are in turn shaped by etc.
I'm surprised that anyone who's read How We Became Posthuman could believe Hayles promotes a transcendent model of transhumanism (but some do! see Wolfe xv, n10); I'm sure Wolfe doesn't believe Hayles believes such a thing (note, again, xv, where the critique of Hayles, thick with words like "net effect and critical ground tone," "associate," "tends," finally eats its own tail by tending to admit that Hayles made the very points Wolfe makes); but this graph above--one of very, very few that engage with Hayles in a volume thick with systems theory--sort of implies Hayles is herself a transcendent liberal humanist systems theorist with its "on the contrary." But she's not.

Perhaps a quibble? At any rate, the book is more than worth the price of entrance for its chart on 125.
… (lisätietoja)
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karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |

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