Neosubstantivism as cosmotechnics: Gilbert Simondon versus the transhumanist synthesis

Andrés Vaccari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Yuk Hui refers to cosmotechnics as the deep interweaving of human action and technology as shaped by diverse moral universes. In this article, I pit two views of cosmotechnics against each other. I begin by characterizing the present, dominant cosmotechnics through the lens of neosubstantivism, a view where technology is naturalized and seen as propelled by an autonomous logic of development. I focus on the Transhumanist Synthesis (TS) in its cosmotechnical aspects, as articulation of cosmology, technology, and ethics. TS is Silicon Valley’s mutant breed of ideology that rose from the failure of “soft” humanistic transhumanism. I examine the interests TS serves and the future it enables. Next, I examine the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon in this same cosmotechnical context. Simondon offers a prospective theory of cosmotechnics in which technical modes of thought arise from previous modes of magical, ethical, and religious thought. The naturalization of technology in Simondon takes a very different path that confronts the ruling cosmotechnics in challenging ways. Simondon offers an original vision of the relation between humans, nature, culture, and technology, rethinking these terms and their relations in ways that may break the hold of TS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalAngelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cosmotechnics
  • Gilbert Simondon
  • Ray Kurzweil
  • transhumanism
  • Yuk Hui

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