Mens of geen mens? Een filosofie van de posthuman

Theo Wobbes

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research external, graduation UT

1171 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the relation between the human and the posthuman. Human enhancement technologies have made it possible for human beings to redesign themselves which might result in alterations that take the human being beyond itself, toward a ‘posthuman’ being. To what extent can this posthuman, defined as the self-designed successor of the current human being, still be considered a human? And how to explain that an organism originating from nature comes to the idea to take its own evolution in hands?
The study builds on and expands philosophical-anthropological analyses of what it means to be human on the theory of the German philosopher and zoologist Helmuth Plessner. Two lines of developments are analyzed: one ‘biological’, the other ‘transcendental’. The biological line takes an evolutionary perspective. The other has a transcendental nature, and refers to the relationship human beings have with their biological body. Plessner’s work has a special place here because he thinks the body from a third-person perspective: the ‘eccentric positionality’. Based on that, he makes a distinction between the physical or biological body, Körper (the body that we ‘have’), and the lived body, Leib (the body that we are’). From this transcendental perspective, the question of the relation between the human and the posthuman takes the shape of studying the effects of manipulating the physical body on the lived body, and on the social functioning of the person who is simultaneously aware of her physical and her lived body. The physical body is in fact a function of the lived body and that both have a functional relationship with the shared world. This means that changes in the one may have consequences for the other.
On basis of that which has come forward out of this study, the conclusion is that it in fact belongs to the human being to change himself continuously. After all, it is an essential human characteristic to pursue the new in order to satisfy desires and needs. Also as posthuman, we will still be human.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Verbeek, Peter-Paul C.C., Supervisor
  • Aydin, Ciano, Supervisor
Award date10 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationEnschede
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this