On the twentieth of July 1999 Peter Sloterdijk held a conference ‘Regeln für den Menschenpark’ for a group of academic colleagues. A scandal was born when a journalist published his short remark about genetic reform of the traits of the human race and made a connection with the genetic politics of Nazism. A lot of commotion and discussion in which many philosophers participated, first in Germany, later in other countries followed. Many aspects of the complete Sloterdijk-text were disregarded in the vehement polemics about his short remarks. In this article I contextualize Sloterdijk's remarks in three widening circles. First I situate them within the context of the total text and of his previous work. Secondly I analyse shortly the way Sloterdijk uses the two main texts that he is referring to in his booklet, Plato's Politikos and Heideggers Brief über den Humanismus. In the third and most important contextualization I interpret Sloterdijk's position as part of our technological culture. In a systematic way he tries to understand the technical mediation of the alphabet, the text and the letter that gave birth to our Western humanism and suggests the new technical mediation of genetics as a better way to domesticate the human animal. It is shown however that Sloterdijk's idea about technical mediation partly is flawed by his preoccupation with the Utopian and dystopian sides of modern technology. Notwithstanding this shortcoming I agree with the fruitful way in which he places the question of technics and technical mediation on the philosophical agenda.
|Translated title of the contribution||Peter Sloterdijk’s Utopia: ‘Rules for the Anthropic Garden’|
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor filosofie (België)|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|