Posthuman Ethics: Reimagining the Art of Living

Our project is aimed at addressing the problematics stemming from the co-imbrication of technologies, socio-political environments and ecologies. It is our contention that the unprecedented perturbations emanating from this entanglement have enormous destabilising effects for ideas and practices related to “the good life” – an ethico-philosophical question stretching back to Socrates who exclaimed that the unexamined life is not worth living.

To address issues such as the speed of technological innovation, the collapse of ecosystems, and the intensive balkanisation of societies, we turn to posthumanism – a broad term that has come to encompass many fields and schools of thought, including the new materialisms, bioethics, techno- and cyber-feminisms, Deleuzian philosophy, cybernetics, technology, and environmental and Anthropocene studies. Posthumanism suggests an urgency for the need to redefine the human, away from dichotomous and anthropocentric thinking, by deconstructing key assumptions of the humanist tradition and challenging the centrality of the human in research, as well as the prioritisation of a specific form of “rational” reasoning, and the implications of human exceptionalism that is built into the foundation of how humanists and post-enlightenment thinkers have characterised the relations between humans and other humans, between humans and animals, between the human and inhuman, between subject and object, and between nature and technology.

It is our hope that these tools will enable both the participants and ourselves to reimagine the art of living in postcolonial conditions. 

Project members: Profs. Chantelle Gray and Janae Scholtz

Prof. Janae Sholtz is a Fulbright Specialist and visiting Professor from Alvernia University. She is the author of The Invention of a People: Heidegger and Deleuze on Art and the Political (2015). Prof. Sholtz has published research in the areas of Continental philosophy, feminist theory, philosophy of art, posthumanism, and social and political philosophy. She has a strong interest in aesthetic practices and how the affects created through these practices contribute to a new ethos that can be shared and transmitted on social and political levels.

Rewilding Technologies: Making Contaminated Ecologies Habitable Again

This project brings together Félix Guattari’s work in The Three Ecologies (1989) with Gilles Deleuze’s work on symptomatology and control societies, and Bernard Stiegler’s work on pharmacology and digitality.

Using these threads, we turn to the notion of rewilding to address the myriad effects of technology on our worlding processes. The work of Deleuze and Guattari, as well as that of new materialist and posthuman feminists, have provided much of the philosophical grounding for thinking about the entanglements between human and nonhuman actants, which we think about in terms of the triad, technologies-contaminants-ecologies. Bringing these philosophical traditions in conversation with work on rewilding from various fields – including but not limited to that of Vinciane Despret (2004; 2012; 2021), Paul Jepson (2019), Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe (2020), Enrique Salmón (2000), Anna Tsing (2011; 2012; 2015; 2017), and global South theorists like Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (2014), Mogobe Ramose (2003) and Achille Mbembe (2022) – we aim to provide remedial theoretical and practical applications to the toxic ecologies in which we are embedded. Rewilding here thus constitutes a theory and methodology for thinking with and alongside human and nonhuman actants to address issues such as precarity, decay, and virulency.

Primary project investigators: Profs. Chantelle Gray and Jean du Toit