Posthumanism: A Guide for the Perplexed


Posthumanism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017: 352pp.

Cover copy:

“In Posthumanism: A Guide for the Perplexed, Peter Mahon provides an overview of posthumanism, exploring not only the key scientific advances in information technology and genetics that have made us and society posthuman, but also how certain strands in art (such as science fiction and video games) and philosophy (for example, in the work of Andy Clarke and Jacques Derrida) have played—and continue to play—a crucial role in shaping how we understand those advances.

Mahon’s analysis draws on an understanding of technology as a pharmakon—an ancient Greek word for a substance that is both a poison and a cure—as he considers our posthuman future, as envisioned by a range of futurists, from Ray Kurzweil to those at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. What seems clear is that this future will require massive shifts in how we think about ourselves as techno-biological entities, about the benefits and threats of intelligent technologies and about the roles consumerism and universal basic income will play in societies. Posthumanism is our present, our future and a challenge to which we must rise.”

Reviews and endorsements:

“Posthumanism: A Guide for the Perplexed is a wide-ranging, informative and engagingly written book on the emergent field of posthuman studies, which challenges traditional humanities scholarship by addressing the processes of digitalization, medicalization, and globalization, as well as contemporary environmental and political challenges like climate change, migration, biopolitics and terrorism. Mahon’s book presents and explains difficult philosophical, scientific and technical questions relevant to the current discussion about posthumanism in an accessible manner. It is particularly strong and innovative in its presentation of the scientific and technical discussions about enhancement, information theory, artificial intelligence and biotechnology and how these translate into different philosophical positions on the post- and transhuman.”– Stefan Herbrechter, Research Fellow, Coventry University, UK

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