Being human is bound up with techné, that is, with our crafts as artificers of our own existence. Human existence is materially grounded in the historical processes and practices of the artificial crafts, such that what we generally refer to today as ‘technologies’ are not separate entities or external objects to the human, rather they are originary and integral aspects of ‘the human’ as distinct forms of being-in-the-world. The human is therefore unique as a historical, cultural, technosocial, and practical being. Unlike other beings, humans find themselves in historical time, defined by a plurality of contingent cultural formations, bound through extended infancy and beyond in spheres of sociality – the parameters of which are technical extensions of their coordinated and inherited survival (and flourishing) – where they are compelled through their very existence to participate, to act upon and with the material things of the world, while also constituting the realm of morality through taking positions and perspectives. The nature of humans, as Günther Anders puts it, is artificiality, and so our essence, such as it is, is instability: through techné we make and perform the contexts of our own making and performance.

The purpose of this essay is to illustrate this position. Yet this is not a purely philosophical exercise as our focus will be on this lived consequences of technological developments, especially how technologies shape and disrupt social norms, while at the same time shaping the different ways of being human through their assemblages, affordances, prostheses. The argument here is that the ‘forms of life’ that are human have always appeared through and as expressions and extensions of human-technical cultures. Put simply, techné-as-craft, and technics, which we will define as the extensive results of techné, are non-divisible from the anthropos, the human.

The central concept presented is therefore anthropotechnics, which recognizes such human-technical cultures and examines the ways that they are always in process. Such a position is developed in particular from the work of Bernard Stiegler and Peter Sloterdijk, I do this in a sustained commentary with artist Jenny Odell's essay 'how to do nothing'.
Original languageEnglish
StateIn preparation - 2020

ID: 3568033