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LCCP Working Seminar with Susanna Lindberg: "From Technological Humanity to Bio-Technical Existence"

Thursday 22 September 2022
Past events 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

From Technological Humanity to Bio-Technical Existence


Prof. dr. Susanna Lindberg

In this conference, I will present the end results of a forthcoming book titled From technological humanity to bio-technical existence (SUNY 2023).

The concrete motivation of this book is the rapid extension of the field of what I call anthropotechnics. This word designates in a general manner the technologies that are used, not simply on the nonhuman nature around us, but on the human being itself. We know how modern, technology, fulfilling the Cartesian project of becoming "masters and possessors of nature", has ended in the mega-phenomenon called the anthropocene. Anthropotechnics returns this project on the human being itself and thinks of the human being as the master and possessor of its own nature. This is how all problems that have been generated by the Cartesian project concerning nonhuman nature not only find their echo in the case of the human being, but are also amplified, because the human being is not only the object of anthropotechnical elaboration but also its subject. As the object of anthropotechnics the human being can cultivate itself but also ends by exploiting and polluting itself; as the subject of anthropotechnics it is the responsible of all these effects, so that we might no need  an ecology of the “human nature” under the pressure of anthropotechnics.

In this conference I do not answer to such conrete ethico-political questions, however, but I investigate the philosophical presuppositions of the phenomenon of anthropotechnics. How has the human being come to treat itself as an object of technical production? Since when it thinks of itself essentially as a technician? I condensate the philosophical presuppositions on the expression technological humanity, and I show how it has evolved notably in the works of Plessner, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Stiegler, Agamben and Hayles. They have discovered the importance of technics to the becoming of the human, but they have also shown how technics hollows out humanity – or how the concept of ‘technics’ allows showing the hollowness of the term ‘humanity.’ Technological humanity is therefore not an ideal figure that this philosophical discussion aims to erect, but is on the contrary an ambient and distorted image of the human that philosophy reveals in order to undo, dismantle, and deconstruct it. In this conference, I underline the deconstruction of the idea of technological humanity and present the notion of bio-technical existence that – as I claim – emerges as its condition. With the notion of "bio-technics" I want to show how not only how life is conceived of in technical terms today and how contemporary technics tends to imitate life. I also want to show on a fundamental ontological level how technics belongs to life, being its own way of reaching itself.


Susanna Lindberg is a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Leiden, Netherlands. She is a specialist of German idealism, phenomenology, and contemporary French philosophy. In recent years, her research has carried on the question of technology.

The seminar program is available on centre for continental philosophy. If you want to participate, you can either send a mail to s.e.lindberg@phil.leidenuniv.nl or subscribe to the mailing list of LCCP, at the foot of the LCCP webpage.

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