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Activity I.3.12 “Non-Anthropocentric cultural subjectivity”

Priority Research Area IV: The Humanities: Crossing Borders, Extending Capabilities

Excellence Initiative – Research University

Welcome to the Non-Anthropocentric cultural subjectivity activity page. The aim of the research to be carried out as part of this activity is to challenge the anthropocentric idea of subjectivity and to develop a new type of subjectivity – one that takes into account not only the world of non-human others and the inanimate world, but also the development of IT technologies, especially in the context of work on autonomous machines and artificial intelligence. The concept of posthumanism, which lies at the foundations of this project, provokes questions about boundaries; questions that require an extended redefinition of the very essence of humanity, or – to phrase it differently – the idea of subjectivity in a philosophical, theological, legal, medical, psychological, anthropological sense, etc. The recognition by the authorities of New Zealand of the legal personhood of the Whanganui River could be a symbolic gesture in this respect. In the consciousness of the Maori, the River never ceased to possess subjectivity, even though Western culture has restricted the applicability of this notion to humans and their institutional creations. This juridical regulation, which should also be perceived in relation to contemporary postcolonial discourses, forces us to critically reexamine the process of the formation of the paradigm of subjectivity in Western culture and to revise it in ways that include both, on the one hand, the results of research carried out by scholars working within the humanities – in disciplines such as philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, cultural anthropology, religious studies, history, archeology, etc. – and, on the other, tendencies in contemporary legal studies and political science. In this respect, the goal of this activity is to intensify the exchange of ideas between the humanities, the life sciences (especially within the scope of animal studies and environmental humanities) and the social sciences.