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Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity$
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Sonia Kruks

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381443.001.0001

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Humanism after Posthumanism

Humanism after Posthumanism

(p.26) 1 Humanism after Posthumanism
Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity

Sonia Kruks

Oxford University Press

This chapter sympathetically considers posthumanist critiques of humanism, agreeing that the abstract conceptions of “rational man,” so central to Western humanism and liberalism, are politically exclusionary and dangerous. However, the chapter argues that it is important not to dismiss but rather to reconstitute humanism. For humanist values are still those invoked in many struggles against oppression. Beauvoir's account of the embodied and situated nature of human action offers resources for a humanism that better acknowledges human differences and knowingly works with the tensions between solidarity and conflict in political action. Such a humanism is self-critical and aware of the failures that attend well-intentioned political action. It accepts responsibility for the harms that, in a world of conflict and contingency, may follow from the pursuit of its own values.

Keywords:   action, Beauvoir, conflict, contingency, humanism, posthumanism, responsibility, solidarity, values

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