ELi5: This sentence from a journal article; “…posthumanism in symbolic ontological turns when referring to relations with more-than-human beings such as rivers, mountains, animals, and plants.”

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ELi5: This sentence from a journal article; “…posthumanism in symbolic ontological turns when referring to relations with more-than-human beings such as rivers, mountains, animals, and plants.”

In: 5

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In this sentence, the author is discussing how posthumanism can be used to refer to relationships with entities that are not human.

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Ontology is the study of being. According to Wikipedia (in my native language, translated by me), it tries to sort entities into categories. So common questions are “Does X exist?” or “What is X?”.

Post humanism is a philosophy that negates humanism, so it tries to negate the special position of the human race when looking at stuff. An important stance of post-humanism is that humans aren’t superior to other animals and therefore have no right to exploit nature.

The sentence you posted is not complete and as such makes no complete sense to me. But it seems to make a statement about the post-humanistic philosophy and how it tries to categorize these “more-than-human” beings listed above. It seems to take the post-humanistic view and categorize rivers, mountains, animals and plants as something “higher” than humans.

Could you please provide the whole sentence?

Edit: Spelling

This person may have fallen into the abstraction trap. Abstraction is when you go from talking about things to talking about ideas about things, and then it gets really powerful when you start talking about ideas about ideas, which is where this sentence is now. It can help understand concrete (ie real) things very well, because there are *implications* in the ideas about ideas about things. The trap comes when there are no longer implications, and you’re explaining how things work if they worked a way in which they don’t actually work.

You would have to look at some more of that sentence and maybe the whole abstract, but the question I would ask when reading this is, what are the implications in daily life, and are those implications ludicrous.

With this limited context, it appears the author wants to discuss what it means for the idea of humans deliberately improving themselves through non-traditional means when elements of nature are treated as morally equal – eg if I want to get cybernetic implants to make me smarter but those implants come with a terrible impact on the environment what benefit do my implants have to bring to the natural world to make it ethical? Is it necessarily good to lengthen human life if human life consumes the natural world? That’s as close as I can come to what the author’s implications might be.

But without context I can’t say that the author hasn’t become so fascinated with linking ideas together in ways that feel satisfying (for one reason or another) that they have managed to say some things that *feel* like they mean something when they don’t. People do that more often than we think, and it can be scary dangerous. When a helpful hypnotist talks about going “deeper and deeper” (which doesn’t actually mean anything) it can set your mind in a receptive mode that can be therapeutically beneficial. But when a demagogue says things that instill certain emotions but which do not actually mean anything it’s the malevolent counterpart.