From Posthumanist Anaesthetics to Promethean Dialectics: Further Considerations on the Category of the Hysterical Sublime
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Flisfeder, Matthew. "From Posthumanist Anaesthetics to Promethean Dialectics: Further Considerations on the Category of the Hysterical Sublime." Rethinking Marxism 35(2) (2023): 158–179. DOI: 10.1080/08935696.2023.2183682.
This essay proposes a critique of posthumanist critical theory through the development of the category of the hysterical sublime, a concept first introduced by Fredric Jameson in his early writings on postmodernism. While some critical posthumanist theories equate representationalism with a transcendental humanism, representation is inherent to the kinds of abstractions required in theory as such. Taking up the posthumanist resistance to anthropocentrism or human exceptionalism, the concept of the hysterical sublime—as opposed to the category of the modern sublime, regarding nature—is used to convey the way that posthumanism undermines its own ethical injunctions by invoking fatalistic representations of human action. Instead, this essay defends the return to dialectical humanism as an appropriate framework for thinking the rational and material conditions required for ethical human action.