Paideia and Affective Posthumanism: Reflections on Emotional Education Through Neuromodulation
In classical Greek understanding a paideia of emotions referenced both the concept and process of cultivating emotional skills, whose refinement structured a broader understanding of the human; in the modern, naturalistic interpretation emotions are the product of neural network activity and are cultivated through neuromodulation, which fashions the post human, a creature made incarnate according to a new anthropology of materialism, becoming, and malleability. Post humanist theory teaches an emancipatory ethic in which the cognitively rehabilitated and emotionally re-ordered creature will engage a broadly connected and more inclusive world. To make way for enlightenment notions of empowerment and universality in advancing its bio-technical revolution posthumanists proffer a reconception of the telos of the human being. The proposed reconfiguration of human emotions, however, is more widely symptomatic of an inversion of Aristotelian notions of essence and form. A product of Heidegger’s suborning of being and Whitehead’s abstraction of reality, posthumanist theory offers not only a deconstruction of anthropocentrism but through its treatment of the emotions a paideia of the deconstruction of anthropology itself.