Ray Brassier: The Human
the contemporary 'critical' humanities, the privileging of the human has become as suspect as every other sort of privilege.
Far from being the uncircumventable horizon for emancipatory politics, humanism is denounced as integral to a logic of domination
that proceeds from the subjugation of nature to the enslavement of all those deemed less than human.
is easy to retort that this indictment of humanism follows from conflating the restrictive specification of the human (as
white, male, heterosexual, European etc.) with its generic de-specification - the human as what Alain Badiou calls 'the voided
animal', an exception that includes the unspecified part of everything: neither white nor black, neither male nor female,
neither heterosexual nor homosexual, etc. But the suggestion that universalization proceeds not by generalizing specific predicates
but by subtracting them tends to fall on deaf ears in a theoretical context where the Nietzschean equation of universalization
with domination continues to hold sway. Once the inference from exception to exclusion is made, an all-inclusive post-humanism
supplants exclusionary humanism as the politically 'progressive' optic consonant with the liberal ideal of inclusiveness that
has become the humanities' critical lodestone. This ideal stipulates a formal equivalence of human and non-human which is
the ontological ratification of capitalism's personification of things and reification of people. But it is not enough to
expose the conservative kernel underlying post-humanism's radical veneer. Counteracting it requires more than abstractly opposing
the generic de-specification of the human to its restrictive specification. What must be shown rather is how both this specification
and de-specification are conjoined in capitalism as a historically specific mode of social production. Doing so reveals how
the human is neither a metaphysical subject nor an anthropological attribute; it is the name for a possibility that cannot
be located within the difference between actuality and potentiality.