We live in a state of crisis. The world is in turmoil and a series of emergencies—environmental, political, ethical, and cultural—confront us daily. Posthumanist thinkers posit that our humanist tradition and the way we have conceived of ourselves as exceptional—separate from and in a position to exploit nature and nonhuman animals for our own benefit—is at the root of this state of affairs. Humans also seem overconfident in their capacity to create techno-fixes to the predicaments we face. Posthumanism identifies such human-centric positions as the cause of our failure to solve many urgent social, environmental, ethical, and political problems; instead, we have inadvertently exacerbated them, extending them into the 21st century.
What is needed is a shift in how we think about ourselves and the world. This entails thinking through our manifold entanglements with other human and nonhuman animals, organic and nonorganic life, including human-made technologies which pervade our lives. Researchers affiliated with the PRI investigate these relations and develop new concepts and ideas that can allow us to move forward in addressing the multiple problems we face in a generative way. This means taking stock of the humanist tradition, seeking to discover what is still of value, and exposing hidden contradictions, in order to develop alternative approaches to ourselves and the world we share with myriad other species, objects, and other non-human entities. Ultimately, posthumans posit the need to let go of the humanist illusion which holds the human as rational, autonomous, in charge and able to design techno-scientific solutions to any problem.