Post-humanism is a generic term that contains several schools, often opposing each other and being grounded in different underlying principles. Their common aspect is the search for the new position of mankind in an era after the crisis and breakdown of classical humanism. Their other core principle does not regard humankind as the central element of existence – as the anthropocentric approach of classical humanism does –, but rather as a higher, or merely different degree of (co-)evolution.
A few examples of post–humanist doctrines include anti–humanism, related mainly to French philosopher Louis Althusser (1919–1990). Anti–humanists are critical of all traditional humanist ideas that consider humanity and the human condition fundamental. Althusser considers humanism an ideological state apparatus (appareil idéologique d’État), a relation between authority and knowledge – thus it cannot be seen as the universal value or natural state of being as believed to be since the Renaissance.
Trans–humanism praises the omnipotence of rationality and science. Their thesis is that future technological developments will result in the creation of the highly improved version of the human, called the post–human or trans–human state of being.
Speculative humanism explores the common future of clones, hybrids and humans, and the possibility of a humanless future. Critical post–humanism defines an image of man that co-evolves with its environment and technology inseparably.
Animal studies aims at eliminating our deeply ingrained dualistic thinking regarding nature and culture, science and non-science, and human and animal; it also strives to constitute the ethics of animal rights.