The Limits of the Human Mean the Limits of Humanities


  • André Barata University of Beira Interior, LabCom.IFP


human, post-human, humanities, limit experience, modernity, crisis


This essay aims to expose an inner linkage between the crisis of the human and the crisis of the humanities in our times. Inspired by a variation of Wittgenstein’s famous proposition “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”, it is claimed that the humanities refer to the human through a common and singularising experience of limits of the human. However, arguably, it is precisely this experience of limits that is threatened since modernity has become a process of progressively literalising reality, eliminating ambivalences, and trivialising meaning, with psychoanalytical and political consequences that we can see, for instance, in extreme ways, in today’s fundamentalist actions. Given these crisis aspects, I argue that the post-human experience provided by sci-fi is a rather important source of resistance for the human and the humanities.