Overrated Humans

An Anthropology of Vulnerability

A reassessment of humanity through the lens of the climate crisis, pandemic and digital revolution.

What makes a human being? In this clever essay, Lisz Hirn addresses none other than this fundamental question of philosophy. What distinguishes people from animals has occupied thinkers from Plato to Nietzsche and Foucault. When we stop eating animals, what happens to our self-image? Hirn poses questions that draw on concepts from the fields of biology and medicine, the church and religion, education and socio-political issues (from the development of in-vitro or cultivated meat to euthanasia).

Ultimately, the climate crisis and pandemic have rattled the concept we have of ourselves as   ‘superior’ beings. Is artificial intelligence now stealing the show? Lisz Hirn has devised a new approach: an anthropology of vulnerability for the meta-human caught between smartphone and ChatGPT. She clearly illustrates how we overestimate ourselves but do not take our vulnerability seriously enough.