Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human. The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.
In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigour and a dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.