2019-03Thematic Section
“Harmony and Dissonance”: The Musical Perspective on Posthumanity


This paper explores the role of music as a communicative tool between the human and the posthuman. It utilizes the theories of embodiment and performativity of Karen Barad and Deniz Peters, as well as the perspectives of Continental Realism and contemporary phenomenology (Serres, Merleau-Ponty, Harman, and Morton). The examples are drawn from a range of pieces of speculative fiction: dystopia, biopunk and science-fiction. It is shown that the authors bring to attention the enharmonic quality of the relationship between the ALife and its creators and advocate eupsychian coexistence between these, portraying posthumanity as musica ficta: the sounds without notation that, although not recognized by musica recta (“true music”), make the invisible part of reality outside of currently described systems.


music, dystopia, posthuman, phenomenology, body

How to cite:

Bugajska, Anna. “’Harmony and Dissonance’: The Musical Perspective on Posthumanity.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 3(9) (2019): 14-28. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0028.


Anna Bugajska
Department of English Philology, Jesuit University Ignatianum, Krakow


Attali, Jaques. Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis and Toronto: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.

Apel, Willi. The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, MA and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.

Barad, Karen. “Posthumanist Perfomativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28, no. 3 (2003): 801- 831. https://doi.org/10.1086/345321.

Bear, Greg. Blood Music. New York: Open Road Media, 2014.

Bloch, Ernest. Essays on the Philosophy of Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Buchanan, Allen. Better Than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. London: Penguin Books, 2011.

Claeys, Gregory. Dystopia: A Natural History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785682.001.0001.

Cyranoski, David, and Heidi Ledford. “Genome-Edited Baby Claim Provokes International Outcry.” Nature 563, no. 7733 (November 2018): 607-608. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-07545-0. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07545-0. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07545-0.

Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Dvorsky, George. “All Together Now: Developmental and Ethical Considerations for Biologically Uplifting Nonhuman Animals.” Journal of Evolution and Technology 18, No. 1 (2008): 129-142.

Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion. New York: Simon and Shuster, 2002.

Farmer, Nancy. The Lord of Opium. New York: Simon and Shuster, 2013.

Fukuyama, Francis. Our Posthuman Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.

Harman, Graham. “Intentional Objects for Non-Humans.” 2008. http://faculty.virginia.edu/theorygroup/docs/intentional-objects.pdf.

Harman, Graham. Object Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything. Gretna: Pelican, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.997.

Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. Melbourne: Re-Press, 2009.

Harman, Graham. Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects. Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, 2002.

Huxley Aldous. Music at Night. London: Chatto and Windus, 1931. https://www.fadedpage.com/books/20180506/html.php.

Huxley Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Random House, 2008.

Huxley Aldous. “The Rest is Silence.” In Music at Night. London: Chatto and Windus, 1931.

Jameson, Frederic. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. New York: Verso, 2005.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. L’Homme est «chair du monde». Texte fondateur. Accessed on October 19, 2019. http://www.philo5.com/Les%20philosophes%20Textes/Merleau-Ponty_L’HommeEstChairDuMonde.htm.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. L’œil et l’esprit. Paris: Les Éditions Gallimard, 1964. http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/merleau_ponty_maurice/oeil_et_esprit/oeil_et_esprit.pdf.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Le primat de la perception. Lagrasse: Verdier, 1996 [1934].

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. Translated by Donald A. Langes. London: Routledge, 2012. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203720714.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Structure of Behavior. Translated by Alden L. Fisher. Boston: Beacon Press, 1963.

Morton, Timothy. Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People. London: Verso, 2017.

Morton, Timothy. Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality. London: Open Humanities Press, 2013. https://doi.org/10.3998/ohp.13106496.0001.001.

Orwell, George. Smothered Under Journalism: 1946. Collected Writings. Volume 18. London: Secker and Warburg, 2001.

Peters, Deniz. “Touch: Real, Apparent, and Absent.” In Bodily Expression in Electronic Music: Perspectives on Reclaiming Performativity, edited by Deniz Peters, Gerhard Eckel, and Andreas Dorschel, 17-34. New York: Routledge, 2012. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203145098.

Sacks, Oliver. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. New York and Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.

Serres, Michel. The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies. Translated by Margaret Sankey and Peter Cowley. New York: Continuum, 2008.

Shaviro, Stephen. The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism. Minneapolis and London:  University of Minnesota Press, 2014. https://doi.org/10.5749/minnesota/9780816689248.001.0001.

Shusterman, Neal. Undivided. New York: Simon and Shuster BFYR, 2015.

Shusterman, Neal. Unsouled. New York: Simon and Shuster BFYR, 2014.

Shusterman, Neal. Unwholly. New York: Simon and Shuster BFYR, 2013.

Shusterman, Neal. Unwind. New York: Simon and Shuster BFYR, 2009.

Zoolingua, “Zoolingua – Let’s Talk.” Accessed August 28, 2019. http://zoolingua.com/.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.