In the second half of the twentieth century, humanism— namely, the worldview that underpinned Western thought for several centuries—has been severely critiqued by philosophers who highlighted its theoretical and ethical limitations. Inspired by the emergence of cybernetics and new technologies such as robotics, prosthetics, communications, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, there has been a desire to articulate a new worldview that will fit the posthuman condition. Posthumanism is a description of a new form of human existence in which the (...) boundaries between humans and nature and humans and machines are blurred, as well as a prescription for an ideal situation in which the limitations of human biology are transcended, replaced by machines. The transition from the human condition to the posthuman condition will be facilitated by transhumanism, the project of human enhancement that will ultimately yield the transformation of the human species from the human to the posthuman. As an intellectual movement, transhumanism is still very small, but transhumanist ideas exert deep and broad influence on contemporary culture and society. This essay highlights the religious dimension of transhumanism and argues that it should be seen as a secularist faith: transhumanism secularizes traditional religious themes, concerns, and goals, while endowing technology with religious significance. Science‐Religion Studies is the most appropriate context to explore the cultural significance of transhumanism. (shrink)
Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades.  It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
Although transhumanism offers hope for the transcendence of human biological limitations, it generates many intrinsic and consequential ethical concerns. The latter include issues such as the exacerbation of social inequalities and the exponentially increasing technological capacity to cause harm. To mitigate these risks, many thinkers have initiated investigations into the possibility of moral enhancement that could limit the power disparities facilitated by biotechnological enhancement. The arguments often focus on whether moral enhancement is morally permissible, or even obligatory, and remain (...) largely in the realm of the hypothetical. This paper proposes that psilocybin may represent a viable, practical option for moral enhancement and that its further research in the context of moral psychology could comprise the next step in the development of moral transhumanism. (shrink)
I examine the ways in which the theological and philosophical debate surrounding transhumanism might profit by a detailed engagement with contemporary biology, in particular with the mainline accounts of species and speciation. After a short introduction, I provide a very brief primer on species concepts and speciation in contemporary biological taxonomy. Then in a third section I draw out some implications for the prospects of our being able intentionally to intervene in human evolution for the production of new species (...) out of Homo sapiens. In a fourth section Account of Human Nature? And Where Does This Leave Transhumanism?”) I bring in the debate over the proper relationship between biological and theological conceptions of human nature, laying out the major options available and considering their possible implications for our understanding of transhumanism. In a fifth section several concrete examples are drawn out pertaining to particular subdisciplines within theology. I conclude by briefly laying out some suggestions for future work, focusing on tasks that theologians specifically ought to pursue. (shrink)
Conservative thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama have produced a battery of objections to the transhumanist project of fundamentally enhancing human capacities. This article examines one of these objections, namely that by allowing some to greatly extend their capacities, we will undermine the fundamental moral equality of human beings. I argue that this objection is groundless: once we understand the basis for human equality, it is clear that anyone who now has sufficient capacities to count as a person from the moral (...) point of view will continue to count as one even if others are fundamentally enhanced; and it is mistaken to think that a creature which had even far greater capacities than an unenhanced human being should count as more than an equal from the moral point of view. (shrink)
This paper argues that one can advocate a moral imperative to pursue enhancement technologies while at the same time rejecting the historical reality of progress and holding a pessimistic view of the future. The first half of the paper puts forth several arguments for why progress is illusory and why one has good reason to be pessimistic about the future of humanity (and posthumanity). The second half then argues that this is entirely consistent with also championing the futurological vision of (...)transhumanism. The claim is that, relative to the alternatives proposed, this vision actually offers the safest route into the future, even if it also entails an increase in the probability of self-annihilation. (shrink)
In its basic sense, the term "human" is a term of biological classification: an individual is human just in case it is a member of the species Homo sapiens . Its opposite is "nonhuman": nonhuman animals being animals that belong to other species than H. sapiens . In another sense of human, its opposite is "inhuman," that is cruel and heartless (cf. "humane" and "inhumane"); being human in this sense is having morally good qualities. This paper argues that biomedical research (...) and therapy should make humans in the biological sense more human in the moral sense, even if they cease to be human in the biological sense. This serves valuable biomedical ends like the promotion of health and well-being, for if humans do not become more moral, civilization is threatened. It is unimportant that humans remain biologically human, since they do not have moral value in virtue of belonging to H. sapiens. (shrink)
This paper offers new arguments to reject the alleged dream of immortality. In order to do this, I firstly introduce an amendment to Michael Hauskeller’s approach of the “immortalist fallacy”. I argue that the conclusion “we do not want to live forever” does not follow from the premise “we do not want to die”. Next, I propose the philosophical turn from “normally” to “under these circumstances” to resolve this logical error. Then, I review strong philosophical critiques of this transhumanist purpose (...) of immortality in the literature. There are two key questions related to the possibility of fulfilling this goal: the hard problem of consciousness and the personal identity dilemma. Finally, I defend a specific type of indefinite life and justify that it is more desirable than our current limited life. (shrink)
In a critical intervention into the bioethics debate over human enhancement, philosopher Melinda Hall tackles the claim that the expansion and development of human capacities is a moral obligation. Hall draws on French philosopher Michel Foucault to reveal and challenge the ways disability is central to the conversation. The Bioethics of Enhancement includes a close reading and analysis of the last century of enhancement thinking and contemporary transhumanist thinkers, the strongest promoters of the obligation to pursue enhancement technology. With specific (...) attention to the work of bioethicists Nick Bostrom and Julian Savulescu, the book challenges the rhetoric and strategies of enhancement thinking. These include the desire to transcend the body and decide who should live in future generations through emerging technologies such as genetic selection. Hall provides new analyses rethinking both the philosophy of enhancement and disability, arguing that enhancement should be a matter of social and political interventions, not genetic and biological interventions. Hall concludes that human vulnerability and difference should be cherished rather than extinguished. -/- This book will be of interest to academics working in bioethics and disability studies, along with those working in Continental philosophy (especially on Foucault). (shrink)
In this article, transhumanism is considered to be a quasi-medical ideology that seeks to promote a variety of therapeutic and human-enhancing aims. Moderate conceptions are distinguished from strong conceptions of transhumanism and the strong conceptions were found to be more problematic than the moderate ones. A particular critique of Boström’s defence of transhumanism is presented. Various forms of slippery slope arguments that may be used for and against transhumanism are discussed and one particular criticism, moral arbitrariness, (...) that undermines both weak and strong transhumanism is highlighted. (shrink)
There is a close systematic relationship between panentheism, as a metaphysical theory about the relation between God and the world, and transhumanism, the ethical demand to use the means of the applied sciences to enhance both human nature and the environment. This relationship between panentheism and transhumanism provides a ‘cosmic’ solution to the problem of evil: on panentheistic premises, the history of the world is the one infinite life of God, and we are part of the one infinite (...) divine being. We ourselves are therefore responsible for the future development of the life of the divine being. We should therefore use the means provided by the natural sciences to develop the history of the world in such a way that the existence of evil shall be overcome and shall no longer be part of the divine being in whom we move and live and have our being. The metaphysics of panentheism leads to the ethics of transhumanism. (shrink)
After describing Heidegger's critique of metaphysics as ontotheology, I unpack the metaphysical assumptions of several transhumanist philosophers. I claim that they deploy an ontology of power and that they also deploy a kind of theology, as Heidegger meant it. I also describe the way in which this metaphysics begets its own politics and ethics. In order to transcend the human condition, they must transgress the human.
Transhumanism advances an ideology promising a positive human advance through the application of new and as yet unrealized technologies. Underlying the whole is a libertarian ethos married to a very Christian eschatology promising a miraculous transformation that will answer human needs and redress human failings. In this paper, the supposedly scientific basis on which transhumanist promises are built is critiqued as futurist imaginings with little likelihood of actualization. Transhumanists themselves are likened to the affable con man Professor Harold Hill (...) who, in The Music Man, describes as dire social problems whose solution is a youth band he seeks to sell but has no intention of building. Even were some of the transhumanist imaginings to be realized, I argue, the result would be a dystopia in which the few received benefits denied to the many. In advancing imaginary technologies as a solution to human needs, transhumanists and their bioethical fellow travelers handily avoid discussion of or advocacy for the kind of pedestrian social actions that demonstrably could achieve many of their purported goals. So their enthusiasms, I conclude, are not merely fanciful but damaging to the humanist goals they pretend to advance. (shrink)
The transhumanist literature encompasses diverse nonnovel positions on questions of disability and obligation reflecting long-running political philosophical debates on freedom and value choice, complicated by the difficulty of projecting values to enhanced beings. These older questions take on a more concrete form given transhumanist uses of biotechnologies. This paper will contrast the views of Hughes and Sandberg on the obligations persons with "disabilities" have to enhance and suggest a new model. The paper will finish by introducing a distinction between the (...) responsibility society has in respect of the presence of impairments and the responsibility society has not to abandon disadvantaged members, concluding that questions of freedom and responsibility have renewed political importance in the context of enhancement technologies. (shrink)
Transhumanism promises us freedom from the biological limitations inherent in our nature. It aims to enhance physical, emotional and cognitive capacities thus opening up new possibilities and horizons of experience. Since many transhumanist aspirations resemble those within the domain of religion, this paper compares Christian ethics to transhumanist ethics with respect to the body and the environment and offers a critique of transhumanism. Three areas of contention are discussed: the modification of our given human nature, the radical extension (...) of our lifespans and our relationship to the natural environment. It argues that in these three areas, the underlying values being transmitted to future generations about the body and the environment are incompatible with Christian principles. (shrink)
Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
Bostrom rejects Nietzsche as an ancestor of the transhumanist movement, as he claims that there were merely some “surface-level similarities with the Nietzschean vision” (Bostrom 2005a, 4). In contrast to Bostrom, I think that significant similarities between the posthuman and the overhuman can be found on a fundamental level. In addition, it seems to me that Nietzsche explained the relevance of the overhuman by referring to a dimension which seems to be lacking in transhumanism. In order to explain my (...) position, I will progress as follows. First, I will compare the concept of the posthuman to that of Nietzsche’s overhuman, focusing more on their similarities than their differences. Second, I will contextualise the overhuman in Nietzsche’s general vision, so that I can point out which dimension seems to me to be lacking in transhumanist thought. (shrink)
Biomedical engineering technologies such as brain–machine interfaces and neuroprosthetics are advancements which assist human beings in varied ways. There are exciting yet speculative visions of how the neurosciences and bioengineering may influence human nature. However, these could be preparing a possible pathway towards an enhanced and even posthuman future. This article seeks to investigate several ethical themes and wider questions of enhancement, transhumanism and posthumanism. Four themes of interest are: autonomy, identity, futures, and community. Three larger questions can be (...) asked: will everyone be enhanced? Will we be “human” if we are not, one day, transhuman? Should we be enhanced or not? The article proceeds by concentrating on a widespread and sometimes controversial application: the cochlear implant, an auditory prosthesis implanted into Deaf patients. Cochlear implantation and its reception in both the deaf and hearing communities have a distinctive moral discourse, which can offer surprising insights. The paper begins with several points about the enhancement of human beings, transhumanism’s reach beyond the human, and posthuman aspirations. Next it focuses on cochlear implants on two sides. Firstly, a shorter consideration of what technologies may do to humans in a transhumanist world. Secondly, a deeper analysis of cochlear implantation’s unique socio-political movement, its ethical explanations and cultural experiences linked with pediatric cochlear implantation—and how those wary of being thrust towards posthumanism could marshal such ideas by analogy. As transhumanism approaches, the issues and questions merit continuing intense analysis. (shrink)
Transhumanist thought on overpopulation usually invokes the welfare of present human beings and the control over future generation, thus minimizing the need and meaning of new births. Here we devise a framework for a more thorough screening of the relevant literature, to have a better appreciation of the issue of natality. We follow the lead of Hannah Arendt and Brent Waters in this respect. With three overlapping categories of words, headed by “natality,” “birth,” and “intergenerations,” a large sample of books (...) on transhumanism is scrutinized, showing the lack of sustained reflection on the issue. After this preliminary scrutiny, a possible defense of natality in face of modern and transhumanist thought is marshaled, evoking a number of desirable human traits. One specific issue, the impact of modern values on natality, is further explored, reiterating that concerns about overpopulation and enhanced humans should keep in sight the natural cycle of birth and death. (shrink)
Transhumanism is a “technoprogressive” socio-political and intellectual movement that advocates for the use of technology in order to transform the human organism radically, with the ultimate goal of becoming “posthuman.” To this end, transhumanists focus on and encourage the use of new and emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering and brain-machine interfaces. In support of their vision for humanity, and as a way of reassuring those “bioconservatives” who may balk at the radical nature of that vision, transhumanists claim common (...) ground with a number of esteemed thinkers and traditions, from the ancient philosophy of Plato and Aristotle to the postmodern philosophy of Nietzsche. It is crucially important to give proper scholarly attention to transhumanism now, not only because of its recent and ongoing rise as a cultural and political force, but because of the imminence of major breakthroughs in the kinds of technologies that transhumanism focuses on. Thus, the articles in this issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy are either explicitly about transhumanism or are on topics, such as the ethics of germline engineering and criteria for personhood, that are directly relevant to the debate between transhumanists and bioconservatives. (shrink)
The conference did not target only the U.S. Christian right for opposing such things as stem cell research. It challenged every faith community that believes a human being is more than just one more biological product. The weekend of Aug. 7 was organized by the World Transhumanist Association. In 2005 its conference will be in Caracas, Venezuela, where this small band of transhumanists will continue to challenge all larger faith communities to review what they have to say about a "brave (...) new world" that would carry us far beyond the engineered manipulations that seemed so distant when Aldous Huxley wrote in 1932 about creating babies in test tubes. (shrink)
Technological dystopias incarnate transhumanist dreams of a this-worldly blissful immortality. Underlying these and others is a globalized technocratic paradigm, the loss of an overarching cosmic world view, rise in consumerism, a gnostic repudiation of the body, and a neo-pelagian aspiration to individualistic self-sufficiency. One response to these transhumanist dreams is to remind ourselves of how nature actually works, its origins, constrains, and future. Our relationship with nature spills over to how we feel standing face-to-face with pain and suffering. In this (...) article I reframe cancer as a journey of maintaining harmony with nature instead of a war against death that we are destined to lose. I argue that understanding the limits and constraints of the natural world help us come to peace with the reality of cancer, and perhaps find meaning in suffering. Instead of avoiding the inevitable at all costs, vulnerability and suffering have their own lessons. In contrast to trans humanist dreams, being human presents an opportunity to welcome the reality of imperfection, to be liberated from our addiction to control and excessive technological manipulation of nature, to draw together as a community, and to live the lessons of each stage of our finite life to its fullest. I hope this reflection, grounded in scientific literature and engaging with richly embodied medical humanities readings, can help us all change how we relate to cancer, from books to bench to biotech to bedside. (shrink)
The human desire to acquire new capacities is as ancient as our species itself. We have always sought to expand the boundaries of our existence, be it socially, geographically, or mentally. There is a tendency in at least some individuals always to search for a way around every obstacle and limitation to human life and happiness.
Transhumanism is a modern expression of ancient and transcultural aspirations to radically transform human existence, socially and bodily. Before the Enlightenment these aspirations were only expressed in religious millennialism, magical medicine, and spiritual practices. The Enlightenment channeled these desires into projects to use science and technology to improve health, longevity, and human abilities, and to use reason to revolutionize society. Since the Enlightenment, techno‐utopian movements have dynamically interacted with supernaturalist millennialism, sometimes syncretically, and often in violent opposition. Today the (...) transhumanist movement, a modern form of Enlightenment techno‐utopianism, has evolved a number of subsects, from the libertarian utopians funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, to religious syncretists like the Mormon Transhumanist Association, to the left‐wing technoprogressives and their bioliberal intellectual allies. In reaction to accelerating technological innovation and transhumanist ideas, apocalyptic Christians, and even secular catastrophists, have begun to incorporate human enhancement into their End Times scenarios. With all sides believing that the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, there is a growing likelihood of violent confrontation. (shrink)
Transhumanism has a great deal in common with religion as traditionally conceived. James J. Hughes claims that "a variety of metaphysics appear to be compatible with one form of transhumanism or the other, from various Abrahamic views of the soul to Buddho-Hindu ideas of reincarnation to animist ideas."1 Most notably, the range of technologically optimistic views held by transhumanists shares with many religions a longing for transcendence of our presently frail and limited situation. In contrast to the doctrines (...) of many traditional religions, however, transhumanist salvation will come not with the aid of divine intervention, but solely from our own ingenuity (or at least from the ingenuity of beings that result... (shrink)
In Sorgner's 2009 paper "Nietzsche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism", he argues, contra Bostrom, that the transhumanist movement's postman is fundamentally similar to Nietzsche's overman. In this paper, Sorgner's thesis is challenged. It is argued that transhumanism, as presented both popularly and academically, is fundamentally incompatible with Nietzsche's overman, as presented in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This argument focuses on three significant characteristics's of Zarathustra's description of the overman: the role of earthly existence, immortality, and the rejection of collective values.
Transhumanism, the movement that promotes radical enhancement by non-traditional means based in scientific and technological advances, has contributed to contemporary interest in Nietzsche?s philosophy. In this paper, we are going to claim that transhumanists? references to Nietzsche?s philosophy are unfounded. Moreover, we will make a few remarks about Nietzsche?s ethical doctrine in order to show that his conception of enhancement, contrary to transhumanist conceptions, relies on traditional means, such as upbringing and education. Although Nietzsche?s positive ethical doctrines cannot be (...) used to justify transhumanist goals, his critique of morality can be used as a critique of the transhumanist conceptions of human enhancement. nema. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on the concept of human dignity and critically assess whether such a concept, as used in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, is indeed a useful tool for bioethical debates. However, I consider this concept within the context of the development of emerging technologies, that is, with a particular focus on transhumanism. The question I address is not whether attaching artificial limbs or enhancing particular traits or capacities would dehumanize or undignify persons (...) but whether nonbiological entities introduced into or attached to the human body contribute to the “augmentation” of human dignity. First, I outline briefly how the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights uses the concept of dignity. Second, I look at the possibility of a universal bioethics in relation to the concept of human dignity. Third, I examine the concept of posthuman dignity and whether the concept of human dignity as construed in the declaration has any relevance to posthuman dignity. (shrink)
More precisely, transhumanists advocate increased funding for research to radically extend healthy lifespan and favor the development of medical and technological means to improve memory, concentration, and other human capacities. Transhumanists propose that everybody should have the option to use such means to enhance various dimensions of their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being. Not only is this a natural extension of the traditional aims of medicine and technology, but it is also a great humanitarian opportunity to genuinely improve the human (...) condition. (shrink)
Teilhard is among the first to seriously explore the future of human evolution. He advocates both bio-technologies (e.g. genetic engineering) and intelligence technologies. He discusses the emergence of a global computation - communication system (and is said by some to have been the first to have envisioned the Internet). He advocates the development of a global society. He is almost surely the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence. He (...) discusses the spread of human intelligence into the universe and its amplification into a cosmic-intelligence. His work has been taken up by Barrow and Tipler; Tipler; Moravec; and Kurzweil. Of course, Teilhard's Omega Point Theory is deeply Christian. For secular transhumanists, this may be difficult. But transhumanism cannot avoid a fateful engagement with Christianity. Christian institutions may support or oppose transhumanism. Since Christianity is an extremely powerful cultural force in the West, it is imperative for transhumanism to engage it carefully. A serious study of Teilhard can help that engagement and will thus be rewarding to both communities. (shrink)
Transhumanism, the belief that technology can transcend the limitations of the human body and brain, is part of the family of Enlightenment philosophies. As such, transhumanism has also inherited the internal tensions and contradictions of the broad Enlightenment tradition. First, the project of Reason is self-erosive and requires irrational validation. Second, although most transhumanists are atheist, their belief in the transcendent power of intelligence generates new theologies. Third, although most transhumanists are liberal democrats, their belief in human perfectibility (...) and governance by reason can validate technocratic authoritarianism. Fourth, transhumanists are divided on the balance between democracy and the market. Fifth, teleological expectations of unstoppable progress are in tension with awareness of the indeterminacy of the future. Sixth, transhumanists are divided between advocates of ethical universalism and ethical relativism. Seventh, the rational materialist denial of discrete persistent selves calls into question the transhumanist project of individual longevity and enhancement. (shrink)
This essay is a reflection on our lived experience of being human, or of some prominent aspects of being human, in light of rising demands to use already existing and soon to be developed technologies to fundamentally change what we are. The aspects the essay focuses on are, first, our existential vulnerability and, second, our desire to live a life that, in some way or another, matters and is in that sense meaningful.
To reassure those concerned about wholesale discontinuity between human existence and posthumanity, transhumanists assert shared ground with antiquity on vital challenges and aspirations. Because their claims reflect key misconceptions, there is no shared vision for transhumanists to invoke. Having exposed their misuses of Prometheus, Plato, and Aristotle, I show that not only do transhumanists and antiquity crucially diverge on our relation to ideals, contrast-dependent aspiration, and worthy endeavors but that illumining this divide exposes central weaknesses in transhumanist argumentation. What is (...) more, antiquity’s handling of these topics suggests a way through the impasse in current enhancement debates about human “nature” and helps to resolve a tension within transhumanists’ accounts of what our best moments signify about the ontological requirements for real flourishing. (shrink)
All worldviews have some sort of moral vision for why and how they pursue their goals, though these moral visions may be more or less explicitly stated. Transhumanism is no different, though sometimes people forget that transhumanism is not the alien dream of a posthuman mind but is instead a very human ideology driven by very human interests and moral ideals. In this paper, I lay out some of those ideals in very general terms, advocating a high-minded moral (...) vision for transhumanism that is born of and extends the desire for human flourishing. Though taken to new heights, transhumanism coheres with age-old views of ourselves as our own projects. What the end and direction and scope of those projects can be, however, is generated by, but not limited to, human nature. (shrink)
The therapy/enhancement distinction is a controversial one in the philosophy of medicine, yet the idea of enhancement is rarely if ever questioned as a proper goal of sports medicine. This opens up latitude to those who may seek to use elite sport as a vehicle of legitimation for their nature-transcending ideology. Given recent claims by transhumanists to develop our human nature and powers with the aid of biotechnology, I sketch out two interpretations of the myth of Prometheus, in Hesiod and (...) Aeschylus, which can help frame the moral limits of sports medicine. By way of conclusion I assemble some banal reminders: We are mortal beings; our vulnerability to disease, injury and the waning of our powers, far from something we can overcome or eliminate, represent natural limits both for morality and medicine generally and sports medicine in particular. (shrink)
In medical sciences, health is measured by reference to our species-typical anatomy and functional integrity – the objective standard of human health. Proponents of transhumanism are committed to biomedical enhancement of human beings by augmenting our species-typical anatomy and functional integrity. I argue that this normative impasse is not only a problem for the transhumanist movement, but also undermines the rationale for some common medical interventions.
In this paper I examine the relation between modern transhumanism and Nietzsche’s philosophy of the superhuman. Following Loeb, I argue that transhumanists cannot claim affinity to Nietzsche’s philosophy until they incorporate the doctrine of eternal recurrence to their project of technological enhancement. This doctrine liberates us from resentment against time by teaching us reconciliation with time and something higher than all reconciliation. Unlike Loeb, however, I claim that this “something higher” is not a new skill (prospective memory), but rather (...) a love for the past in the form of loving that aspect of it that is still with us, namely, the will to power itself, which is the engine of all life. Love of the past is thus equivalent to love of life. Since human beings are conscious incarnations of the will to power, in our case, love of life manifests itself as love of our humanity or love for that aspect of ourselves that connects us to each other, for we recognize it to be the same in all of us. Thus, learning this kind of love enables us to joyfully coordinate our wills in the pursuit of Zarathustra’s superhuman ideal without turning it into a destructive mockery of itself. While learning this kind of love would facilitate a joyful version of transhumanism, I conclude by suggesting that it is unlikely to be achieved through technological interventions of the sort envisioned by transhumanists. Instead, it requires the kind of participatory pedagogical program that Nietzsche thought his Zarathustra would fulfill. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe Cybathlon is a new kind of competition that embraces disabled people who use advanced assistive technologies. The purpose of this essay is to interpret the Cybathlon not as a ‘transhuman’ sport for enhanced athletes but as a place for experimenting with ‘capability hybridatization’ of the self. We wish to show that the figure of the transhuman cyborg that dominates the media coverage of disabled athletes is an attempt to approximate the able-bodied standard. This figure is problematic because it excludes (...) athletes who cannot meet it. We defend the idea that capability hybridization, on the other hand, does not seek to approach a standard, but aims to promote and legitimize variedly able bodies. This article will be organized in three stages. First, we will highlight the production of the transhuman cyborg at work in contemporary disability sport. Then, we will show that this transhuman cyborg is based on ableist and heteronormative conceptions of the body that are opposed to a postmodern defini... (shrink)
We explain how the work of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) – the founder of semiotics and of the pragmatist tradition in philosophy – contributes an epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical foundation to some key transhumanist ideas, including the following claims: technological cognitive enhancement is not only possible but a present reality; pursuing more sweeping cognitive enhancements is epistemically rational; and current humans should try to evolve themselves into posthumans. On Peirce’s view, the fundamental aim of inquiry is truth, understood in terms (...) of a stage of ideal cognition (what he calls the “final opinion”). As current human cognitive abilities are insufficient to achieve this stage, Peirce’s views on cognition support a variety of ways in which they might be enhanced. Finally, we argue that what Peirce describes as our ethical summum bonum seems remarkably similar to what Bostrom (2005) argues to be the core transhumanist value: “the exploration of the posthuman realm.”. (shrink)