Re: Definitions for Transhumanism

Nick Bostrom (
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 02:58:05 +0000

Keith Elis wrote:

> TRANSHUMANISM: Any philosophy of life that accelerates our development
> beyond currently human limitations by way of science, technology,
> creativity, and other rational means.
> This requires every philosophy that might call itself transhumanist to
> *prove* it by pointing to the ways it accelerates development.

Social systems tend to be quasi-chaotical, so it might be impossible
to tell with any certainty what philosophies have what effects on our
development. Suppose Rifkin formulates a really horrible philosophy
that causes a huge backlash for all technophobic thinking. That would
then make him a transhumanist, whereas we ourselves, if we have bad
luck, might not be.

("by way of" is probably better than "by means of", since "means" is
otherwised used twice in one sentence.)

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics