Re: Defining Transhumanism

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 20 Oct 1998 11:56:07 -0700

Curt Adams writes:
>I'd prefer saying it as "our descendants will be profoundly different from
>ourselves" rather than as 'no longer be "human"' Technically "human"
>would mean all characteristics of modern humans, including the bad
>ones like limited lifespan, characteristic cognitive errors, and tendencies
>to violence. But it carries a strong connotation of being only the good
>things about humans. Genocide is frequently described as "inhuman"
>even though its distressingly frequent occurance demonstrates that
>a tendency to commit genocide in particular circumstances is very much
>a "human" trait. To most people, intelligent but "not human" means

That may be a reasonable strategy of persuasion, but I'm not sure it is compatible with the term "transhuman," which seems to directly connote something not human. Yes, those negative associations are strong, and are perhaps the best argument not to use such a term.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614