Re: The Politics of Transhumanism

From: estropico > (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 09:29:53 MST

>From: Anders Sandberg <>

>To sum up: yes, I believe there is a one true transhumanism that has a
>greater claim to the name than other ideologies (which is rather broad,
>but has some core ideas you have to believe in to be a transhumanist).
>A definition of transhumanism as merely being in favor of radical
>technological progress does not have the same claim.
>My claim in the paper was that humanism is integral to the concept
>transhumanism, and if you leave out the humanism part you are not
>talking about transhumanism. Part of this is purely semantic, since the
>humanism part of the term transhumanism ought to signify something.

Yes, it is semantic, but there is a deeper truth here too.

Transhumanism without humanism is not transhumanism, you say - I might
agree, but that is just an arbitrary definition.

Why do I say that?

We already have various political interpretations of transhumanism as
described, for instance, in J. Hughes paper and some of those
interpretations seem to care little for humanism. And lets not forget the
Russian bolshevik cosmists (clearly among transhumanism's many

How did that happen, then?

What they all did was exactly what I worry about: they adopted what I call
the central meme of transhumanism (i.e. it is right to use technology to go
beyond Homo Sapiens) and dropped the rest.

You want to promote a humanist agenda for transhumanism, and that is ok with
me. But I would expect that other ideologies, while slower at present in
doing so, will also adopt-and-adapt transhumanism's central meme, possibly
in ways that you (and I!) might not like.

My warning, here, is that one of the central memes (possibly THE central
meme) of transhumanism is up for grabs...

I must admit, however, that the fact that humanists and libertarians were
the first to adopt transhumanist ideas is a reassuring fact that might bode
well for the future...


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