The "Human" in Transhumanism

The Baileys (
Wed, 06 Jan 1999 03:54:38 -0500

Brian Atkins wrote:

>Who cares what "human" means? Why does that keep getting asked
>(as a reason not to do it) when people start talking about
>becoming transhuman? Too many Star Trek memes?

If we follow the principle of reductionism to its logical end then we are not properly classified as "humans" but instead "conscious intelligent minds". Our classification as homo sapiens is due to the organic prosthesis the forces of evolution have developed over time. The success of uploading or instantiation would be the ultimate proof of this viewpoint. If we are able to preserve our identity without any of the past organic trappings developed by the forces of evolution then we will confirm this approach.

However, I do not believe "human" is used in the term "transhumanism" in the exact biological sense. The term "human" has developed a considerable amount of alternate meanings in general vernacular, i.e. the idea that to be "human" means to be conscious or possessing a certain degree of intelligence or a subscribing to a certain set of ethical or moral standards. In that sense, I believe, transhumanism finds its meaning as a vehicle to explore being "human" without being confined by the prosthesis I mentioned earlier.

Doug Bailey