PHIL: Extropianism: A Philosophy Without a Foundation
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 13:12:22 EST

Although not an anarchist myself, I completely agree with Anthony Garcia's
"Philippic From the Old School", both for its spirit and its content. I also
consider myself an "old school Extropian", considering
the recent rejection of libertarianism (i.e. minarchism in my case) a blatant illustration of the disintegration of the principles of the movement.

But does extropianism really have *any* principles?

The best way to answer this question is look at how "extropianism" is defined, which requires combining the three definitions that open version 3.0 of the Principles.

This gives us:

"Extropianism is the evolving transhumanist philosophy of those who seek to
increase the extent of a system's intelligence, information, order, vitality, and capacity for improvement."

In other words, this philosophy is defined as whatever set of ideas is currently held by the people who seek to increase a very vague set of characteristics of an undefined "system".

"Extropy" is just a name that "feels good" to science graduates who have
learned to associate its alleged opposite, "entropy", with chaos and the
"heat-death" of the universe.

But how is it defined? By enumeration, which is an invalid form of definition. I cannot define the concept "animal" by saying; "animals are horses, cats and fish", which is roughly the epistemological status of the definition of

This is not logical nit-picking, as I know some members of this group consider logic a tyrannical imposition on their minds (fine for you, I share Rand's contempt for those who would reject the tyranny of reality), and most are infatuated with "fuzzy logic". The practical consequences of this invalid definition are extremely severe.

For instance: If I classify the books in my library by colour, I have increased the order of a system, which makes my act "good" by extropian standards. If I download all sorts of crap from the Internet and store it on my computer, I have increased my computer's information- another instance of an "extropian" action. And didn't Hitler increase the "order" of the political system of Germany?

Moreover, the various "ingredients" of extropy contradict one another. Take order and capacity for improvement, for instance. Doesn't Stuart Kaufman argue that evolution takes place in areas where a balance between order and chaos can be found, and that extremes of chaos and order prevent it? Well then, it is impossible to maximize both order and capacity for improvement.

"Extropy" is therefore an invalid, self-contradictory concept. This is why the
philosophy will soon dissolve in the kind of nonsense that has almost always been coalescing around it, and why there's no way we can save it from such trash.

Extropy is a philosophy that seeks "more" of a undefined "something". This is all the irony of the principle of self-transformation (into what? a toad?) and of Max More's own nickname (more of what? dumbness?).


Jean-Francois Virey.