Re: humanism vs. transhumanism?

Anders Sandberg (
01 Apr 1998 13:32:53 +0200 (Dan Clemmensen) writes:

> I think that almost all traditional social belief systems
> make a fundamental assumption that the human condition
> is essentially stable on a human timescale. I think that
> this assumption profoundly affects these "isms", and
> usually has a greater effect on them than their explicitly
> espoused beliefs.
> I think transhumanism rejects this outright, and that
> this rejection is the central transhumanist belief.

Well put. Transhumanism claims that we can modify the human condition
in various ways; more specifically, it claims this can be done through
rational means such as technology. There is a division here between
those who acknowledge this, but regard such changes as bad (an
increasing number of people have advanced to this stage from the
original "nothing new under the sun" stage) and those who think there
can be very positive consequences of such changes. I prefer to only
call the last group real transhumanists, since otherwise Jeremy Rifkin
would likely be a transhumanist too.

Note that humanism in its most open-minded form doesn't necessarily
have a problem with this, but in practice many humanists regard the
assumption of an unchanging human condition as essential for their

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y