Re: The image of transhumanism

Nick Bostrom (
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 16:06:44 +0000

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> Michael Nielsen writes:
> > One question I have of transhumanism, which I sent to Nick Bostrom as
> > part of his email survey, is to ask how revolutionary transhumanism is?
> Frankly, I don't understand all this fascination with "being
> revolutionary". I think that transhuman core values are perfectly
> old-fashioned.

Our core value -- becoming posthumans -- is only part of transhumanism. Just as important are our ideas of how it can be achieved. Obviously, many people in the past have wanted to overcome their biological limitations and achieve immortality; but they haven't known how to go about it. Transhumanism is the first philosophy ever to have both the goal of transcending the human condition and the practical, technological means to make it happen. I think that is quite revolutionary.

> Perhaps we should theoretize less -- imo both extropians/>H for quite some
> time now show distinct trend to memetic inbreeding, which might
> indicate that the discussion part is now largely over, and most of
> value is having been said already.

I believe we have only seen the beginning. As the amount of brainpower involved in transhumanism increases, the intensity of intellectual exploration of transhumanist issues will reach new levels that will make most of what is being said today look very crude and unsophisticated.

For a recent step forward, take for example David Brin's reframing of the whole privacy debate.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method London School of Economics