Re: Defining Transhumanism

Dan Clemmensen (
Tue, 20 Oct 1998 21:29:39 -0400

Mike Linksvayer wrote:
> Max More wrote:
> > TRANSHUMANISM: Any philosophy of life that seeks the acceleration of our
> > development beyond its current human limitations by means of science,
> > technology, creativity, and other rational methods.
> Acceleration of development is not necessarily required to go beyond
> current human limitations, particularly on the timescale of a century
> or two mentioned in this thread. I don't care for stipulating
> acceleration because it is practically impossible to measure something
> like human development, but acceleration implies some form of
> measurement.
Acceleration implies measurement, but it doesn't imply much more in in the way of measurement than "progress", or "development" do. If you can measure the current level of "civilisation", then two measurements separated by time yields a (rough average) measure of "progress", and a sequence of measurements over time yields "acceleration." (OK, to be horribly pedantic, the forward differences of the forward differences, suitably adjusted, are the average acceleration :-)

Sure, we can argue over our measures of the current level. We can agree that each of our measures is at best a rough proxy that may correlate to the level of "civilization." The point is that essentially all of our objective or quasi-objective proxies show exponential growth. The only way to avoid the conclusion of acceleration is to appeal to more subjective measures or to appeal to speculative constraints. OK, the constraints aren't speculative: thier relevance is speculative, as the constrants somehow always occur in the future.