[extropy-chat] Interesting comment on a blog

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Tue Dec 5 12:32:25 UTC 2006

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 wrote:
> What I found interesting and worth reporting is the last sentence,
> which may sadly be correct:
> "If we can not handle people who look a little bit different
> from us, ir decorate their bodies a little bit differently, how will
> we handle people who look nothing like us, or do not have human bodies
> at all?

Yes. This is why I think transhumanists should always support ways of
making society more tolerant and better at handling diversity. It might be
nearly as important for realizing our visions as enabling the technology.

The trick is to do it without becoming naively politically correct about
it.  Much pro-tolerance argumentation is based on the implicit assumption
that differences don't matter in the sense that we are all equally
capable. Transhumanism explicitely aims at creating differences in
capability (even if we might want everybody to have access to the enhanced
capabilities different people are likely to choose different kinds of
capabilities). We need to be able to argue for tolerance and diversity
even with different capabilities. This is doable (e.g. core ethical values
like human rights are not strongly tied to capability), but as many of the
common criticisms of transhumanism show, it is not something people are
used to. They assume different capability automatically implies different

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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