[ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Fri Jun 19 03:32:21 UTC 2009

Tom wrote:

>Well, I don't see any sign that posthumanism is making any serious efforts
to lead the public and private sector, unlike >transhumanism. 

This is currently one of transhumanism's strengths. We need to do more.

Insightful comments Tom.

Nlogo1.tif Natasha Vita-More

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Tom Nowell
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 6:05 PM
To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
Subject: Re: [ExI] Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism

Natasha wrote:  "However, years later, I see that there has been serious
development in building posthumanism into a viable philosophy, and what
could be at the expense of transhumanism (several writings suggest that
transhumanism is weak, or makes claims that are not accurate (without
footnote or reference))."

Academics can claim all they like about transhumanism being weak. However, I
could point to their field of philosophy and ask "Where are your
popularisers? Where is your Kurzweil or Broderick? Where are your websites
and online magazines? How diverse are the attendants at your conferences?"
Transhumanism, as it appears currently, embraces several strands of thought
derived from the Promethean notion that humanity can and will bring about a
great change in itself, and most forms are optimistic and see this as
something to welcome (the less optimistic see it as an inevitability to
prepare for). The diversity of views make it harder to construct overarching
philosophies, and make it hard to make generalisations that are true. It
also makes it easy for people to create straw men attacking one particular
narrow strand of transhumanist thought.

Perhaps we should take heart from the handful of areas in which
transhumanist ideas are changing the world around us: Peter Diamandis has
been a space advocate for some time, and the X prize has delivered human
suborbital flights more cheaply than before - Virgin Galactic will be
performing these in a couple of years. Aubrey de Grey has successfully
raised money for the Methuselah foundation and brought attention to
anti-aging efforts. 

Natasha also wrote:
"Is it going to be posthumanism vs. transhumanism? Which one has deeper
insights? Which one has more sound / rational/ innovative ideas. Which is
more appropriate to lead the public and private sector into the future of
emerging/converging technologies and human enhancement? Is there room for
both? And, if so, do philosophical boundaries need to be articulated?"

Well, I don't see any sign that posthumanism is making any serious efforts
to lead the public and private sector, unlike transhumanism. Which one has
deeper insights - how can you quantify such a thing? (either all thoughts
are equally shallow as the more radical deconstructionists hold, or we can
use Dr Brodericks patent deepness analyser, which responds to fake deepness
with Australian insults).

Here's a thought: maybe we are the shallow ones, engaging in a revolution
without fully understanding the philosophical implications of what we're
trying to do. Maybe we're the bolsheviks and maoists of the twenty-first
century, screaming for a revolution to free the people based on our own
personal takes on the writings of a few philosophers. Maybe the
philosophical underpinnings do count less than the real-world results your
revolutionaries bring.


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