[ExI] Species-Typical Distinctions

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Mon Jan 16 15:35:49 UTC 2012

Species-typical is used in many fields to refer to what is considered normal
and normalcy. Gregor Wolbrig has used this phrase to parse out his arguments
against transhumanism. A couple of years ago we were both invited to the
American Philosophical Associations conference held in Vancouver.  It was an
uncomfortable but enlightening experience.  Gregor has some issues with his
body (I don't know what he wants to be referred to but the medical field
would say he is handicapped and has disabilities) and this may be the reason
why he lashes out against transhumanist in assuming that we seek
"perfection" and have a "disdain" for the human body.  I am not sure where
his angst arises from, but it could be the assumption that transhumanism
seeks universal utilitarianism, which I do not agree with at all. Not at


Nevertheless, there are far more issues that the ones Gregor invites which
need to be looked at. Species-typical is a hard nut to crack.  I thought it
was difficult to find the first uses of "human enhancement", but thanks to
many of you (I now feel more comfortable that I can trace its phrasing
originating to specific areas: a paper on AI at MIT in the mid 1960s and in
a gene therapy article in early 1970s.)  


It seems that species-typical was most often used in psychology and etnology
and now gaining more usage in ethics. Does anyone have information about how
this term is being used in regards to transhumanism and human enhancement
(outside Gregor's elaborate use of it)?  It would be good to know more about
this phrase.  



Thank you!





 <http://www.natasha.cc/> Natasha Vita-More
PhD Researcher, Univ. of Plymouth, UK
Chairman, Humanity+ 

Co-Editor, The Transhumanist Reader


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