[ExI] Transhumanism as a philosophy

Max More max at maxmore.com
Thu Jun 17 15:40:49 UTC 2010

Damien: I expressed my puzzlement rather abruptly last night as I 
escaped the computer for the day. Sorry about that.

My puzzlement was due to (a) the suggestion that transhumanism could 
not be a philosophy in the absence of a "major text" (presumably a 
book), and (b) your citing as one of the standout sources Great Mambo 
Chicken. On the latter -- I thought GMC was a peculiar book that gave 
a highly distorted view of transhumanism. For instance, spending so 
much space on Bob Truax (if I remember correctly) but nothing on FM-2030.

Regarding (a): The requirement of a major book for a philosophy to be 
thought to exist does seem rather 18th or 19th century. Certainly, 
such a "major text" is, even today, useful and valuable. That's why 
we are putting together The Transhumanist Reader. (And, no, I haven't 
read Simon Young's book.) However, surely that's not necessary. There 
are many articles and papers (and talks) that together clearly 
constitute a philosophy. (In a parallel manner, I would say that a 
philosophy of *humanism* would still exist, even if there weren't 
books such as Lamont's The Philosophy of Humanism.)

You do mention the Principles of Extropy. Of course there are plenty 
of others, including several more of my own. Especially relevant: 
Transhumanism: Toward a Futurist Philosophy (and the Free Inquiry 
version, "On Becoming Posthuman"), and "A Letter to Mother Nature". 
Plenty of other relevant pieces exist, such as Bostrom's Letter From 
Utopia (an explicitly philosophical piece), essays from the Global 
Spiral debate, and so on and on.

Although it's rather dated, there's a list here:

It seems that you take it that a philosophy can't be said to exist 
unless there is at least one definitive major stand alone text. 
That's where I disagree. It seems very clear to me that a philosophy 
of transhumanism (one with several variations) does exist.

Once we get The Transhumanist Reader out, perhaps you will no longer 
have any doubt that there is a philosophy of transhumanism.



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