[ExI] transhumanist as a philosophy

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Jun 22 01:03:38 UTC 2010

So I passed along the query to philosopher Russell Blackford, of JET, 
who replies (and allows me to repost):

What core texts? Tranhumanism is a cultural and intellectual movement, 
but not a philosophical system as far as I can see. There may well be 
philosophical systems associated with it (Max's, perhaps), but if so 
they're not generally accepted within the movement. I don't see any body 
of core texts that everyone quotes, let alone a body of what could be 
called core *philosophical* texts. Some people quote James's book, of 
course, and people will often position themselves by referring to Nick 
Bostrom's history of transhumanism. Simon Young's book gets quoted a 
lot, but not by transhumanists. Actual transhumanists all seem to hate 
it.... All I really see is ferment and debate around some key ideas, 
e.g. of the posthuman. But we don't agree about stuff like the 
Singularity, and a key idea or two doesn't add up to a system or a 

The big special issues of JET that we published a year or two back are 
arguably the best intellectual resource that exists, and they should be 
referred to, but I don't see any common philosophical system there. 
Likewise for the special issue of The Global Spiral that Natasha edited 
two years ago - probably a fair bit of commonality on that occasion, 
since Natasha chose and invited fairly like-minded contributors, but not 
a system. It's worth looking at to see people who are pretty informed, 
including Max and Natasha, trying to correct a batch of fairly 
ill-informed critiques. I expect the transhumanist reader that Max and 
Natasha are putting together will be the same - lots of ideas, lots of 

Btw, I don't think transhumanism is any the worse for this.



----- Original Message ----- From: "Damien Broderick" <thespike at satx.rr.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 8:01 AM
Subject: Re: [ExI] transhumanist as a philosophy

> On 6/21/2010 4:15 PM, Tom Nowell wrote:
>> Transhumanism*the philosophy*  is still developing - Bostrom, Sandberg,
>> More, have all published papers outlining ideas, and as Natasha said
>> Extropy had a good variety of papers. Is there a core summation of these
>> currently in print or readily accessible? I don't think so
> Right, that's my point.
>> which is why "The Transhumanist Reader" has a handy gap in the market it
>> can fill.
> Indeed. It should be a good start.
>> I suppose the best way to check what the core texts are from a
>> philosophical point of view would be to ask those nice people at the
>> Journal of Evolution and Technology to check the references quoted in
>> their journal
> My good mate Dr. Dr. Russell Blackford is the current JET editor, and I've
> copied some of this discussion to him but haven't heard back yet.
> Damien Broderick

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