[ExI] transhumanism as a philosophy

udend05 at aol.com udend05 at aol.com
Wed Jun 23 06:59:06 UTC 2010

>What I kept talking about was its status as *formal* philosophy. 
A fourth tier? Oh dear.

But I think I agree again: a 'formal' philosophy sounds like something studied, published and debated in the usual circles. The first suggestion that pops into my mind is akin to Dickie's 'Institutional' definition of art - that an artifact becomes art when it is placed in a context (say, a gallery). Would a 'formal' philosophy be one, then, that is in such a context - i.e., a univeristy? As such, would not Bostrom's research centre at Oxford not count towards that definition? (T

Anything other than the above would seem to suggest 'formal' was a synonym of 'systematic'. Or am I missing your point, Damien? What do you mean by formal?

Another thing, tangentially: perhaps a reason for the slowness of transhumanism's development into a formal or systematic philosophy is to do with the fact that so much attention has been paid recently to the notion of existential risk and the possibility/probability of the kinds of technology conceived. Let's face it, is there a precedent for a philosophy having to cover so much territory and being linked with such experiential ideas (that are in constant flux - with apologies to Heraclitus)? These are exciting times: we are on the threshold of something entirely new on many levels.

I'm off to read the Reader, kids willing. (Talking of whom... they have injections today - another good reason to hope for a time when gene-therapy rids us of the need for these invasive, painful and tortuous methods.)

Damian U.
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