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From Humanism to Meta-, Post- and Transhumanism?

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Edited By Irina Deretić and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

The relationship between humanism, metahumanism, posthumanism and transhumanism is one of the most pressing topics concerning many current cultural, social, political, ethical and individual challenges. There have been a great number of uses of the various terms in history. Meta-, post- and transhumanism have in common that they reject the categorically dualist understanding of human beings inherent in humanism.
The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
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J. Hendrik Heinrichs, University of Erfurt - Trans-human-ism: Technophile Ethos or Ethics in a Technological Age?

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J. Hendrik Heinrichs

University of Erfurt

Trans-human-ism: Technophile Ethos or Ethics in a Technological Age?

Introduction

Transhumanists often sound like a small faction of technology enthusiasts. They celebrate the means of manipulating and altering the human body, be it drugs, prosthetics, genetic engineering or whatever else is on the market (or rather: is not on the market but available otherwise). They often advertise the hedonistic and competitive advantages of the respective technologies and mostly do not consider their use of any distinctively moral value. Insofar one could interpret transhumanism as a Technophile Ethos.1 I call it an ethos after the Greek word „ethos“, custom or habit, because its scope is a small group of people who think alike.

A few transhumanists discuss the moral impact of biological or psychological mechanisms in human thought – be it on science, ethics, economy or art. They make out several limitations of typical human characteristics imposed on the rationality and the efficiency of this thought, and highlight the real and possible consequences of these limitations. The moral impact of those grew especially severe, transhumanists claim, when modern technology acquired the potential to aggravate the effect of even trivial mistakes. In light of a utilitarian framework (probably in a deontological framework too) the limitations of human biology and psychology can therefore be assigned a negative value. Since at the same time technology enables one to eradicate these limitations, its use for this purpose...

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