Show Less
Restricted access

Post- and Transhumanism

An Introduction

Series:

Edited By Robert Ranisch and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

Scientific advances in genetics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence signal the end of our traditional concept of the human being. The most vigorous movements dealing with this ongoing crisis of humanism are posthumanism and transhumanism. While posthumanism reconsiders what it means to be human, transhumanism actively promotes human enhancement. Both approaches address the posthuman condition in the technological age. In 20 articles, written by leading scholars of the field, this volume provides the first comprehensive introduction to debates beyond humanism.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Evolution: Steve Fuller

Extract

Steve Fuller

My understanding of the difference between posthumanism and transhumanism turns on a point of logic. Whereas posthumanism is normally presumed to be a general movement of which transhumanism is a specific version, I treat the two movements as mutually exclusive. The typical starting point for a discussion of post- or transhumanism is a general dissatisfaction with the current state of humanity and a feeling that – for better or worse and by design or not – we are on the verge of an ontological step-change, on the other side of which will be beings fundamentally different from ourselves. In this context, the “transhumanists” are simply those who take deliberate steps in this direction through, say, various forms of “enhancements”. My rather different take on the matter comes from grounding the distinction in a normative rather than an empirical premise: In particular, transhumanism, which I broadly support, involves a desire to intensify and extend uniquely human properties beyond their normal physical parameters, whereas posthumanism, which I broadly oppose, involves an indifference if not hostility to the original humanist project. Starkly put, posthumanism is anti-humanist, while transhumanism is ultra-humanist. My paradigm case for each in today’s world is, respectively, Peter Singer and Ray Kurzweil.

Four questions may be asked to distinguish posthumanists and transhumanists:

(1) What is your default attitude towards humanism? Do you believe that it was always a bad idea, the narcissistic ideology of an elite that only served to alienate and subordinate not...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.