Transhumanist Philosophy Essay

1389 words - 6 pages

Imagine that you are able to teleport to the not too distant future. In this world you discover that disease and poverty are no longer causes for human suffering, world hunger has become eliminated from society, and space travel is as easy as snapping your fingers. Cryonics, nanotechnology, cloning, genetic enhancement, artificial intelligence, and brain chips are all common technologies at a doctor’s office. You gasp as a friendly sounding electronic voice cries out, “Welcome to the future Natural!” You are unsure of whether being called a Natural is an insult or not, so you feign a half-hearted hello at the posthuman in front of you. Getting over the initial shock you ask the posthuman, “Who are you?” The posthuman gives an electronic sounding chuckle and shakes his head. He replies, “I am a Posthuman, and you Natural, are in Utopia. Welcome.”
Sounds pretty science-fiction based right? Well, to those who follow the Transhumanist philosophy, a “utopian” world could be a reality. Susan Schneider a philosophy professor at University of Pennsylvania defines Transhumanism as a “philosophical, cultural, and political movement which holds that the human species is now only in a comparatively early phase and that its very evolution will be altered by developing technologies” (271). In simple terms, transhumanists believe that the human species is in its early phase. Our species is a work in progress and our evolution will be altered by advancing technologies. With these advancements in technology, transhumanists have optimistic plans about the future. Transhumanists hope that as our current technology advances we will soon be able to create superhumans or “posthumans”. According to the World Tanshumanist Association a posthuman is “a being whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present-day humans as to no longer be unambiguously human by our current standards.” Transhumanists dream of the day when humans are able to upload their brain onto a computer and enhance their mind to make profound connections that they were never able to make before. Rodney Brooks explains that “barring an asteroid-sized thwack that would knock humans back into pre-technological society, humankind has embarked on an irreversible journey of technological manipulation of our bodies” (317). Transhumanists believe that we are on a journey that questions whether we should be restricted to human nature. Transhumanists ask “Why should we not go further?” They make a good point. Why not? A world of no disease, no pain or suffering, no poverty, and lifespans of 7,000 years sounds close to paradise right? It is these idealistic aspirations such as, liberation from our biological constraints and scientific progress in general, that are worth the types of technological manipulations of the human body advocated by transhumanists.
In transhumanist belief, “there is nothing natural, and certainly noting good, about confinement to a flesh-and-blood...

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