Human civilization, in its continuous evolution, remoulded itself from a biological organism to a biological and technological mixed being. Intensely developed technologies help human beings to make their bodily existence more powerful. Through body enhancement technology, human beings transform themselves into a transhuman and then to a posthuman, in an evolutionary manner. Whereas transhumanism depicts cultural, social, and mainly technological movements, posthumanism is popularized as a philosophical interpretation. Posthuman researchers make a new form of life through the amalgamation of human biology and mechanical technology and portrayed it by the name ‘cyborg’. However, through such inventions, there arise some questions regarding the morality of cyborgs and its effects in the domain of human moral life. The main question addressed towards the enhancement of technology is, ‘Do cyborgs downgrade human values?’. Thus, the article focuses on how posthumanism creates its place in the recent world among other philosophical views. It is crucially important to give proper attention to posthumanism now, not only because of its recent and ongoing rise as a political and cultural force but because of the major breakthroughs that posthumanism emphasizes. Morality always stands as a firm discussion in the field of philosophy. Technological enhancements in human life bring a lot of moral questions about human life and sociocultural activity. In doing so, this article tries to light up on some ethical issues regarding posthumanism and at the same time tries to show how and why posthumanism and its morality are different from the modern or humanist approach and its ethical concepts.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
According to the orthodox Christian view, the ‘Great Chain of Being’ holds human beings as the superior creation of the divine to all matter as well all lives, hence, from animals. This concept occupies a basic role not only in the Old Testament but in Plato’s and Aristotle’s thinking about humans. This concept grasps its position from Christian interpretation to the Renaissance of the Modern age, though the contexts sometimes become specific and different from the older one.
Charles Darwin argued, species altered their several body parts from their ancestors due to different challenging conditions, whereas sometimes gain some powers during their irresistible struggle for life. This follows an infinite complexity between the relation of the species, which as a result changes their conditions of existence, structures, and habits. During this period, individuals preserved themselves in the struggle of life and ultimately reproduced the same characterized beings as their survival strategy in the world. This is the principle of preservation, which Darwin entitled ‘Natural Selection’. Later his contemporary Herbert Spencer coined the term ‘Survival of the Fittest’ as an alternative expression of ‘Natural Selection’. So, Darwin’s evolutionary principle simply deals with the ceaseless struggle to survive in the natural world. The human who reproduced more successfully and who struggled more strongly to live his life is fittest than others. According to him, the human body has such powers to struggle and survive for their lives, because they are superior to any other animals (Lewens, 2008).
During the long history, human beings are always treated as higher than non-humans. This greatness not only leads human beings towards an exceptional attitude from non-human animals but also marks a margin from certain kinds of humans, like- women, slaves, differently-abled persons, gays, lesbians, and other marginalized peoples. But transhumanism as ‘Ultra-humanism’, does not mark any line of separation between different human beings and by providing a generic rule, accepts all classes, and creeds of humans together under its shed.
Bishop, J. P. (2010). Transhumanism, metaphysics, and the posthuman god. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 35, 700–720.
Bostrom, N. (2003). The transhumanist FAQ: A general introduction. World Transhumanist Association.
Clark, A. (2003). Natural-born cyborgs: Minds, technologies, and the future of human intelligence. Oxford University Press.
Clynes, M. E., & Kline, N. S. (1960). Cyborgs and space, Astronautics, 14, 26–27, 74–76.
Ferrando, F. (2013). Posthumanism, transhumanism, antihumanism, metahumanism, and new materialisms: Difference and relations. Existenz, 8(2), 26–32.
Haraway, D. J. (1991). Simians, cyborgs, and women: The reinvention of nature. Routledge.
Lewens, T. (2008). Darwin (p. 41). Routledge.
Lyon, D. (2002). Postmodernity. Open University Press.
Warwick, K. (2003). Cyborg morals, cyborg values, cyborg ethics (pp. 131–137). Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Zalbidea, M., & Sotelo, X. (2014). Electronic literature and the effects of cyberspace on the body. Comparative Literature and Culture, 16(5), 1–10.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the State Fellowship program of the University of North Bengal (Grant Number: 1747/R-2017, dated 18.04.2017).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Basak, P., Saha, D. Changing Patterns of Existence from Human to Posthuman: An Ethical Overview. J. Indian Counc. Philos. Res. 40, 153–171 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40961-023-00302-3