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The Transhumanist Movement

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Abstract

This chapter lays out a “roadmap” of the transhumanist movement. It identifies the people who conceived and founded it as well as the organisations that have gradually been set up to promote the aims of transhumanism and transhumanist declarations. These elements will make it possible to piece together the various concepts in order to define the aims of transhumanism as accurately as possible.

Keywords

  • Transhumanists (definition of)
  • Transhumanist organisations
  • Bioliberals
  • Bioluddites

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Notes

  1. 1.

    With regard to its recurrence in Huxley’s work, Harrison and Wolyniak have stated that the term first really appears in 1951 in a text entitled “Knowledge, Morality and Destiny”, the result of two conferences held in Washington on 19 and 20 April 1951 and then published with the same title in the magazine Psychiatry (Harrison & Wolyniak, 2015).

  2. 2.

    Against Bostrom’s views, cf. More (2010, 1–4). An issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology is devoted entirely to the analysis of the relationship between the Nietzschean superman and transhumanism. To reconcile the two opposing positions, it could be said that, without Nietzsche, a philosophy of the Übermensch would probably not have been possible, but at the same time, his idea of the man of the future is quite different and even opposite to that of the posthumanists. However, Nietzsche was the subject of a heated debate on the presence of a view compatible with transhumanism in his work: cf. Sorgner (2009). A long and comprehensive discussion of Nietzsche’s possible enlistment by transhumanists is conducted by Hauskeller, who denies that this is legitimate (Hauskeller, 2016, 75–84).

  3. 3.

    As also pointed out by Sorgner (2009). Bostrom correctly observes that it may well be true that “the signs that FM saw as indicative of transhuman status included prostheses, plastic surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, mediated reproduction (such as in vitro fertilisation), absence of religious belief, and a rejection of traditional family values”, but it is quite a stretch to then define a “posthuman” because “it was never satisfactorily explained why somebody who, say, rejects family values, has a nose job, and spends a lot of time on jet planes is in closer proximity to posthumanity than the rest of us” (Bostrom, 2005a, 13–14).

  4. 4.

    Extropy is “the extent of a living or organisational system’s intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth. Extropy is not a rigorously defined technical term in philosophy or science; in a metaphorical sense, it simply expresses the opposite of entropy”. These early lines suggest a never denied interest in science fiction as one of the main sources of inspiration for transhumanism: the first usage of the term “extropy” to indicate a potential transhuman destiny for humanity is in fact found in a 1983 novel by Diane Duane, The Wounded Sky, from which the first season of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode “Where No One Has Gone Before”, was adapted.

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Correspondence to Francesco Paolo Adorno .

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Adorno, F.P. (2021). The Transhumanist Movement. In: The Transhumanist Movement. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82423-5_2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82423-5_2

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