Skip to main content

Transhumanism Between Humanism and the Posthuman

  • 110 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter investigates transhumanism’s alleged continuity with humanism, a claim that transhumanists frequently make in order to take their “rightful” place among the various schools of thought engaging more or less critically with different forms of humanism. This has resulted in a somewhat problematic image of transhumanism; while it may initially seem fallacious to establish a continuity with humanism, in reality there are certain valid reasons for considering transhumanism as its fulfilment. Notwithstanding the uncertainties shrouding the issue, the fact remains that the transhumanists’ claim that they are the continuers and heirs of the Enlightenment and humanism does have a certain legitimacy.

Keywords

  • Humanism
  • Posthuman
  • Critical thinking

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-82423-5_3
  • Chapter length: 26 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-82423-5
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    From now on, by the term posthuman I mean the theories of the posthuman, an expression that will sometimes be used in its entirety for a better understanding of the text. The same term in italics without further specification, posthuman, I will use to identify an anthropological category: the human being of the future, however we may want to understand it.

  2. 2.

    A further explanation can be found in a famous quotation by Kant: “The fact that the human being can have the ‘I’ in his representations raises him infinitely above all other living beings on Earth. Because of this he is a person, and by virtue of the unity of consciousness through all changes that happen to him, one and the same person—i.e., through rank and dignity an entirely different being from things, such as irrational animals, with which one can do as one likes” (Kant, 2006, 15).

References

  • Agar, N. (2014). Truly human enhancement: A philosophical defense of limits. MIT Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bostrom, N. (2005c). Transhumanist values. Review of Contemporary Philosophy, 4, 87–101.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bostrom, N. (2009a). Why I want to be a posthuman when I grow up. In A. M. Cutter, B. Gordijn, G. E. Marchant, A. Pompidou, & R. Chadwick (Eds.), Medical enhancement and posthumanity (pp. 107–136). Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Braidotti, R. (2013). The posthuman. Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cassirer, E. (1948). The renaissance philosophy of man. Chicago University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Comte, A. (1996). Philosophie des sciences. Gallimard.

    Google Scholar 

  • de Condorcet, M. (1955). Sketch for a historical picture of the progress of the human mind. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davies, T. (1997). Humanism. Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deitch J. 1992. Post human: Exhibit catalog essay 1992. FAE Musée d’Art Contemporain Pully.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dupuy, J.-P. (2011). Cybernetics is antihumanism: Advanced technologies and the rebellion against the human condition. In G. R. Hansell & W. J. Grassie (Eds.), H+ transhumanism and its critics (pp. 101–110). Metanexus Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haraway, D. J. (1991). A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology, and socialist feminism in the late twentieth century. In Simians, cyborgs and women: The reinvention of human nature. Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hassan, I. (1977). Prometheus as performer: Toward a posthumanist culture? In M. Benamou & C. Caramello (Eds.), Performance in postmodern culture (pp. 201–217). Coda Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hauskeller, M. (2013). Better humans: Understanding the enhancement project. Acumen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hauskeller, M. (2016). Mythologies of transhumanism. Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hayles, N. K. (1999). How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. University of Chicago Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kant, I. (2006). Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view. Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mehlman, M. J. (2000). The law of above averages: Leveling the new genetic enhancement playing field. Iowa Law Review, 85, 517–593.

    Google Scholar 

  • More, M. (2013a). The philosophy of transhumanism. In M. More & N. Vita-More (Eds.), The transhumanist reader (pp. 3–17). Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nayar, P. K. (2013). Posthumanism. Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kurzweil, R. (2005). The singularity is near. Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ranisch, R., & Sorgner, S. L. (2014). Post- and transhumanism: An introduction. Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Soper, K. (1986). Humanism and anti-humanism. Hutchinson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spinoza, B. (1985). Ethics. In The collected writings of Spinoza (2 vols., Vol. 1). Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tirosh-Samuelson, H. (2014). Religion. In R. Ranisch & S. L. Sorgner (Eds.), Post- and transhumanism: An introduction (pp. 49–71). Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vita-More, N. (2019a). History of transhumanism. In N. Lee (Ed.), The transhumanism handbook (pp. 49–61). Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolfe, C. (2010). What is post-humanism? University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francesco Paolo Adorno .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Adorno, F.P. (2021). Transhumanism Between Humanism and the Posthuman. In: The Transhumanist Movement. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82423-5_3

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82423-5_3

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-82422-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-82423-5

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)