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Technologizing Transcendence: A Critique of Transhumanism

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and its Successors book series (PSFHS)

Abstract

We live in interesting, uncertain, and confusing times in which the human species is subject to massive technologization. New scientific advances and the emergence of new technologies such as nanotechnology , biotechnology , genomics, robotics , informatics, telecommunication, and applied cognitive science have given rise to a new situation in which the human has become a design project. Promoting the technologization of the human species, transhumanism has become a cultural presence that expresses the Zeitgeist of our technological age. Transhumanist themes, vocabulary, values , and style frame contemporary film, science fiction, horror genre, video games, performance art, new media art, literature, and cyberpunk. This chapter argues that what gives coherence to the disparate themes of the transhumanist discourse is the quest of transcendence. The chapter analyzes how transhumanism seeks to attain transcendence by means of technology and how it conceptualizes transcendence in technological categories. This shows that the transhumanist discourse is replete with tensions and even contradictions due to the difference between “horizontal” transcendence and “vertical” transcendence: Whereas the former is about “improving” humanity so as to transcend its biological limits, the latter is about making humanity obsolete.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-62488-4_16
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Tirosh-Samuelson, H. (2017). Technologizing Transcendence: A Critique of Transhumanism. In: Trothen, T., Mercer, C. (eds) Religion and Human Enhancement. Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and its Successors. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62488-4_16

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