Transhumanism

Orias
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Transhumanism

Has anyone here heard of this movement? If so, what are your thoughts?

 

I personally subscribe to transhumanist philosophy. Most view us as nutjobs who've seen too much star trek, but I think its really just the next logical step from secular humanism.

 

If anyone is unfamiliar with transhumanism here are some links:

 

- http://www.transhumanism.org

- Wiki on H+

"...then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods..." - The Serpent, Genesis 3:5


Vastet
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Never heard of it before,

Never heard of it before, but it does closely resemble my own views. Not completely, but very closely.

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Laker-taker
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Oooh, that's

Oooh, that's transhumanism.

I remember hearing the term before but never made the connection... A while back I saw a video about a group of scientists investigating--for all intents and purposes--paths to human immortality (or at least very much prolonged life), through anything from general health concerns down to nanotech.

As Dan Dennett once said: "After all, the reason we die is that our parts break."

The truth of this seems to bear itself out as medical technology progresses and, accordingly, average and expected lifespans increase. "Med-techs" are becoming better mechanics at a consistent pace.

Trek-ish or not, if technology can secure longer life, perhaps even potential immortality, I'm all for it.

There's no clear reason that we shoud have to die; I'd think many a non-believer-in-"afterlife" would be interested in progress toward potential immortality.


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I recall reading in a

I recall reading in a medical text or another that when you die, your bones are only about 7 years old or so, and generally in perfect condition as long as disease or injury didn't ravage them. Find out how(and how to apply it to other organs), and you could have an ageless species.

I don't remember when I first came to the conclusion that life is a biological machine, but as soon as I did it became obvious to me that death is not necessarily an inevitable conclusion. Merely a function of disrepair.

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Orias
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The stuff you guys are

The stuff you guys are saying is very reminiscent of what Dr. Aubrey de Grey (cambridge university) is currently working to achieve with his SENS project. Here's Aubrey at TED Global

"...then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods..." - The Serpent, Genesis 3:5


Digital_Babu
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Although I am clearly no

Although I am clearly no Luddite, I somehow don't understand this movement in the way they impose a certain moral paradigm on how humanity ought to develop which is in many ways highly depended on naturalistic assertions. I agree that technology should be for the benefit of humanity, but it sounds rather tautologic. Yet the content of 'benefit' cannot, imho, be derived from a naturalistic claim that human nature is unfinished.

 

I mean that if you agree that technology is something to be embraced as a natural way of how humanity develops itself contains little to no evidence or rational foundation to what extent we can understand the future posthuman condition. Posthumanity could as much be non-technologic as technologic, and I think it's rather dangerous to assume that we already have an understanding of what features of the current human condition (technology, social relations, political setting, et cetera) are the key features which show us the telos of human evolution.

 

 

Quote:
which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities.

 

How would we decide what is the ethical use of technology in order to expand our human capacities? I'd dispute that it is evident what human capacities are to be expanded, since it is unclear what criteria could tell us that e.g. prolongment of human life has more weight than let's say, the development of new forms of entertainment. 

 

The list of human capacities to be expanded would by highly arbitrary and trivial, and consequentially would not recognize the plurality in personal identity. Saying that humanity is unfinished is saying that everyone is unfinished, and thus imposing an ought on everyone under the supposition that there is agreement about the human condition and agreement of what the destiny of humanity is.

 

Althought the prospect transhumanist show us sounds ideal, it would be highly irrational if they would assume that it is the proper route of humanity to follow. It still stands in need of justification that goes beyond the valuation of technology itself, and does not appeal to a fixed idea of the human condition as being unfinished. Or they should find an argument that proofs that there is actually somesort of Aristotelian telos involved to which we are inclined to move, which I doubt.  

 


Yiab
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Frankly, whatever people do

Frankly, whatever people do with technology is fine by me. While I am concerned by the prospects of nuclear war and global climate change, neither of these is sufficient (I believe) to cause total human extinction. Even if we're reduced to a relatively small population in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, we humans are clever enough to survive and eventually rebound.

What concerns me is the possibility of achieving widespread immortality without first revising our attitudes towards suicide. While I would certainly enjoy a greatly extended lifespan with significantly improved health throughout, I would not like to life forever and I doubt I'm the only one who thinks that way. I have no objection to someone living forever if they want to, but if I decide I've been alive long enough I'd like to be able to choose death without the current weight of societal and interpersonal destruction surrounding it.

It seems natural to me that as our technology improves and lifespans get ever longer death becomes all the more tragic. I'm suggesting that unintended death should follow this trend while suicide should, eventually, be seen almost entirely as a socially acceptable "life choice" (so to speak).

As an aside, I'm considering this in an extremely technologically advanced and knowledgeable society, so I'm also assuming that relevant mental illnesses can be dealt with in such a society, which basically means that suicide should only be through rational deliberation.

I don't really expect to convince any of you of my beliefs here (nor do I actually want to), but I think that societal opinion towards suicide is an issue which should be raised and discussed in any case where practical immortality is brought up.