Moral Philosophy of Transhumanism

Amon Twyman Discusses the Moral Philosophy of Transhumanism

Transhumanism is an increasingly popular philosophical movement, and that increasing popularity can sometimes lead to a degree of confusion among newer adherents about what its necessary features are. In my opinion the only common basis to Transhumanism, coined by Anders Sandberg as the “Central Meme of Transhumanism” (CMT) is as follows: That the human condition can and should be improved by technology.

The biocomplexity spiral is a depiction of the multileveled complexity of organisms in their environments, which is seen by many critics as the ultimate obstacle to transhumanist ambition.

The biocomplexity spiral is a depiction of the multileveled complexity of organisms in their environments, which is seen by many critics as the ultimate obstacle to transhumanist ambition.

Of course Transhumanism is a broad church, as they say (somewhat ironically in this case), and it contains a very large number of ideas and ideological convictions which are somewhat tangential to the CMT. Those ideas characterise variants or flavours of Transhumanism, but none of them are essential to Transhumanism itself. As long as a person endorses the CMT they may consider themselves a Transhumanist with validity, no matter what differences of opinion there are between them and any number of other Transhumanists.

Having established that, I would like to propose an idea that in my opinion comes very close to being essential to Transhumanism, and which may actually be implied by the CMT and therefore necessary to Transhumanism. I can imagine a Transhumanist who does not agree with this idea since it is not an explicit part of the CMT, but the differences of opinion between that Transhumanist and others would be interesting. Furthermore, if this idea has already been made explicit within Transhumanism then I am not aware of it having been explored fully or widely discussed in that context, so I believe it is worth examining. That idea is as follows:

That the philosophical basis of Transhumanism is Negative Liberty, and that this basis entails two further principles which we may expect Transhumanists to implicitly support. I call these the Exit Principle and the Entry Principle.

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