Transhumanism elevating the human condition?
Transhumanists are all people who seek to improve their biology by enhancing their bodies with technology and believe that our natural condition inhibits our experience of the world and that we can transcend our current abilities through science. Today, we can alter our bodies in ways previously unimaginable, whether by implanting microchips, fitting advanced prosthetics, or even designing entirely new senses.
It is a matter of debate whether transhumanism is a branch of posthumanism and how this philosophical movement should be conceptualised with regard to transhumanism. The latter is often referred to as a variant or activist form of posthumanism by its conservative, Christian and progressive critics.
A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve and eventually will supplement or supersede it. Transhumanism stresses the evolutionary perspective, including sometimes the creation of a highly intelligent animal species by way of cognitive enhancement (i.e. biological uplift),but clings to a “posthuman future” as the final goal of participant evolution.
Nevertheless, the idea of creating intelligent artificial beings (proposed, for example, by roboticist Hans Moravec) has influenced transhumanism. Moravec’s ideas and transhumanism have also been characterised as a “complacent” or “apocalyptic” variant of posthumanism and contrasted with “cultural posthumanism” in humanities and the arts.
While such a “cultural posthumanism” would offer resources for rethinking the relationships between humans and increasingly sophisticated machines, transhumanism and similar posthumanisms are, in this view, not abandoning obsolete concepts of the “autonomous liberal subject”, but are expanding its “prerogatives” into the realm of the posthuman. Transhumanist self-characterisations as a continuation of humanism and Enlightenment thinking correspond with this view.