Dr. Hughes has a great summary of his upcoming series on the Enlightenment and transhumanism up on IEET. I am really excited to see where he goes with it. A taste:

My position here is that transhumanism—the belief that technology can transcend the limitations of the human body and brain—and techno-utopianism—the idea that humans can create a progressively better future through the rational mastery of nature—are part of the family of Enlightenment philosophies. Transhumanism and techno-utopianism can be traced back to the original Enlightenment thinkers 300 years ago, and transhumanists need to understand how the ideological conflicts within transhumanism today are the product of these 300 year-old conflicts within the Enlightenment.

This exercise is also an attempt to make clear which criticisms of transhumanism are internal contradictions, and which start from external, non-Enlightenment predicates. In other words, saying that transhumanism is bad because it threatens the human soul is a criticism from a non-Enlightenment position. Arguing that transhumanists are being anthropocentric or “human-racist” when they preference particular kinds of intelligence and feeling as the basis for moral standing is an intra-Enlightenment argument.

I cannot reiterate enough how indebted the transhumanist movement is to Hughes and Bostrom for giving it a coherent foundation. It isn’t always the most fun stuff to write, but it’s some of the most important.

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