Philippe Verdoux and I seem to have had a similar experience with transhumanism. We went from “what is this crazy crap” to “holy-moly this is serious and lots of serious ethicists and philosophers think so too.”
For me, though, two simple considerations were sufficient to convince me that talk of posthumanity is not – or at least need not be – the result of “irresponsible fantasizing.” First of all, I recognized that the cyborg is already among us: the contemporary world is increasingly cluttered by organism-artifact hybrids, as a result of pacemakers, cochlear implants, pharmaceuticals, and even more mundane objects like glasses, which (some philosophers argue) become an embodied part of our phenomenological selves.
And second, I realized that Darwinian evolution is a “non-teleological” process, which simply means that life isn’t evolving towards any end goal or telos. If there is any global progress in evolution, it is backwards-looking rather than forwards-looking.
Thus, there’s absolutely no reason to think that Homo sapiens will remain in its present form for any significant period of time, since species are dynamically plastic entities, not static types with unchanging essences. It follows that even if radical human enhancements are never actualized, we should still expect our species to undergo evolutionary changes, that is, to the extend that fitness-driven differential reproduction occurs.
Philippe writes nothing but quality. Check out his other pieces here.
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
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