The Two Fundamental Problems of Transhumanism
by Dan Vasii
I have met on the net a lot of objections to Transhumanism, and many of them have their points. But none addressed to the fundament of Transhumanism, and the two problems underlying it.
First problem issues from the first part of the term: trans~. Coming from Latin language, it means across, beyond, past, over, on the opposite side. Since humans have two parts, biology and psychology, which one overcomed? Transhumanism makes a confusion between the common part of these, considering psychology something determined by the first part. But is it so? It is true that these two are interrelated, but different.
If we take into consideration Max More's assertion - "Transhumanism is the belief that technology can allow us to improve, enhance and overcome the limits of our biology", than Transhumanism is useless - since the emergence of technology, that is what techology does - I don't need to turn myself into a bird, all I need to do is to buy a plane ticket. Rather, the persons wanting to modify themselves might be considered as having psychological problems, not being content with themselves as they are(a common problem of women with breast implant).
If we are talking about transcending psychology, we run into the problem of AI - there is no formalization of human intelligence, hence no way of putting it into algorhytms. There is no mathematical modelling of it - forget IBM's Watson, it is a database created by humans, is like a mere reflection, not an independent entity. Same as chess programs, they do not learn the game, nobody taught them. All these programmes are just databases, cleverly made, but do you consider yourself a clever database?
Now we are coming to the bigger and, we might even say, biggest problem. The second part of the term is "human", You cannot transcend something, unless you understant that something. If you believe you know it, but you don't, you simply cannot go beyond or past it, because you do not know what "it" is.
Do you think you know what human is? Obviously, transhumanist believe it, but is it so?
Socrate, many thousand years ago, used a very interesting logical method, called in Greek, maieutic, or the art of delivering the truth, (in Greek, maia means midwife). The human problem sounds like that:
Anything belonging to a man, a human being, is not the human being. As a tool belonging to a carpenter is not the carpenter himself. Same for a limb(your hand is not you, if an accident occurs, and you loose it, you will be affected by the loss, but not essentialy changed).
So, if we don't know what a human is, how can we transcend humanity? This is like saying: I don't know where London is, but I can go across it.
The simple fact that we are humans do not confer upon us the knowledge of what being human means.