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Transhumanism and pessimism : Nietzschean and Schopenhauerian views of nihilism

Dernière mise à jour : 26 avr.



How closely allied is the transhumanism with Nietzsche’s philosophy?

Background : transhumanism believes in purposely enhancement and improvement of human nature (both the body and mind). According to transhumanists, the acceleration of the speed of human evolution could be possible by use of scientific means available, such as genetic engineering, biotechnology, digital technology and emerging technologies. The aim of transhumanistm is to create another species of hominid, more powerful than the current species: posthumans. While the word transhumanity refers to humanity in transition, the term posthumanity concerns the project of this new posthuman species.

In my opinion, transhumanism is a philosophy that feeds on both optimism and pessimism in the sense that while it recognizes the indigence of the human condition, it gives itself the means to overcome it. This approach is in line with the atypical thinking of a well-known 19th century philosopher, Nietzsche. There is a striking parallel between the transhumanist conception of the posthuman and Nietzsche’s « übermensch » (overhuman or superhuman). Not all scholars agree that Nietzsche is a precursor to transhumanism. There is even a great philosophical controversy on this point. As far as I am concerned, I am convinced by the arguments of Stefan Lorenz Sorgner. Since there is an abundant and specialized literature on the relationship between Nietzsche and transhumanist thought, I will not develop this aspect.

Reference :Nietzsche and Transhumanism: Precursor or Enemy? Edited by Yunus Tuncel, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

I prefer to develop here the question of the relationship between Nietzsche’s master, Schopenhauer, and transhumanism.


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