38. The Great Transition

Ideas and Anxieties

  1. Max More and
  2. Natasha Vita-More
  1. Russell Blackford

Published Online: 11 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118555927.ch38

The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future

The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future

How to Cite

Blackford, R. (2013) The Great Transition, in The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future (eds M. More and N. Vita-More), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118555927.ch38

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 29 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118334294

Online ISBN: 9781118555927

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Keywords:

  • ethics;
  • evolution;
  • Great Transition;
  • intelligence;
  • technology;
  • transhumanism

Summary

Transhumanism has an intellectual core. It makes large claims – large enough and clear enough to provoke anxieties. One core idea is of human beings in transition: this word provides the “trans” in “transhumanism,” “transhumanist,” and their cognates. In the past, technology has extended the human body, providing it with tools to act upon the world. Transhumanism adds one more core idea: that the Great Transition is beneficial, something to be welcomed. Prophecies of redesigned human bodies are not entirely new, and nor is the widespread disquiet that they evoke. Some anxieties relate to practical issues, timeframes, and possible abuses. There is no need for transhumanists to adopt any implausible or politically troublesome account of the relationship between evolution and morality. Some transhumanists may be naive about the ease with which the Great Transition will, or can, take place, and some may specify unworkable schemes.