The Politics and Ethics of Transhumanism: Exploring Implications for the Future in Advanced Capitalism

PhD Thesis


Thomas, A. 2022. The Politics and Ethics of Transhumanism: Exploring Implications for the Future in Advanced Capitalism. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Social Sciences https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8vq81
AuthorsThomas, A.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

This thesis critiques the philosophy of transhumanism by exploring how the dynamic codevelopment of humans and technology may proceed guided by the logics of advanced capitalism. Transhumanists underestimate the complexity of our relationship with technology, seeing it as a controllable, malleable tool that with the correct logic and scientific rigour can be turned to any end. Simultaneously, they fail to thoroughly situate technological advancement within the social, economic, cultural and political context in which it is emerging. Therefore, when More and Vita-More (2013, p.1) claim: ‘One aspect of transhumanism…is the need for inclusivity, plurality, and continuous questioning of our knowledge’, it is my contention that these three principles are incompatible with transhumanist development in the context of an advanced capitalist logic. As such the thesis constitutes an imminent critique of transhumanism arguing that it will fail to live up to its own purported values.

Indeed, transhumanism’s instrumentalist underpinnings render it inapt to stand for any values beyond an obsessive and naïve dedication to instrumental ‘progress’. Whilst the dynamic co-evolution of humans and technology is increasingly undermining stable and long-held notions of the human condition and the conceptual boundaries which have demarcated human beings as individuals, transhumanism hangs on to outmoded notions of liberal agency. This further shows its failure to contend with the very implications of the ‘progress’ it advocates.

The thesis argues that awareness of the growing influence of a technical rationality underpinning advanced capitalist relations and directing the co-evolution of humans and technology is needed. Every step of the development of radical technologies demands an equivalent ethical coevolution of our social world. Ongoing normative re evaluations of the human must inform the process and radical social reform may be required to realise the stated transhumanist principles of inclusivity, plurality and the continuous questioning of knowledge.

Year2022
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8vq81
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Publication dates
Online08 Mar 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Mar 2023
Completed16 Dec 2022
Copyright information© The Author, 2022
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