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Transhumanism is an intellectual movement that actively promotes human enhancement.61
According to Transhumanist proponent and scholar Nick Bostrom,62 the roots of Transhumanist
thought can be traced to the ancient Sumerians, to Taoism in China, to alchemists seeking to
produce the “Elixir of Life” and to early adventurers looking to find the “Fountain of Youth.”63
However, as Bostrom notes, it was not until the period of time known as the Enlightenment—in
which human society experienced an exponential increase in discoveries and scientific
developments64—that Transhumanism became a quest for improvement through scientific
Philosophy has also left a mark in the movement, with Friedrich Nietzsche being one of
the most influential philosophers in Transhumanist thought.66 In his book Thus Spake Zarathustra,
Nietzsche famously set forth the concept of humanity as a transient state, members of which should
strive to transcend and evolve into something superior.67 Nietzsche immortalized this ideal in the
And Zarathustra spake thus unto the people: I teach you the Superhuman. Man is
something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man? All beings
hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye, want to be the ebb of
that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man? What is the
ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to
the Superhuman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.68
The modern Transhumanist movement saw its birth in the early 1990s,69 and its formal
philosophy is that of “[seeking] the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent
life beyond its current human form and human limitations by means of science and technology,
guided by life-promoting principles and values.”70 Authors and scholars such as Max Moore,71
61 See Transhumanist Declaration, HUMANITY+, supra note 19.
62 See Nick Bostrom, Home Page, http://www.nickbostrom.com/ (last visited May 12, 2017).
63 Nick Bostrom, A History of Transhumanist Thought, 14 J. EVOL. & TECH. 1, 1 (2005),
64 Id. See also Enlightenment, HISTORY, http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment (last visited May 12, 2017).
The Enlightenment is the period of time between 1685 and 1815 also known as the “Age of Reason.” Id. During this
time, “Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, in France and throughout Europe questioned traditional authority and
embraced the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change.” Id.
65 Bostrom, supra note 63, at 2.
66 Bostrom disagrees with this notion noting that: “What Nietzsche had in mind, however, was not technological
transformation but a kind of soaring personal growth and cultural refinement in exceptional individuals . . . .” Id. at
4. Nevertheless, Bostrom’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s ideal in itself is consistent with Transhumanism as a
philosophy of life, instead of solely as a movement in support of purely physical transformation. See id. In contrast
with Bostrom’s view, Transhumanist scholar Stefan Lorenz Sorgner believes that Nietzsche’s “will-to-power”
philosophy is consistent with Transhumanism because “if you will to power, then it is in your interest to enhance
yourself.” Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Nietzche, the Overhuman and Transhumanism, 20 J. EVOL. TECHNOL. 29 (2009),
67 FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1998/1998-h/1998-h.htm.
69 Philosophy, HUMANITY+, http://humanityplus.org/philosophy/philosophy-2/ (last visited May 12, 2017).
70 Id. (quoting Max Moore).
71See Strategic Philosopher Max More, What Does He Do?, http://www.maxmore.com/bio.htm.