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Postby mitchellmckain on August 7th, 2017, 4:17 pm 

Quite a few times in the past I think up a term to refer to a particular philosophical approach an then find out that I am not the first to use such a term though it is often not what I was aiming for at all. One example was "Christian Minimalism" which I was using to pare Christianity down to the very first agreement of the ecumenical council in Nicea 325AD and allow that outside of this Christian thought embodies considerable diversity. But I quickly found someone else who was using the term for a personal theology of a different sort. When I looked it up today I found an even different usage referring to a Buddhist like abandonment of possessions.

In any case, something like this happened to me today as well. I was thinking about the way sci-fi has moved us beyond a human centered morality in order to make us sympathetic with other forms of sentience, and compared this with the development of post-modernism. Looking up the term "posthumanism", however, revealed quite a variety of meanings, including the one I meant as well.

Wikipedia wrote:Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning "after humanism" or "beyond humanism") is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:[1]

1. Antihumanism: any theory that is critical of traditional humanism and traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition.[2]
2. Cultural posthumanism: a branch of cultural theory critical of the foundational assumptions of humanism and its legacy[3] that examines and questions the historical notions of "human" and "human nature", often challenging typical notions of human subjectivity and embodiment[4] and strives to move beyond archaic concepts of "human nature" to develop ones which constantly adapt to contemporary technoscientific knowledge.[5]
3. Philosophical posthumanism: a philosophical direction which draws on cultural posthumanism, the philosophical strand examines the ethical implications of expanding the circle of moral concern and extending subjectivities beyond the human species[4]
4. Posthuman condition: the deconstruction of the human condition by critical theorists.[6]
5. Transhumanism: an ideology and movement which seeks to develop and make available technologies that eliminate aging and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities, in order to achieve a "posthuman future".[7]
6. AI takeover: A more pessimistic alternative to transhumanism in which humans will not be enhanced, but rather eventually replaced by artificial intelligences. Some philosophers, including Nick Land, promote the view that humans should embrace and accept their eventual demise.[8] This is related to the view of "cosmism" which supports the building of strong artificial intelligence even if it may entail the end of humanity as in their view it "would be a cosmic tragedy if humanity freezes evolution at the puny human level".[9][10][11]
7. Voluntary Human Extinction, which seeks a "posthuman future" that in this case is a future without humans.

My idea is essentially 3, while 2 expands it to other intriguing directions which remind me of other ideas of mine, like changing the idea of consciousness from an aspect of the mind to an aspect of the process of life itself.

1. I embrace secularism but it is not surprising that as a theist am not so cozy with humanism and have been critical of it at various times.
4. I am not a fan of deconstruction, though I probably do it myself on a few topics more than I realize.
5. I find "Transhumanism" alarming and suspect it is setting up an excuse to do terrible things.
6. I have a more optimistic outlook that via our inheritance of mind, AI of the future can be considered our children and in that sense enhances the survival of our humanity even if our biological species becomes extinct. These are thoughts largely inspired by Spielberg's film "AI."
7. I certainly do not seek any such thing, but I recognize the possibility we will extinguish ourselves is uncomfortably great.
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