Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 (2):1-16 (2014)
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Abstract

There exists a real dearth of literature available to Anglophones dealing with philosophical connections between transhumanism and Marxism. This is surprising, given the existence of works on just this relation in the other major European languages and the fact that 47 per cent of people surveyed in the 2007 Interests and Beliefs Survey of the Members of the World Transhumanist Association identified as “left,” though not strictly Marxist (Hughes 2008). Rather than seeking to explain this dearth here, I aim to contribute to its being filled in by identifying three fundamental areas of similarity between transhumanism and Marxism. These are: the importance of material conditions, and particularly technological advancement, for revolution; conceptions of human nature; and conceptions of nature in general. While it is true that both Marxism and (especially) transhumanism are broad fields that encompass diverse positions, even working with somewhat generalized characterizations of the two reveals interesting parallels and dissimilarities fruitful for future work. This comparison also shows that transhumanism and Marxism can learn important lessons from one another that are complementary to their respective projects. I suggest that Marxists can learn from transhumanists two lessons: that some “natural” forces may become reified forces and the extent to which the productive apparatus is now relevant to revolution. Transhumanists, on the other hand, can learn from Marxist theory the essentially social nature of the human being and the ramifications this has for the transformation of the human condition and for the forms of social organization compatible with transhumanist aims. Transhumanists can also benefit from considering the relevance of Marx’s theory of alienation to their goals of technological advancement.

Author's Profile

James Steinhoff
University of Western Ontario

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