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Transhumanism, as I said before, is the belief that we should use technology to enhance our abilities, and that this use shouldn't have a limit except that imposed by what will serve our interests.

How it is determined what is and is not in our interest? Who is the "our" - humanity as a collective - an individual?

Hypothetically, when you have a chip in your brain which makes you calculate numbers faster but makes you less human in terms of other normal human brain functions - is that in "our interest"? Yes? No? How do you judge that? Should some get this chip implanted at birth and be "sentenced/predetermined" to certain jobs and excluded from others at the moment they are born because that will be good for the efficiency of humanity overall? No? Why not?

Edited by ~Sophia~
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How it is determined what is and is not in our interest? Who is the "our" - humanity as a collective - an individual?

Let's Simon Young, from "The Transhumanist Manifesto" answer directly your question.

"The future lies not in state-run eugenic programs, but in voluntary consumer access to Superbiology, enabling individuals to enhance their bodies and minds as they see fit, in their own interests-- not those of the state!"

(The italics are those of the original text)

Nanite has much more knowledge than me regarding Transhumanism.

I am just writing about the book I am reading. The thesis of these books are clearly individualistic. There is no "collective" and no enforcement of any kind foreseen in Young's thesis.

The point, however, is not whether Transhumanism is right or wrong, but whether this specific thesis (enhancement of bodies and minds through science and technology to prolonge life as long as possible) is valid or not.

I am not inviting people to become Transhumanist.

Objectivism is the only philosophy to live on Earth.

I am inviting Objectivists to discuss this particular idea, and see whether it is a logic corollary of Objectivist ethics or not.

Hypothetically, when you have a chip in your brain which makes you calculate numbers faster but makes you less human in terms of other normal human brain functions - is that in "our interest"? Yes? No? How do you judge that? Should some get this chip implanted at birth and be "sentenced/predetermined" to certain jobs and excluded from others at the moment they are born because that will be good for the efficiency of humanity overall? No? Why not?

But we already do that, Sophia.

We already influence the neurology of our children in many ways. Our actions range from Selecting sperm from a genius in a sperm bank, to choosing an intelligent partner as the father/mother of our offsprings. We already do it when we stimulate our babies early enough, and when we teach them certain skills more than others, or expose them to certain experiences more than other expereinces. .

And notwithstanding this, children are volitional beings and they will be free to make their own choices, regardless their "chips".

It is exactly because Objectivists are NOT determinists that we can trust that any body enhancement (including those improvind mental functions) will not take away our freedom.

Edited by Hotu Matua
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Hypothetically, when you have a chip in your brain which makes you calculate numbers faster but makes you less human in terms of other normal human brain functions - is that in "our interest"? Yes? No? How do you judge that? Should some get this chip implanted at birth and be "sentenced/predetermined" to certain jobs and excluded from others at the moment they are born because that will be good for the efficiency of humanity overall? No? Why not?

I think all he's really saying is that it is generally (and almost always) better to pursue technological advancement or at least be heavily supportive of it, especially supportive if it enhances your own functioning. The enhanced functioning seems to be the most important point, one point that I do agree with. Typically, that is great because it can add a considerable amount to your life span. As long as people keep in mind that life SPAN is not the standard of value, then all sounds fine. There was no mention of "sentencing" people to do certain jobs because of certain enhancements.

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"Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable...

What Objectivist doesn't view disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as undesirable? For any rational person its a no-brainer. Given the history of technology, I think it is safe to say that disability, disease, aging, and quite possibly involuntary death are unnecessary and that suffering (and definitely involuntary death) can be massively reduced through the advance of technology and industrial society more generally.

It is this suggestion that involuntary death as a phenomenon is unnecessary that strikes me as pure fantasy. The potential causes of death are pretty much limitless. The desire for immortality has no basis in reality.

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.

The potential causes of death are pretty much limitless.

...which is a great thing, because you will always have the chance to end your life, and there will always be a reason to be productive: a reason to use your mind as a tool of survival.

The desire for immortality has no basis in reality.

Yes, it does.

The basis of that desire is your self-recognition as a living rational being who faces constantly ( not just today) the dilemma of life or death, and keeps choosing life and acting accordingly.

You desire immortality as much as I do. Otherwise we both would be dead by now.

All your rational actions so far have had this purpose.

.

Animals don't know they are going to die. But you do and nevertheless fight: you are a hero.

And when you die ( still the most likely thing) you will die thirsty of more life, thirsty of more love, fighting.

Edited by Hotu Matua
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What is that SOMETHING, Make?

Duty? Heavens? The common good? The Ten Commandments?

What is that "something"?

It is life...a happy life.

But corpses cannot have a happy life.

So you first avoid becoming a corpse.

The fact that you are clearly putting "prolonging" life above all other values shows how this can lead to right violation. You would steal the cancer cure from the man because you put all values below prolonging your life.

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"The future lies not in state-run eugenic programs, but in voluntary consumer access to Superbiology...

It is not impossible today. Government controls on what research public funds are spend but there is a lot less restiction (in terms of what the society thinks is a good idea or not) in the private biotechnology sector. I fail to see the issue on that point.

But we already do that, Sophia.

We already influence the neurology of our children in many ways. Our actions range from Selecting sperm from a genius in a sperm bank, to choosing an intelligent partner as the father/mother of our offsprings. We already do it when we stimulate our babies early enough, and when we teach them certain skills more than others, or expose them to certain experiences more than other expereinces. .

What you write here is not an equivalent, in fact, so far away from even the vicinity of an equivalent that I can't take your argument seriously.

And notwithstanding this, children are volitional beings and they will be free to make their own choices, regardless their "chips".

It is exactly because Objectivists are NOT determinists that we can trust that any body enhancement (including those improvind mental functions) will not take away our freedom.

There is no place for "trust" on such non trivial matters. There is nothing obvious about it and freedom (whatever you mean or they mean by it) is not the only criteria here.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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The basis of that desire is your self-recognition as a living rational being who faces constantly ( not just today) the dilemma of life or death, and keeps choosing life and acting accordingly.

Like all common desires for impossibilities, the desire for immortality is related to aspects of our lives, but it is still desiring an impossibility. Perhaps I could have more accurately said that the object of this desire has no basis in reality.

Similarly, many people desire to see their deceased loved ones again sometime in the future. This desire is based on actual emotions that they have and actual events and relationships, but the object of desire, this hypothetical future reunion, has no basis in reality. There is nothing to suggest such a thing is even possible.

Edited by Dante
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You desire immortality as much as I do. Otherwise we both would be dead by now.

All your rational actions so far have had this purpose.

Count me out of your reckoning.

I desire to live well, honorably and prosperously.

Length is of no meaning to me.

Just as I would rather make an adequate living over a fortune if I had moral issue with the means, so would I take issue with lengthening my days if the means were problematic

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Future advances might alter, or even erase, our definition of what it means to be a "human". But, that doesn't mean that our "personhood", or our volitional, rational egoism, has to go away with it.

Edited by Dingbat
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It is this suggestion that involuntary death as a phenomenon is unnecessary that strikes me as pure fantasy. The potential causes of death are pretty much limitless. The desire for immortality has no basis in reality.

Well, it certainly is desirable to decrease the number of ways one can expect to die involuntarily. Perhaps that definition was a little off. No transhumanist believes one can live literally forever, as at least one day it appears that there will be no useable energy left in the entire universe, and so no life of any kind at all would be possible. The actual goal is "indefinite life span" which means that you will not die due to biological causes. In essence, disease and aging are concurred, and death will only be the result of accidents and suicide (and murder of course). But even our ability to survive accidents could be significantly increased with advances in medical technology. I think one should keep that in mind. The position taken by transhumanists, and which Hotu is saying Objectivists should consider, is that an indefinite life span (death then only resulting from accidents, murder, and suicide) is possible to achieve and desirable.

I don't see any reason at all why aging and disease can't be essentially eliminated as causes of death (maybe the rare bird will die from them, but the number who do will be vanishingly small). And since it isn't impossible, and no one is saying that life SPAN should be the standard of life (or well, at least I am certainly not saying that), then I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't think it desirable. Getting old and sick sucks, why would anyone WANT it if it could be helped?

How it is determined what is and is not in our interest? Who is the "our" - humanity as a collective - an individual?

Hypothetically, when you have a chip in your brain which makes you calculate numbers faster but makes you less human in terms of other normal human brain functions - is that in "our interest"? Yes? No? How do you judge that? Should some get this chip implanted at birth and be "sentenced/predetermined" to certain jobs and excluded from others at the moment they are born because that will be good for the efficiency of humanity overall? No? Why not?

Sophia, I am a student of Objectivism/fellow traveler/not-in-disagreement-with-but-only-uncertain-about-small-parts-of-Objectivism-and-agrees-with-the-rest type. I thought it would be obvious that I am answering all your questions just as any Objectivist would answer them. Again, I don't think transhumanism is really a "philosophy", though some have tried to make it such. It's more of a philosophical position (or maybe a small set of them), akin perhaps to libertarianism or conservatism or liberalism in its vagueness and iffyness as epistemologically valid. Regardless, all I am trying to get across is that adopting "transhumanist" positions (i.e. those in support for the use of technology to enhance our abilities in all areas that we can and deem useful to us) is a natural result of the Objectivist ethics.

I would have to judge whether having any given enhancement would be in my interests based on how it can be expected to effect my pursuit of my own life and happiness. I would judge it based on what its effects actually are, based on experimental data with volunteers (it is extremely unlikely I'd be an early adopter for any of this, but there definitely will be many who would volunteer). It would, in a way, be similar to how one judges whether or not to take psychiatric medication- it effects how your brain works and may cause you some problems in that area but could have huge benefits. It depends on your particular context. I don't see any fundamental moral difference between doing something which fixes my body if it is substandard in some way (not functioning up to "normal" specs, say has disease, or has bad eyesight, etc.) and doing something which enhances my abilities beyond what is normal (like Tiger Woods, who had 20/8 vision after lasik surgery). In both cases, I am simply weighing the possible costs of the course of action and the benefits to my pursuit of my values. "Normal" human ability doesn't have any special moral significance in my view, and so I don't see how either should be more objectionable than the other.

There are questions about identity and the like, as I mentioned before, but other than those, I really don't see why anyone would be against technologies that cure disease, repair the damage from aging, greatly increase one's ability to heal from injury, or boost one's abilities like strength, agility, the senses, or intelligence (if they have acceptable side effects in the context of the individual's life).

No one said anything about forcing people into certain jobs, or making everything about Humanity (with a capital "H") or the State or anything like that. I don't know why I have to keep repeating myself, but I am not advocating the initiation of force, EVER. I am trying to make the case that Objectivist ethics would logically lead to support for the development of these technologies. Why in the world would I be advocating their implementation or development in ways that would directly contradict the Objectivist ethics?

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Count me out of your reckoning.

I desire to live well, honorably and prosperously.

Length is of no meaning to me.

Just as I would rather make an adequate living over a fortune if I had moral issue with the means, so would I take issue with lengthening my days if the means were problematic

I've never played the "age card" before, but I think being older does change one's perspective on long, or prolonged, life.

(Anyway, according to Nanite's time-line assessment, I'm going to miss the 25-year cut - oh well, too bad.)

However; opportunity and choice is paramount, and if this comes to pass in your lifetimes, and you can take advantage of it, and want to - great! Me, I'm all for overcoming nature wherever possible.

Just a reminder, there's no free lunch - not that I believe you guys are incapable of meeting the challenge.

SapereAude said it well, and I reckon that's my position, also.

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Again, I don't think transhumanism is really a "philosophy", though some have tried to make it such. It's more of a philosophical position (or maybe a small set of them), akin perhaps to libertarianism or conservatism or liberalism in its vagueness and iffyness as epistemologically valid.

And as such, for the same reasons, carries with it the same dangers. I would say it is possibly more dangerous than Libertarianism.

Regardless, all I am trying to get across is that adopting "transhumanist" positions (i.e. those in support for the use of technology to enhance our abilities in all areas that we can and deem useful to us) is a natural result of the Objectivist ethics.

And I disagree. It does not naturally follow from Objectivism that we ought to enter into what they call "post-human phase". In order to grasp what this means we have to look into what makes us human. It is not our heart or a leg right? .... it is our mind, our brain. So lets not beat around the bush with the general use of the term "technology" - what is at the center of trans-humanism is not electronic hearts or livers with which rational people would not have issues and which would not need much defending - but alterations to our brain - which is in a totally different category. Electronic livers do not require separate philosophical movement.

The overconfidence in our ability to accurately predict the consequences of brain alterations is similar to the overconfidence related to central economic planning on a world-wide level. The likelihood of a disaster is very high almost to the point of a guarantee.

What follows from Objectivism is the fact that if such alterations do not affect my safety and my rights - I would not stop you from doing this to yourself if you wanted to - in the very similar way I would not try to stop you from taking drugs in the privacy of your own home.

What follows from Objectivism is that I would fight very hard for a law that would prevent anyone from doing such alterations to another person without their consent which would absolutely exclude children until they can make an educated decision for themselves.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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It does not naturally follow from Objectivism that we ought to enter into what they call "post-human phase". In order to grasp what this means we have to look into what makes us human. It is not our heart or a leg right? .... it is our mind, our brain. So lets not beat around the bush with the general use of the term "technology" - what is at the center of trans-humanism is not electronic hearts or livers with which rational people would not have issues and which would not need much defending - but alterations to our brain - which is in a totally different category. Electronic livers do not require separate philosophical movement.

Let's stop talking about philosophical movements, because it isn't really important. Let's examine the actual positions in "transhumanism" and see whether they are objectionable. Somatic genetic engineering to improve one's own bodies functioning but not change the DNA in the germ line (and so not affect other generations) IS objected to by many religious people. I can't imagine an Objectivist could do so however. Germ line engineering to improve one's offsprings DNA, for example to eliminate disease, to select certain traits like eye color or height, and limited manipulation of statistical predilections (for example changing the risks of alcoholism or violence, or slightly changing intelligence, for example-- this doesn't imply one couldn't become an alcoholic if you change some genes, but rather that one seems to be at a lower risk of it if one does so); all those seem to me unobjectionable. It doesn't do anything but play around with already existent genes in our gene pool, and so isn't in any way making the children "inhuman" or whatever. Vast numbers of people would object to even this much. And then adding genes which may, for example, improve their functioning in the same way that I would do to my own (say, increasing the efficiency of one's lysosomes in destroying waste products in the cells), is also opposed by many. I don't think these should be objectionable based on Objectivist ethics either, though.

Alterations to one's eyes to, say, be able to add information from other sources doesn't mess with the brain necessarily, and we already have artificial eyes which are wholly inorganic for patients with damaged eyes by functional optic nerves (they're not as good as normal eyes, but may be in the next decade or two). These shouldn't be objected to (and most wouldn't so long as they are used to fix something deemed broken, rather than improve a normal person's eyesight- that would make many people angry).

Alright, well what about controlling computers with one's mind? We have experiments where this is done with real people already, and they don't seem to have any alterations in personality or anything because of it. People are able to control artificial hands in experiments with their minds, or move cursors around screens with their minds. These mind-to-world interactions should also be unobjectionable.

So what we are really talking about are such things like my math-chip-in-head proposal, where it actually somehow spits the answer back out. That would take significant work, but might be able to be based on the technologies described above (perhaps by having the answer outputted to the eye, for example, and having input be done manually). That wouldn't be quite what I meant earlier, but it wouldn't be impossible. We could certainly have access to the internet without altering people's minds (through the use of more advanced versions of the technologies for moving cursors around on a screen, and by projecting the information onto the eye either via a contact or directly incorporating it if the eye had been replaced with an electronic device). Some would have problems with even this technology, even though it wouldn't effect one's mind at all.

Finally, we have major changes which we don't even know if they are possible yet, which seem to be what you are objecting to. However, transhumanists would likely claim that someone that has all the technologies already discussed in this post would qualify for the name "post-human". After all, genetic engineering may end up using an extra chromosome to house all the added genetic material (since it would be safer- less likely to cause cancer), in which case if it had been germ-line engineering the person would technically be a member of a different species (as they would not be able to reproduce naturally with an unmodified human).

And people ARE opposed to genetic engineering of oneself, as well as the use of any technologies to improve performance beyond what is possible to a normal human (even when such technologies do not actually effect the brain), which I think you would admit wouldn't be a problem at all and indeed would likely be a positive good (and support for their development would be almost mandatory for an Objectivist-- again, so long as the technology doesn't try to change the mind).

The overconfidence in our ability to accurately predict the consequences of brain alterations is similar to the overconfidence related to central economic planning on a world-wide level. The likelihood of a disaster is very high almost to the point of a guarantee.

What follows from Objectivism is the fact that if such alterations do not affect my safety and my rights - I would not stop you from doing this to yourself if you wanted to - in the very similar way I would not try to stop you from taking drugs in the privacy of your own home.

What follows from Objectivism is that I would fight very hard for a law that would prevent anyone from doing such alterations to another person without their consent which would absolutely exclude children until they can make an educated decision for themselves.

Well, we've been doing brain alterations along the lines of controlling things directly with our brains that are not part of our bodies for over a decade now without a problem. Bigger changes may cause problems, but that's why most people don't volunteer for major medical experiments. I don't see any problem with germ-line engineering, which does effect one's children (after all, when I'm doing it, they aren't human anyways, and I am making them better). Now, invasive changes, like adding in chips to their brains, sure, one shouldn't do that until the age of consent, and I would support a law which forbid that. But let's not miss the forest for the trees. No one is advocating the forcible imposition of things on other people without consent, so why keep bringing it up?

Your belief that there doesn't need to be a big push to allow the use of technologies that don't involve major invasive changes to the brain is wrong. Most people are dead-set against any use of technology which will make people function better than the normal human range, and many are against any sort of genetic engineering of oneself if it isn't purely to fix an already accepted disease (many anti-aging things aren't actually going to be treating specific diseases, but underlying reasons why the body will become prone to developing them in the first place). Many think the goal of radically extending the human lifespan is abhorrent, even when it involves no use of force, and isn't taken as the aim of one's life. Bring up the prospect of being able to live 1000 years to many people, and they'll shrink back in horror, screaming about overpopulation, or how its unnatural, etc. They are saying that even wanting to live longer than about 100 years is horrible, not even any moral argument about what the aim of one's life is. So there is a LOT of room for a major drive in the culture to support the development of such technologies. Doesn't have to be separate from an Objectivist movement by any means, but it isn't like the use of these sorts of technologies is unopposed in the culture.

You may be correct about the possible problems from such ideas as "transhumanism" and "libertarianism" and "conservatism" etc., but particularly in the case of transhumanism, the point isn't whether it should be a separate position, but whether or not one should support the development and use of life-extending, performance-enhancing technologies in general (provided they have acceptable side effects). That is the real focus of the discussion, in my opinion. Is such support (provided the need for side effects to be acceptable, to preclude your worries about brain alteration) a natural result of Objectivist ethics? Is there a moral difference between fixing a disease and improving someone's performance beyond the "normal" in Objectivist ethics? Those are the real questions, not all this stuff about grabbing kids and jamming chips into their heads and sending them off to the factories to be worker drones or whatever.

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I just don't understand the terminology that the movement uses. "Transhumanism?" "Post-human?" They seem to use these terms to describe occurrences which should properly be viewed as natural advancements in the human condition due to technology, and in so doing they're undoubtedly making things harder for themselves.

Also, I think the opposition to the movement is merely a symptom of the fact that most people don't think that an individual's life belongs solely to himself or herself. The idea that there could be anything wrong with using technology simply to make your own life better is rooted in the deeper philosophical notion that your purpose in life should be something other than to pursue your own happiness. It is this root which must be attacked, and an effort to promote transhumanist positions without doing so will likely be as toothless and shortlived as an attempt to promote free-market policies without addressing the underlying philosophical issues.

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If the goal is immortality, then it seems to me that the goal is to live for the sake of others who have not yet lived.

Doesn't sound very compatible with objectivism to me.

How so? Because I don't see that at all. I don't want to die if I can help it. So I intend to live healthily as long as I am able to be happy and pursue values that are important to me. I don't see how that is in some manner altruistic. How do you come to that conclusion?

There is a parallel here with the Bioshock scenario, and in particular the mad surgeon early in the game who indulged his quest for perfection and would not stop cutting.

Well, I can see there are risks (Bioshock has people get superpowers basically, which would be cool if it could actually happen, but at the cost apparently of their minds- which is definitely not cool). Perhaps it isn't the risk of side-effect that you are talking about, but instead you are meaning that if we keep trying to make ourselves better, we'll lose sight of essentials and sort of lose ourselves? I mean, that could be a risk, sure, but so long as one ensures that people have their individual rights protected (so that no one can force these technologies on others), then it is your personal responsibility to protect against it. That is one factor to be included in the calculation of whether or not someone wants to use some particular technological development, not an argument against developing these sorts of enhancement technologies as a whole.

Was that what you meant (that we might lose ourselves)? I couldn't really tell. Btw, I loved Bioshock, great game. The problem with Rapture was mostly that almost everyone in it was nowhere close to Objectivist (and even Ryan, who seems closest, had some big problems)- no Objectivist would choose to go insane in return for superpowers. Not a good trade.

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How so? Because I don't see that at all. I don't want to die if I can help it. So I intend to live healthily as long as I am able to be happy and pursue values that are important to me. I don't see how that is in some manner altruistic. How do you come to that conclusion?

First, any chance of actually achieving such a goal is far in the future, beyond any hope of bringing anything resembling immortality to you. Such a goal, if ever to be reached, would benefit those not yet born.

Second, the whole concept seems circular. Your life's goal is to live longer so you can pursue your values further, but your top value is to live longer.

The whole concept is fixated on what happens at the end of your life and is focused on the evasion of the reality of death…rather like religions without the mystical garbage.

?

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First, any chance of actually achieving such a goal is far in the future, beyond any hope of bringing anything resembling immortality to you. Such a goal, if ever to be reached, would benefit those not yet born.

Second, the whole concept seems circular. Your life's goal is to live longer so you can pursue your values further, but your top value is to live longer.

The whole concept is fixated on what happens at the end of your life and is focused on the evasion of the reality of death…rather like religions without the mystical garbage.

?

I agree. Circular logic that defeats itself.

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...the whole concept seems circular. Your life's goal is to live longer so you can pursue your values further, but your top value is to live longer.

The whole concept is fixated on what happens at the end of your life and is focused on the evasion of the reality of death…rather like religions without the mystical garbage.

Although I have to say that immortality is impossible and would be undesirable to me if possible, I think this circularity argument fails. A lot of the same arguments are often made about the Objectivist ethics; that it is ridiculous to think that the goal of one's life should be to further one's life. One should use one's life to attain... one's life? It seems to suffer from the same circularity. The resolution for both is the fact that life is by nature a self-sustaining phenomenon; the ends and the means are one and the same. My productive activities, for example, are means of sustaining my life, but they are also part of the ends for which I strive (they constitute "my life.") Life isn't some abstract thing that we spend our time pursuing; it is constituted by the very activities we undertake. My life consists of the things that I spend my time doing, and I should choose those things in order to continue my opportunity to live and to engage in them. My life, in short, is both end and means, and by its nature it couldn't be otherwise.

Edited by Dante
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Although I have to say that immortality is impossible and would be undesirable to me if possible, I think this circularity argument fails. A lot of the same arguments are often made about the Objectivist ethics; that it is ridiculous to think that the goal of one's life should be to further one's life. One should use one's life to attain... one's life? It seems to suffer from the same circularity. The resolution for both is the fact that life is by nature a self-sustaining phenomenon; the ends and the means are one and the same. My productive activities, for example, are means of sustaining my life, but they are also part of the ends for which I strive (they constitute "my life.") Life isn't some abstract thing that we spend our time pursuing; it is constituted by the very activities we undertake. It is both end and means, and by its nature it couldn't be otherwise.

I disagree that life is self-sustaining. One must make choices in order to live, an evasion of the necessity to make choices cannot lead one to sustain his life.

If the purpose of one's life is to achieve immortality and to prolong life and that that was the value above all other values, then there definitely is circular issues. Transhumanism, at least the position taken by some in this thread, holds that all values are impossible without life and that, therefore, man must look to prolong his life above all else. This means that the value of "prolonging life" implicitly rises above the Objectivist values that life is an end in itself. This can lead to rights violation and neglecting to enjoy one's life for what it is.

Correct me if I am wrong, please, I am trying to learn :D

Edited by Maken
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I disagree that life is self-sustaining. One must make choices in order to live, an evasion of the necessity to make choices cannot lead one to sustain his life.

If the purpose of one's life is to achieve immortality and to prolong life and that that was the value above all other values, then there definitely is circular issues. Transhumanism, at least the position taken by some in this thread, holds that all values are impossible without life and that, therefore, man must look to prolong his life above all else. This means that the value of "prolonging life" implicitly rises above the Objectivist values that life is an end in itself. This can lead to rights violation and neglecting to enjoy one's life for what it is.

Correct me if I am wrong, please, I am trying to learn :D

I am trying to be healthier because I think it will benefit me in three ways: 1) I will be able to do more in the present and 2) I will be able to do more and for a longer period in the future and 3) I will physically feel better doing it. This is, presumably, why everyone wants to be healthy. I am not now, nor have I ever, advocated survival as the only point of life. That wouldn't make sense. I have to survive as a human being, i.e. I have to pursue rational values and produce, etc. You seem to believe that having as one of many goals (granted an important one) living a good long time (and healthily and happily as a requirement of this) as somehow nonsense. Why? Why not eat yourself to death? Or bother taking preventive measures if, for example, one were to find out one was genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's or diabetes or heart disease? Precisely because you want to be able to be around to continue to pursue your values. And because you want to pursue your values, you will, as a result, include as one of your values your health. I don't see why being supportive of big-time improvements in medicine is found to be so ridiculous/horrible to some people.

As for the charge that anything resembling "immortality" (by this I mean the effective defeat of aging and disease as a cause of death, not some magical immortality attributed to vampires or invincibility or anything akin to such nonsense, and so it would properly be called "indefinite lifespan") will not be possible in my lifetime, I think that is pessimistic. I am quite young, only 20 years old. If I am in good health, I can reasonably expect to live to roundabout 80 or so, giving me 60 years. That's an awful long time. Why, 60 years ago we barely had computers. We didn't know what DNA was. We had only a vague idea of the workings of cells. We had essentially no idea about the causes of aging. Organ transplants were rare at best and extremely risky. The list goes on. We've learned a huge amount about how the cell and body works, and are even now beginning to apply this knowledge to new treatments. So I don't see why my life expectancy couldn't be several decades longer than 80 years. And in those decades new advancements would come. I'm not saying I'm guaranteed to live to 1000, but I think I have a shot if I take good care of myself. In any case, I like living and intend to use whatever science can give me to maintain a healthy life so I can go on doing what I want to do, whether I live to 80, 100, 200, or 1000+.

Let me repeat something I have said before: No one believes immortality is possible. We will die. We already have an idea when it will be literally impossible for anything to survive- around 10^120 years from now, at the latest, ~30 billlion years at the earliest. So literal immortality, i.e. never dying, is impossible. No one says that dying from accidents can be eliminated either, merely reduced in likelihood. No one even says that disease can be completely eliminated as a cause of death. What transhumanists say is that we will one day be able to live enormously longer than we do currently thanks to the advance of science, and that such a prospect should not only be looked upon with eagerness, but that ideally one should do something to help that day happen sooner, if one values one's life and has a general respect for life. So let's be clear: transhumanists argue for the desirability of an indefinite lifespan, so that, barring accidents, one may live as long as one likes to continue living. They also argue for many other things, but that is one of their big pushes.

No one has given me a reason why one would NOT want the ability to live as long as one likes, and why one would wish to campaign against the advance of medical technology in order to avoid such a fate (of having that ability). That just seems crazy to me, but is what is necessary if one is to say that transhumanists are bonkers for thinking such a thing to be desirable. I really do think that one's health would be a major concern for Objectivists (not an overriding one, perhaps, but an important one), and so support for the advance of medicine would be something we'd all like to see- and campaign against those who say it is a bad thing. Not saying it takes a separate philosophy, or movement, at all. Just saying that the advance of medicine is almost always a good thing, and maintaining good health would be something important to most rational people.

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I am trying to be healthier because I think it will benefit me in three ways: 1) I will be able to do more in the present and 2) I will be able to do more and for a longer period in the future and 3) I will physically feel better doing it. This is, presumably, why everyone wants to be healthy. I am not now, nor have I ever, advocated survival as the only point of life. That wouldn't make sense. I have to survive as a human being, i.e. I have to pursue rational values and produce, etc. You seem to believe that having as one of many goals (granted an important one) living a good long time (and healthily and happily as a requirement of this) as somehow nonsense. Why? Why not eat yourself to death? Or bother taking preventive measures if, for example, one were to find out one was genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's or diabetes or heart disease? Precisely because you want to be able to be around to continue to pursue your values. And because you want to pursue your values, you will, as a result, include as one of your values your health. I don't see why being supportive of big-time improvements in medicine is found to be so ridiculous/horrible to some people.

As for the charge that anything resembling "immortality" (by this I mean the effective defeat of aging and disease as a cause of death, not some magical immortality attributed to vampires or invincibility or anything akin to such nonsense, and so it would properly be called "indefinite lifespan") will not be possible in my lifetime, I think that is pessimistic. I am quite young, only 20 years old. If I am in good health, I can reasonably expect to live to roundabout 80 or so, giving me 60 years. That's an awful long time. Why, 60 years ago we barely had computers. We didn't know what DNA was. We had only a vague idea of the workings of cells. We had essentially no idea about the causes of aging. Organ transplants were rare at best and extremely risky. The list goes on. We've learned a huge amount about how the cell and body works, and are even now beginning to apply this knowledge to new treatments. So I don't see why my life expectancy couldn't be several decades longer than 80 years. And in those decades new advancements would come. I'm not saying I'm guaranteed to live to 1000, but I think I have a shot if I take good care of myself. In any case, I like living and intend to use whatever science can give me to maintain a healthy life so I can go on doing what I want to do, whether I live to 80, 100, 200, or 1000+.

Let me repeat something I have said before: No one believes immortality is possible. We will die. We already have an idea when it will be literally impossible for anything to survive- around 10^120 years from now, at the latest, ~30 billlion years at the earliest. So literal immortality, i.e. never dying, is impossible. No one says that dying from accidents can be eliminated either, merely reduced in likelihood. No one even says that disease can be completely eliminated as a cause of death. What transhumanists say is that we will one day be able to live enormously longer than we do currently thanks to the advance of science, and that such a prospect should not only be looked upon with eagerness, but that ideally one should do something to help that day happen sooner, if one values one's life and has a general respect for life. So let's be clear: transhumanists argue for the desirability of an indefinite lifespan, so that, barring accidents, one may live as long as one likes to continue living. They also argue for many other things, but that is one of their big pushes.

No one has given me a reason why one would NOT want the ability to live as long as one likes, and why one would wish to campaign against the advance of medical technology in order to avoid such a fate (of having that ability). That just seems crazy to me, but is what is necessary if one is to say that transhumanists are bonkers for thinking such a thing to be desirable. I really do think that one's health would be a major concern for Objectivists (not an overriding one, perhaps, but an important one), and so support for the advance of medicine would be something we'd all like to see- and campaign against those who say it is a bad thing. Not saying it takes a separate philosophy, or movement, at all. Just saying that the advance of medicine is almost always a good thing, and maintaining good health would be something important to most rational people.

I think there is a big difference between Transhumanism with Objectivist influence and Objectivism.

You are advocating Objectivist ethics and Transhumanism which is what I find to be incompatible. Objectivism ethics would have to take precedence over Transhumanism in this case. I can agree that Objectivism would hold that it is good to extend one's life and to seek to live as long as possible, but don't let Transhumanism blur the lines between its own ethics and Objectivism ethics.

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