Abstract

In the second half of the twentieth century, humanism- namely, the worldview that underpinned Western thought for several centuries-has been severely critiqued by philosophers who highlighted its theoretical and ethical limitations. Inspired by the emergence of cybernetics and new technologies such as robotics, prosthetics, communications, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, there has been a desire to articulate a new worldview that will fit the posthuman condition. Posthumanism is a description of a new form of human existence in which the boundaries between humans and nature and humans and machines are blurred, as well as a prescription for an ideal situation in which the limitations of human biology are transcended, replaced by machines. The transition from the human condition to the posthuman condition will be facilitated by transhumanism, the project of human enhancement that will ultimately yield the transformation of the human species from the human to the posthuman. As an intellectual movement, transhumanism is still very small, but transhumanist ideas exert deep and broad influence on contemporary culture and society. This essay highlights the religious dimension of transhumanism and argues that it should be seen as a secularist faith: transhumanism secularizes traditional religious themes, concerns, and goals, while endowing technology with religious significance. Science-Religion Studies is the most appropriate context to explore the cultural significance of transhumanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-734
Number of pages25
JournalZygon
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

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worldview
faith
genetic engineering
cybernetics
humanism
nanotechnology
artificial intelligence
biology
new technology
communications
medication
twentieth century
Religion
science
Transhumanism
Faith
Society
World View

Keywords

  • Apocalyptic AI
  • Cybernetics
  • Enlightenment Project
  • Eschatology
  • New religious movements
  • Philosophical/cultural posthumanism
  • Posthumanism
  • Postsecular moment
  • Technological posthumanism
  • Transhumanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education

Cite this

Transhumanism as a secularist faith. / Samuelson, Hava.

In: Zygon, Vol. 47, No. 4, 12.2012, p. 710-734.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Samuelson, Hava. / Transhumanism as a secularist faith. In: Zygon. 2012 ; Vol. 47, No. 4. pp. 710-734.
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