Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Homo Eligens Futuris, Confounded

Charles T. Rubin reflects on transhumanism in the characteristically superb journal The New Atlantis. His take on the "Choosing Man of the Future" promoted by technotriumphalists:

Of course, liberty is a crucial element of any decent human life. But the more one observes the extreme libertarianism at the heart of the rhetoric of extinction, the harder it is to take seriously. As we saw in Chorost’s account of himself, the free play of choice is what is left when the ability to think seriously about what is choiceworthy is lost. The rhetoric of extinction makes it seem as if we will no longer have to make choices based on scarcity of time or resources; it casts out faith and reason alike as grounds for universal norms that might direct choice; and it can hardly adduce tradition or human nature as compelling guides in the remanufactured world it imagines. When natural constraints are increasingly non-existent and moral constraints are entirely up to the individual, what can liberty be but choice for the sake of choice, or mere willfulness?

Also from the journal, whose unfortunate acronym is the combination "TNA": Mark Halpern on Turing Machines

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