# Three arguments why post- and transhumanism need to be viewed from a long-term historical perspective: a commentary on issue no. 2 (On_Education)

Hof, Barbara (2018). Three arguments why post- and transhumanism need to be viewed from a long-term historical perspective: a commentary on issue no. 2 (On_Education). On Education, (2):online.

## Abstract

This reply to the second issue of On Education asks whether the current debate on post- and transhumanism does not merely reflect and repeat cultural patterns of the human-machine relationship. My question is based on the observation that frequently, in the context of technology-related trends or crises, little attention is paid to possible precursors. This observation also applies to post- and transhumanism when they are perceived as ideas that foster or respond to innovations, if not radical upheavals. However, todays accelerated technological change, based on advancements in artificial intelligence, neural networks, machine learning and increasing computing power, should be understood in the context of permanent, albeit sometimes abrupt, transformations that constantly pose new challenges. I therefore contend that the debate on post- and transhumanism should take greater account of historical perspectives. The ahistorical mode of presentism, an epistemological position associated with the risk that phenomena are viewed only in the light of current experience, is of limited help in estimating the relevance of these two concepts.1 Three examples will illustrate why post- and transhumanism need to be seen historically and in the context of cultural development.

## Abstract

This reply to the second issue of On Education asks whether the current debate on post- and transhumanism does not merely reflect and repeat cultural patterns of the human-machine relationship. My question is based on the observation that frequently, in the context of technology-related trends or crises, little attention is paid to possible precursors. This observation also applies to post- and transhumanism when they are perceived as ideas that foster or respond to innovations, if not radical upheavals. However, todays accelerated technological change, based on advancements in artificial intelligence, neural networks, machine learning and increasing computing power, should be understood in the context of permanent, albeit sometimes abrupt, transformations that constantly pose new challenges. I therefore contend that the debate on post- and transhumanism should take greater account of historical perspectives. The ahistorical mode of presentism, an epistemological position associated with the risk that phenomena are viewed only in the light of current experience, is of limited help in estimating the relevance of these two concepts.1 Three examples will illustrate why post- and transhumanism need to be seen historically and in the context of cultural development.

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