Re: Final draft of my philosophical platform now on line

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Aug 15 2004 - 10:48:59 MDT

At 08:18 PM 15/08/04 +1200, Marc Geddes wrote:


>"But the framework is in my opinion tightly
>interconnected, forming a dazzling self-consistent
>whole. I do not believe that parts of it can be
>chopped and changed arbitrarily without serious
>contradictions. For instance I do not think that
>Transhumanism can be separated from Libertarianism or
>visa versa. Both provide the natural logical support
>for the other."


My sympathies are with you, but I don't think you can make a logical
connection between Transhumanism and Libertarianism.

Transhumanism is a view of a future with lots of technologically derived
changes in it, up to and including fundamental changes in humans. It is
rooted in reasonable extrapolations of technical progress. I was at least
an observer as the aspects of the transhumanism view of our future developed.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy about proper/ideal relation of
humans to each other. Heinlein was the biggest political/philosophical
influence in my formative years so you have to rate me as at least as a
lower case libertarian.

Unfortunately, libertarianism, especially "Libertarianism" is rooted in
air--as are all political philosophies. Infection with the Libertarianism
meme set too often results in uncompromising people with very poor
political skills. The only people worse off are the
Objectivists/Randroids. I think I know why if you are interested.

I remember years and years ago hearing an Objectivist rant that if offered
such a choice, a person should choose to save their life over that of the
rest of humanity. It felt really wrong but it was a number of years before
I understood Hamilton's inclusive fitness and was able to say *why* it felt

The most accepted transhumanist meme set includes evolutionary
psychology. If someone wants a political philosophy to go along with
transhumanism, they really should think about basing it on EP at least up
to the point we abandon human mental configuration.

Memetics is really rooted in EP and transhumans tend to be up on memetics
as well. You might be amused that the "meme about memes" set off a major
allergic reaction among Libertarians back in the 80s.

If you want the story, it is in a dozen postings on the memetics list. If
there is interest I could condense it and post it here as a bit of
historical trivia.

 From your next post down

>The one thing that's likely to trip up Sing Inst is
>their over emphasis on 'altruism'. Most of the people
>who run around being 'altruistic' get a knife in the
>back for their troubles. Altruism is gonna be Eli's
>down-fall if he's not careful. Because the Sing Int
>guys are so benign I think they tend to make the
>mistake of thinking that other people are more benign
>than they actually are.

I hope Eliezer has enough insight into both his own motivations and those
of other people to keep him and the Institute out of trouble. If you have
not read _Evolution of Cooperation_ by Robert Axelrod, you should.

Keith Henson

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:48 MDT