Stefan Lorenz Sorgner: Transhumanismus – ‘die
hrlichste Idee der Welt!?’
Verlag Herder GmbH, Freiburg in Breisgau, 2016, EUR 12.99
Published online: 30 June 2017
Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017
The title of Stefan Sorgner’s latest book alludes to Francis Fukuyama’s statement
that transhumanism is the most dangerous idea in the world. In his Foreign Policy
article a few years ago, Fukuyama, American historicist and bioethicist identiﬁed
transhumanism as the most dangerous concept in the modern world (2004).
Speciﬁcally, he referred to transhumanists as a strange liberation movement desiring
nothing less than to liberate the human race from its biological constraints.
Sorgner’s new book could be read as a kind of defence of transhumanism in the face
of such conservative prejudices, not just Fukuyama’s, but also those of many
conservative bioethicists worldwide. Critics of transhumanism typically share one
main common ground: they criticize transhumanism without fully understanding its
main point. In that sense, the question mark and exclamation point after Sorgner’s
book title already say to potential readers that the author clearly does not believe
any simple and unbiased answers exist when it comes to debating a topic as complex
as modern transhumanism.
In the book, Sorgner ﬁrst presents the main characteristics of transhumanistic
discourse. From his perspective, the cornerstone of modern transhumanism is the
concept of ‘technological self-exceeding’ (‘die technische Selbstu¨berwindung,’
p. 13) and ‘human self-enhancement’ (‘Selbst-Verbesserung des Menschen,’ p. 13).
After his introductory explanation of the main characteristics of transhumanism,
there follows a short discussion regarding the ‘map’ of various enhancement debates
that are strongly connected with recent transhumanistic discourse. The author does
not simply focus on how enlightened modern transhumanistic discourse has become
from the perspective of the tremendous scientiﬁc and technological developments of
recent times; he also provides profound theoretical and philosophical discussion of
the broad intellectual and historical background of modern transhumanism.
& Franc Mali
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Hum Stud (2017) 40:477–481