Dialectics of the Biosocial

Addressing Ontological Dualism and ‘Contemplating’ Transhumanism



‘Transhumanism’ is the name that has been adopted by a cultural and philosophical movement, a broad coalition of those concerned with the question of enhancing humanity through emergent and innovative bio- and information technologies. As such, it would appear to have little in common with the political programme of Marxism, not least because of a generally uncritical approach to the commodification of human biomaterial that is generally deemed integral to this grand project. The question posed in this paper is whether it is possible to look beyond the contradictory impulses that underpin the contemporary manifestations of transhumanism, and engage with a key theme of the transhumanist movement, that of accelerating the evolutionary development of humanity for the benefit of all? The paper addresses the difficult question of what is human nature, or the nature of being human. And, whether this ‘nature’ is purely a phenotypic quality shared with all biological life, and as such open to biological modification and transformation? Or does human nature constitute a quite different and unique set of attributes, what Marx identifies as ‘species being’, characterised by a very different understanding of transformation, that of productive activity or praxis?