1000 word expanded definition

New York City Technical College Department of Business

TO: Prof. Ellis

FROM: [ Shemei John]

DATE: 9/29/2021

SUBJECT: Expanded Definition Term: [Transhumanism]


The intent of this memo is to introduce and inform technological Terminology we may or may not be fully familiar with. Terms such as “Networks”, “the internet of things”, “information technology”, “information sciences”, “data”, “transhumanism”, “hive-mind concept” and “Artificial Intelligence”. After careful consideration, I decided to research the term “Transhumanism”. Although, according to its popularity, the term isn’t mentioned a lot in today’s topics regarding technology, I do find it to be fascinating since it deals with the ideology that Mankind will transcend our current limitations through the use of technology. There are several sources I am considering for this topic to convey the definitions. So, I am going to include the definition of the word and its origins, throughout its history, from the Oxford etymology, and also from an excerpt taken from the books, “New bottles for new wine”, on Transhumanism, which discusses the ideology behind the term and its definition today.


The Oxford English dictionary’s definition of transhumanism (n), is a deviation of the English word, transhuman, with the prefix “trans” meaning beyond or across the farther side of. The term was first used by Julian Huxley in his book “New bottles for new wine (1957)” in which he said, “The human species can..transcend itself..in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.” [1] What Huxley is saying is, the belief in the will to surpass our current nature as humans is transhumanism. The term has surfaced occasionally in its etymology, being used again by Tom Bell, in his writings from “Extropy”, in which he says that the alternative to religion would be transhumanism. The term also has a definition more relevant the modernity of time.


Over the course of its history from when it was first coined to current times, the word transhumanism has variated into slight nuances. Huxley’s definition of transhumanism is the belief that humankind will transcend our nature, but he was speaking specifically about the beliefs. He believed that either synchronously, or not, humans will consciously give rise to this belief in order to evolve. Today the word has slightly a different definition which includes some addition to it. [2] The definition today is familiarly used in science fiction. So, the current definition of the 21st century would be that, transhumanism is the belief that one day humankind with transcend our current limitations, ultimately achieving immortality, by use of science and technology.

I checked in the Oxford dictionary of science-fiction for some comparison. The word transhuman references with two other words, “cyborg” and “posthuman”. The definition of a transhuman according to the science fiction definition, [3]“someone whose body or mind has been transformed (e.g. by cyborgization or genetic engineering) so greatly that they are no longer considered human, especially one who now possesses greater abilities than normal humans.”

The term is more relevant today since we marvel at our current level of technology. This definition is what most of us are familiar with. We put a lot of our faith in technology. It has embedded its way into our lives. As I stated earlier, trans, the prefix, means beyond or across the farther side of, however, the suffix ‘ism’, usually accompany a verb, and means or implied an action that was or is to be performed, or a state of being, (Like Buddhism or Plagiarism). This definition is on par with current events.

Professor M. Battle-Fisher, in his article, “Transhuman, posthuman and complex humanness in the 21st century”, defines Transhumanism as the philosophy that you are already posthuman once you remove the current limitations of the current human being, “…the present state of our bodies.” Any kind of capacity that can enhance our abilities beyond our current state of flesh is transhumanism. He also states in the article that the only way to do that on the horizon is through the use of technology.

[1] Julian Huxley, New Bottles for New wine (page 17), Harper and Brothers publishing, 1957

[2] C. Christopher Hook, Transhumanism and Posthumanism, Encyclopedia of Bioethics(Vol. 5. 3rd ed.) Page 2517, Gale Publishing, 2004

[3][Oxford reference] Jeff Prucher, The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, (Version 2007),

Oxford University Press, published 2006

[4] M. Battle-Fisher, Transhuman, posthuman and complex humanness in the 21st century, Science Direct, library.citytech.cuny.edu, 25 March 2019

[5]”Transhumanism,” in Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press, Oct 6, def. 1. [Online]. Available: https://www.oed.com

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