Transhuman is a term that refers to an evolutionary transition from the human to the Posthuman.
Questioning the parameters of being human and its relationship with nature have been of philosophical interest before and since Socrates. Questioning the future of the human brings to light moral, religious and philosophical belief systems and, especially, ethical concerns regarding tampering with human nature and what is considered by many, especially in Western culture, to be natural.
The etymology of the term “transhuman” goes back to futurist FM-2030 (born Fereidoun M. Esfandiary) who, while teaching new concepts of the human at The New School university in 1966, introduced it as shorthand for “transitory human.” Calling transhumans the “earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings,” FM argued that signs of transhumans included physical and mental augmentations including prostheses, reconstructive surgery, intensive use of telecommunications, a cosmopolitan outlook and a globetrotting lifestyle, androgyny, mediated reproduction (such as in vitro fertilization), absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values.
The concept of transhuman, as an evolutionary transition, was first expressed by FM-2030 outside the confines of academia in his contributing final chapter to the 1972 anthology Woman, Year 2000. In the same year, Robert Ettinger contributed to conceptualization of “transhumanity” in his book Man into Superman. In 1982, Natasha Vita-More authored the Transhuman Manifesto 1982: Transhumanist Arts Statement and outlined what she perceived as an emerging transhuman culture.
However, many thinkers today do not consider FM-2030’s characteristics to be essential attributes of a transhuman. In particular, Humanity+‘s (formerly the World Transhumanist Association) Transhumanist FAQ notes that it is not clear why someone who has undergone plastic surgery or lives as a nomad should be has made any more progress than the rest of us towards becoming a posthuman. Despite this, analyzing the possible transitional nature of the human species has been and continues to be of primary interest to anthropologists and philosophers within and outside the intellectual movement of Transhumanism.
The term"transhuman” should not be confused with"transhumanist.” A transhumanist is simply someone who advocates the use of human enhancement technologies and the chance to reach beyond human limits, whereas a transhuman would be an individual who has actually started to advance beyond those limits.