Democratic transhumanism

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Democratic transhumanism, a term coined by Dr. James Hughes in 2002, refers to the stance of transhumanists (advocates for the development and use of human enhancement technologies) who espouse liberal, social and/or radical democratic political views.[1][2][3][4]

According to Hughes, the ideology "stems from the assertion that human beings will generally be happier when they take rational control of the natural and social forces that control their lives."[2] The ethical foundation of democratic transhumanism rests upon rule utilitarianism and non-anthropocentric personhood theory.[5]

While raising objections both to right-wing and left-wing bioconservatism, and libertarian transhumanism, Hughes aims to encourage democratic transhumanists and their potential progressive allies to unite as a new social movement and influence biopolitical public policy.[2][4]

An attempt to expand the middle ground between technorealism and techno-utopianism, democratic transhumanism can be seen as a radical form of techno-progressivism.[6]

Appearing several times in Hughes' work, the term "radical" (from Latin rādīx, rādīc-, root) is used as an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the root or going to the root. His central thesis is that emerging technologies and radical democracy can help citizens overcome some of the root causes of inequalities of power.[2]


Hughes has identified 15 "left futurist" or "left techno-utopian" trends and projects that could be incorporated into democratic transhumanism:[1]

List of democratic transhumanists[edit]

This section contains an alphabetically ordered list of notable individuals who have identified themselves or been identified by Hughes as advocates of democratic transhumanism:[7]


Science journalist Ronald Bailey wrote a review of Citizen Cyborg in his online column for Reason magazine in which he offered a critique of democratic transhumanism and a defense of libertarian transhumanism.[8][9]

Critical theorist Dale Carrico defended democratic transhumanism from Bailey's criticism.[10] However, he would later criticize democratic transhumanism himself on technoprogressive grounds.[11]


  1. ^ a b Hughes, James (2001). "Politics of Transhumanism". Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hughes, James (2002). "Democratic Transhumanism 2.0". Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  3. ^ Hughes, James (2003). "Better Health through Democratic Transhumanism". Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  4. ^ a b Hughes, James (2004). Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-4198-1. 
  5. ^ Hughes, James (1996). "Embracing Change with All Four Arms: A Post-Humanist Defense of Genetic Engineering". Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  6. ^ Carrico, Dale (2005). "Listen, Transhumanist!". Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  7. ^ "Cyborg Democracy". 
  8. ^ Bailey, Ronald (2005). "Trans-Human Expressway: Why libertarians will win the future". Retrieved 2006-02-05. 
  9. ^ Bailey, Ronald (2009). "Transhumanism and the Limits of Democracy". Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  10. ^ Carrico, Dale (2005). "Bailey on the CybDemite Menace". Retrieved 2006-02-05. 
  11. ^ Carrico, Dale (2009). "James Hughes Flogs for the Robot Cult". Retrieved 2010-03-27. 

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