The Case of Transhumanism: The Possibility of Application of Nietzsche’s Ethics and Critique of Morality Today

  • Miloš Agatonović Independent Researcher, PhD
Keywords: Nietzsche, Übermensch, will to power, enhancement, transhumanism, liberal eugenics


Transhumanism, the movement that promotes radical enhancement by non-traditional means based in scientific and technological advances, has contributed to contemporary interest in Nietzsche’s philosophy. In this paper, we are going to claim that transhumanists’ references to Nietzsche’s philosophy are unfounded. Moreover, we will make a few remarks about Nietzsche’s ethical doctrine in order to show that his conception of enhancement, contrary to transhumanist conceptions, relies on traditional means, such as upbringing and education. Although Nietzsche’s positive ethical doctrines cannot be used to justify transhumanist goals, his critique of morality can be used as a critique of the transhumanist conceptions of human enhancement.


Agar, Nicolas (2004), Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement, Oxford: Blackwell.
Bostrom, Nick (2005a), “A History of Transhumanist Thought,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1): 1–25.
– (2005b), “Transhumanist Values,” in: F. Adams (ed.), Ethical Issues for the 21st Century, Charlottesville: Philosophy Documentation Center, pp. 3–14.
Dobrijević, Aleksandar (2009), “Pohvala autodidaktici: Niče kao teoretičar rigoroznog samoobrazovanja,” in Theoria 52 (2).
Loeb, Paul S. (2012), “Nietzsche’s Transhumanism,” The Agonist 4 (2).
More, Max (1990), “Transhumanism: Towards a futurist philosophy,” Extropy (6): 6–13.
Nietzsche, Friedrich (2005), The Antichrist, translated by J. Norman, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– (2005), Ecce Homo, translated by J. Norman, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– (2006), On the Genealogy of Morality, translated by C. Diethe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– (2006), Thus Spoke Zarathustra, translated by A. Del Caro, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– (2005), Twilight of the Idols, translated by J. Norman, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
– (1997), Untimely Meditations, translated by R. J. Hollingdale, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Savulescu, Julian and Ingmar Persson (2010), “Moral Transhumanism,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (6): 656–669
Savulescu, Julian (2007), “Genetic Interventions and Ethics of Enhancement of Human Beings,” in: B. Steinbock (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 516–535.
Sorgner, Stefan Lorenz (2009), “Nietzsche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 20 (1): 29–42.