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Posthumanism: Is There a Theophany in the Computer? KURZWEIL and the Eternal Return of the Sacred (2012-2013)

Field of study: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Posthumanism, a broad trend between biology and technology, aims at redefining what human beings will become in a not so distant future. It therefore raises multiple, and still rarely investigated questions for philosophers and social scientists. My paper, following the general methodology of Max Weber in his study on capitalism and Protestant ethic, is devoted to several potential links between religious philosophical legacies and contemporary research in computer sciences related to post-humanism. Contrary to existing similar publications, I did not choose “Eastern” spiritual movements or small Western sects, but one of the major monotheist faiths. In posthumanism, I mainly focus on one specific figure, namely Ray Kurzweil. The study involves a comparison between several components of Jewish philosophy and their counterparts in posthuman literature,
especially as regards immortality, history, philosophy of history, and the prophetic figure. I also try to show how not only the elements, but their subtle and complex layout, may help to explain the tremendous success of Ray Kurzweil.
This could also prove that posthumanism might be indeed considered, not an overcoming of human nature, but a contemporary, computer-based, quest for what has been since the beginning of time basic questions of humanity.

Keywords: Posthumanism, Kurzweil, philosophy of history, computer, Judaism

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