Zaida Espinosa Zárate, ¿Es el lenguaje tecnología? Análisis de un argumento transhumanista

Abstract · Is Language Technology? Analysis of a Transhumanist Argument ·

One of the arguments on which the transhumanist project relies is based on a consideration of the technical nature of humans, particularly, on the idea that what human beings are is a pure result of the techniques they have: «They do not exist but through the devices they have and that they can control to a certain extent» (Hottois, 2015, p. 183). On this basis, it is stated that the legitimacy of the use of human enhancement technologies is the same as that of other devices used in the evolutionary process, so that the division between two qualitatively different enhancement methods –natural or intrinsic, and artificial and extrinsic– is untenable. We analyze the argument, which is based on the assumption, that we will question, that language is a tool just as other devices: «There are good reasons to consider […] language itself as technology» (Meacham, 2017, p. 2; Clark, 2003). We look into the transhumanist idea of language as a tool that has been shaped in the evolutionary process for adaptation purposes, and of its identification with other tools: just as we consider that language – that has merged with ourselves, resulting in physical and cognitive changes – is not alien to the human condition, the same can be said of our enhancement technologies: all of them share the same technical nature and provide ways of accessing the real that affect our knowledge of it. We conclude that the term ‘tool’ is used in a very broad sense when applied to language. This is so not just because language cannot be explained based solely on experience – since this fails to explain its genetic factor –, but also because this idea results in a technification of human experience: what thinking would mean at each time – and, consequently, what we would know – would be totally determined by the tools we had, so that there would not be any transcendence of thought over these. We conclude that this results in an impoverished conception of knowledge.

Keywords · Transhumanism, Language, Technology, Technique.