Superhumans: Superlanguage?


Presentation Description

0. Introduction 1. The emancipation of the problem from the legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger 2. The origin of the super-humans from the humans as a prognostic direction 3. A prognosis for the frontier of the super-humans 4. The language of infinity in the reference frame of contemporary cognition 5. Conclusions


Presentation Transcript

Super-humans: :

Super-humans: Super-language?

Vasil Penchev :

Vasil Penchev Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge Craiova, 4-9 July, 2014 “The Human Being: Its Nature and Functions ” (ISUD 2014 - 10th World Congress)

The draft of the paper presented here is available in Internet, e.g. at::

The draft of the paper presented here is available in Internet , e.g. at :


Contents: 0. Introduction 1 . The emancipation of the problem from the legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger 2. The origin of the super-humans from the humans as a prognostic direction 3. A prognosis for the frontier of the super-humans 4. The language of infinity in the reference frame of contemporary cognition 5. Conclusions

Who will succeed to mankind?:

Who will succeed to mankind? The eventual biological successor of mankind: a scientific rather than ideological problem The necessary emancipation from: The philosophical legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger Е specially from the horrible doctrine and practice of Nazism From any relation to racism or eugenics

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An extrapolation of humans’ innovations::

An extrapolation of humans’ innovations: Approaches to that scientific problem T he study of the origin of humans as eventual super-humans’ predecessors: T he enumeration and extrapolation of those evolutionary innovations, which have allowed of our species to blossom

The global features of mankind::

The global features of mankind: A few global systems featuring the contemporary humans: Society Technics Mind Language Why is the language that frontier, in which any successful future biological advantages should project in order to specify “super-humans ”?

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Mind Technics Society Language

From language to “super-language”:

From language to “super-language” The supposed “super-language of the super-humans” addresses infinity as beyond our finite language designating also mainly finite objects. The outlines of the “super-language” in contemporary knowledge: The concept of “phenomenon” in Husserl’s phenomenology The semantic and philosophical theory of symbol The notion of infinity in mathematics and its foundation The coincidence of the quantum model and reality in quantum mechanics and information

1. The emancipation of the problem about the future super-humans from the legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger: :

1. The emancipation of the problem about the future super-humans from the legacy of Nietzsche and Heidegger: “ Super-humans” is usually to be linked to: Nietzsche Or to Heidegger’s criticism to Nietzsche Or even to the ideology of Nazism Instead of all that: “Which would that biological species, which will originate from humans eventually in the course of evolution, be?” should be a scientific problem

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Friedrich Nietzsche


Nietzsche “ Übermensh ” ( overman or superhuman) can be found in Nietzsche in a fragment from 1882 –1883 Already Also sprach Zarathustra (1883 –1891) introduced the term in a plurality of uses: The human being as the link (“a rope over an abyss”) between the animal and the superhuman or as “the middle of the pathway” between them The human being is the “bridge” or what must be overcome on the “road” to the superhuman

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Friedrich Nietzsche Edvard Munch’s painting


Nietzsche The images of “God’s death” and the “superhuman” were connected and they followed chronologically: The empty place of the “dead God” was occupied by the “superhuman ” In the autobiographical reflection Esse homo , Nietzsche wrote : “Notion of ‘superhuman’” as “highest reality”, “infinitely far under” which the human beings and their world


Heidegger “ Übermensch ” as “ Obermensch ” in Heidegger’s monograph “ Nietzsche” : “ Über ” in the “ Übermensch ” as Nietzsche’s relation to mankind as a whole: This relation is metaphysical and nihilistic according to Heidegger: “ The absolute subjectivity of the will to power is the source of the essential necessity of the superhuman.”


Heidegger Thus Heidegger discussed term “superhuman” in an abstract and philosophical way: The “over-man” should be properly interpreted perhaps as an “among-man” who “at last thinks” in a properly philosophical way while mankind “do not yet think” according to Heidegger

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Barry Bruner’s Illustration

The shadow of Nazism::

The shadow of Nazism: There are publications equating the Nazi doctrine about racial superiority and Nietzsche’s concept about super-humans, e.g.: “Nietzsche and Nazism had declared an all-out war against these avowed enemies of the superman whose rule would be a spiritual, radically aristocratic age aimed at producing a collective evaluation and self-overcoming humankind towards greatness and perfection on earth, towards the creation of God-Man. “

Instead of all that::

Instead of all that: T he problem about the biological specie, the successor of the contemporary humans: As a scientific question Only then as a philosophical question It is neither: An ideological question N or a speculative one Nor a metaphysical one Nor a only philosophical problem

The problem, the future, and the contemporary knowledge:

The problem, the future, and the contemporary knowledge It refers to some distant and undetermined future being hypothetical The outlines of any possible answer can be hardly guessed However , they might be specified on the base of the contemporary knowledge and tendencies of cognition:

2. The origin of the super-humans from the humans as a prognostic direction :

2. The origin of the super-humans from the humans as a prognostic direction The innovations in human evolution: Bipedalism Cooling by persistence Specific hair or its lack Omnivorousness Thumb opposition and apposition Vocal system of speech production Human brain Long childhood

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A possible example about the extrapolation of human evolution

Mankind is young:

Mankind is young O ur species is evolutionarily young (about 200000 years old ) However it is the last survived descendant being genetically exceptionally homogenous (< 0,1% genetic differences ), of the genus “homo” (about 6 000 000 old ) The genus “homo” in turn originated from Homonidae between about 20 000 000 and 6 000 000 years ago

The global systems:

The global systems There are a few main specific features of our population: Society Technics Language M ind They are what guarantees the contemporary absolute domination of mankind

Technics vs. evolutionary innovations:

Technics vs. evolutionary innovations Almost all of those evolutionary innovations featuring the contemporary humans can be substituted by corresponding technical devices However , some of them, such as the brain and long childhood, are yet irreproducible by technics Others refer to the species only as a whole but not as a collection of individuals

Technics vs. evolutionary innovations  :

Technics vs. evolutionary innovations 

Technics vs. super-humans:

Technics vs. super-humans Anyway human evolution can offer some ground about the prognosis of those innovations, which could enisle super-humans : An evolutionary innovation, which can be reproduced by human technics, does not make any sense and accordingly it cannot become established Even more, genetic engineering is gradually entering the evolution and also the human one in particular The development of technics is much, much faster (and more dangerous) than that of natural evolution of mankind

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Matthew Barney CREMASTER 3

Human evolution vs. technics:

Human evolution vs. technics Thus, human evolution can survive only out of any competition with technics Those areas, in which the technics has not yet entered, are : Human brain Long childhood Jump-like mutations, which would allow of inhabiting some radically new environment such as space, et cetera However , none of them seems to be probable and even possible as that area, in which one can expect any breakthrough

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and The tortoise as evolution Achilles as technics

3. A prognosis for the frontier of the super-humans :

3. A prognosis for the frontier of the super-humans Another approach is not less possible therefor: The main systems featuring mankind can be investigated in order to find out those apt to intensive development: Society Technics Mind Language Which of them are most relevant for that, might be the next frontier for super-human evolution

Society, technics, mind vs. language:

Society, technics, mind vs. language The global society has already reached a natural limitation of the earth The technics depends on how much energy is produced and thus being limited The mind is restricted by its carrier, i.e. by the brain Thus, only the language seems to be the frontier of any future development inducing a much better use of the former three The recent informational technologies suggest the same

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Mind Technics Society Language Extensive factors reached natural limits The intensive factor of human development:

Language creates human mind::

Language creates human mind: The “ability to perceive the minds of others” plays the crucial role : “... the human mind itself, and not just its fruits or results, would have originated in the perception of the minds of others ” Thus, language can be interpreted as that medium, in which human mind, society, and technics can interact

Language and reality:

Language and reality Language can be defined as symbolic image of the world: Language doubles the world by a second, ideal or virtual world This is very fruitful for creativity and for any modeling of the real world Consequently , a gap between the material and the ideal world produces language The language increases that gap in turn

Reality and ontology in depending on choice:

Reality and ontology in depending on choice Reality Choice? Yes! No! as the totality = ontology including reality Language Language

Language, order, being, and time:

Language, order, being, and time Furthermore, the ideal and material world are “twins”: Language serves for the world to be ordered Thus language refers to the philosophical categories of ‘being’ and ‘time ’ Any “super-language” should transcend some of those definitive borders of language and be its generalization in a sense

Time and Language:

Time and Language Language as ontology Measurement Interpretation Understanding Reality TIME Future present past


Infinity The involving of infinity can extend the language Any human language is finite and addresses some finite reality Thus , the gap between reality and any model in language can be seen as that between infinity and any finite representation of it : Finite representations dominate over society, technics, and the mind use

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Infinity from the language:

Infinity from the language Even more, language seems to be only possible access to infinity at least as to mankind Indeed language can be considered as that semiotic system designated to denote anything doubling it by its name: The language is what produces an image from the world into itself definitively That object, which has become a word, is much more easily to be manipulated mentally

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Who has ever understood the Word of God ? Many will say some. Then which is the one from the infinity of Words of Pure Universal Language? Sorin Cerin Who has ever understood the Word of God ? Many will say some. Then which is the one from the infinity of Words of Pure Universal Language?

Infinity as a purely mental object:

Infinity as a purely mental object However, one can suggest a special kind of objects such as infinity: Those objects can be indicated or transformed only mentally: As to them, the three primary semiotic elements (sign, signified, signifier) should be reduced to two ones therefor excluding redundancy and conventionality of natural language:

Hilbert space and infinity:

Hilbert space and infinity 1 2     A point in Hilbert space (a wave function) A transfinite ordinal number One-to-one     2 1 ... ...

Infinity and semiotics:

Infinity and semiotics For example, any infinite collection unlike any finite one cannot be enumerated by its members: It can be denoted only by its signifier and sign while the corresponding signified can be only mentally complemented in an unambiguous way In a sense, one can state that infinite collections or the true infinity are accessible only by the mediation of language as a semiotic system

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(and thus “choices” and information) Super-language “Things” “Numbers” “Words” (and thus “choices” & information)

Language and super-language:

Language and super-language Furthermore: Matter and energy as the physical fundament of the world can be considered as some finite measure or quantity of infinite information Super-language is also definable as that generalization of language identifiable with reality Therefore, super-language would supply another access to reality

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Hilbert space: A general mathematical structure underlying the world The world as language for linguistic The world as the universe for physics Ontology

4. The language of infinity in the reference frame of contemporary cognition :

4. The language of infinity in the reference frame of contemporary cognition A “super-language” as an “infinite language” can be approached in a few reference frames: One of them is Husserl’s motto “Back to the things themselves!” if the “phenomenon” in his philosophy can be thought as the ‘word’ of the language of consciousness Husserl’s famous words from “Logical investigations” are: “We want to return to the things themselves ” Its context elucidates that the logical abstraction should be within the “thing itself”

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Edmund Husserl


Husserl One can say that the things themselves can be obtained by Husserl’s “eidetic reduction ” Their meaning should be varied in a free plurality of uses This should restore the obviousness of the contemplated thing in a logical way as itself and by itself “ The appeal to the things and facts themselves” should be the base of the “universal science of absolute foundation” as what he considered that philosophy, which would be a “rigorous science ”

From Husserl to Cassirer:

From Husserl to Cassirer The words of that “super-language” can be seen in the above terms of Husserl as the unity of abstraction and reality That unity represents an exact choice among an infinite set of alternatives Cassirer’s concept of symbol can serve as the link between Husserl’s phenomenon and symbol as the latter occurs in human experience

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Husserl Cassirer Heidegger

Cassirer’s symbol:

Cassirer’s symbol The meaning unambiguously correlative to some objects originates from the human ability of symbolizing them : “ Cassirer regards the ability to symbolize as the distinguishing feature of human thought and considers all [the] knowing as symbolic” Symbol is the only form of thought, in which it can occur It is the essential link which manages to unify a plurality of fundamental physical oppositions

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Philosophie der symbolishen Formen

More about the symbol in Cassirer:

More about the symbol in Cassirer Indeed the extension is an “ incomplete symbol ”: It can “gain its sense by the relation to an intension ” “ A symbol denotes” “by virtue of these intellectual and symbolic underlying acts ” “ the previously far distant and seemingly disconnected as a whole ” This processes leads to infinitesimal analysis studying infinity by scientific methods

The philosophical theory of symbol:

The philosophical theory of symbol The “super-language” can be thought as that generalization of language, which develops a series of words for infinity to be denoted by a complete system of relevant symbols The contemporary semantic and philosophical theory of symbol: from consciousness and language to reality, would be included in it as that part, which is devoted to finite symbols

“Things themselves” and “symbols”:

“Things themselves” and “symbols” What both unifies and divides Husserl’s “things themselves” and Cassirer’s “symbols” is the choice of a link between some plurality of individuals and its finite designation correspondingly either necessary or conventional, but necessary as the form of thought Leaping into the super-language supposedly indicating those infinite pluralities each of them separately, one can use only the choice, which cannot be yet conventional, and the name in order to denote one single infinite item separately

“Super-thought” and ... Heidegger:

“Super-thought” and ... Heidegger For example, what is “super-thought” can be the name being linked to some observed object in reality by the form of that “necessary choice” among the infinite number of items in reality : Just one seen thing starts as if lighting to indicate its only relevance to what the observer is thinking at this moment Consequently , that “super-language” would seem poetic according to a human One can find a hint to Heidegger’s philosophical consideration of poetry and poetic thought in the context of his thesis that “we do not yet think”:

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“We are still not thinking”

Husserl’s phenomenon:

Husserl’s phenomenon The concept of ‘phenomenon’ in Husserl as: The unity of a concrete experience or insight of correlative “ Noema ” and “ Noesis ” The words of that “super-language ” as: The unity of abstraction and reality representing an exact choice among an infinite set of alternatives

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“Pure phenomenology claims to be the science of pure phenomena”


Cassirer Cassirer’s concept of symbol links: Husserl’s phenomenon with The symbol as the latter occurs in human experience The meaning originates from the human ability of symbolizing them: “ Cassirer regards the ability to symbolize as the distinguishing feature of human thought and considers all [the] knowing as symbolic ”

Heidegger’s Hölderlin :

Heidegger’s Hölderlin One can find a hint to Heidegger’s philosophical consideration of poetry and poetic thought in the context of his thesis that “we do not yet think ”: “ Hölderlin says therefore of poetic living not the same as our thinking ” “ Writing poetry and thinking meet each other in one and the same only then and insofar they have decided to remain in the difference of their essence ”

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Friedrich Hölderlin


Cantor The concept of infinity in mathematics supplies another reference frame for the human cognition of infinity George Cantor was who created the foundation of set theory and introduced infinite sets as a basic subject for it He clearly understood actual infinity as the philosophical generalization of his work

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I realize that in this undertaking I place myself in a certain opposition to views widely held concerning the mathematical infinity and to opinions frequently defended on the nature of numbers


Cantor Georg Cantor generated an absolute new area of scientific investigation: Transfinite numbers represent the infinite generalization of arithmetic He defined cardinal and ordinal numbers as well as their calculus However , the unlimited use of ‘set’ allowed a series of antinomies

From Zermelo to Skolem:

From Zermelo to Skolem Ernst Zermelo put the foundations of the contemporary axiomatic set theory avoiding the known paradoxes He introduced a version of the axiom of choice to prove the well-ordering theorem By utilizing the axiom of choice, Thoralf Skolem demonstrated the “relativity of the concept of ‘set’” and thus even the relativity of infinity at all : Any infinity can be enumerated by the positive integers and even equated to any finite set


Gödel Kurt Gödel published two fundamental papers concerning the cognition of infinity by mathematical means: Finiteness under the condition of his theorems does not generate any statements, which can be simultaneously true and false in a strict logical sense, while infinity can generate those statements Infinity unlike finiteness turns out to be “incomplete” under a rigorous mathematical definition of the term “incompleteness” as to the axiomatic base of any theory


Einstein Einstein, a close friend of Gödel as refuges in Princeton, reckoned quantum mechanics, another fundamental physical theory, to be “incomplete”, too In order to demonstrate that alleged incompleteness, entanglement was theoretically forecast by him, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen and independently by Ervin Schrödinger , in 1935 An experimentally verifiable criterion in order to distinguish classical from quantum correlation (entanglement) was deduced by John Bell in 1964

Quantum information:

Quantum information The existence of quantum correlations exceeding the upper limit of the possible classical correlations was confirmed , experimentally The theory of quantum information has thrived since the end of the last century in the areas of: Quantum computer Quantum communication Quantum cryptography

The “hidden variables” in quantum mechanics:

The “hidden variables” in quantum mechanics The theorems about the absence of hidden variables in quantum mechanics , demonstrate: The mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics implies that no well-ordering of any coherent state might exist before measurement However that coherent unorderable coherent state before measurement is equivalent to the corresponding well-ordered state after measurement

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Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?

Information and choice:

Information and choice Information can be discussed as an order reached by a series of successive choices: The quantity of information is the minimal amount of elementary choices necessary for this order to be created The unit of the quantity of information is an elementary choice: An elementary choice is defined as the choice between two alternatives with an equal probability : This is one bit of information

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0 1 0 1 One bit ( a finite choice ) One qubit ( an infinite choice )   Choice Well-ordering

Information and infinity:

Information and infinity However, that concept of information is not applicable to infinite series or sets immediately The infinite sets are the interesting area in set theory The notion of quantum information involved by quantum mechanics can be considered as a relevant generalization as to infinity The unit of quantum information, one quantum bit, is a generalization of bit as a choice among a continuum of alternatives

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The quantity of information illustrated as the length of a Turing tape About finite sets About in finite sets Bits 1 st 2 nd n th ∞+ 1 st ∞+ 2 nd ∞+ n th Bits ∞ th n th 2 nd 1 st Q u bits ↔

Hilbert space:

Hilbert space Quantum information is definable in Hilbert space It can be introduced as a generalization of the positive integers: Any positive integer is replaced by a corresponding cell of a quantum bit Even more, Hilbert space unifies arithmetic and geometry: Indeed Hilbert space is also the infinitely or arbitrarily dimensional generalization of the usual, three-dimensional space of geometry

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Infinity Hilbert space Arithmetic Geometry Positive integers Spatial figures

Ordinal numbers for quantum systems:

Ordinal numbers for quantum systems The quantity of quantum information is the ordinal corresponding to the infinity series Both definitions of ordinal ; are applicable as the ordinals are small: The ordinal defined in Cantor – Russell generates a statistical ensemble while that in Neumann, a well-ordering Both correspond one-to-one to a coherent state as the one and same quantity of quantum information containing in it

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Infinity Much Many The axiom of choice Well-ordering The well- ordering theorem One well- ordering (in Neumann) One set of well-orderings (in Cantor- Russell)

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Infinity Much Many One well- ordering (in Neumann) One set of well-orderings (in Cantor- Russell) Space- time Hilbert space Statistical ensembles Coherent states

Either “much” or “many”?:

Either “much” or “many”? “Hume’s principle” can be relevantly and rather heuristically generalized, too : In the quantum analog of the principle: The “numbers” should be interpreted as some “many” and the “things” as some “much ” So, the sense of “Hume’s principle” is to postulate the numbers as the equivalence “things” and their number

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Much Many Infinity Arithmetic Geometry Hilbert space

Both “much” and “many”:

Both “much” and “many” Indeed abstraction and thus any sign can be interpreted as a set of tautologies: Each name designates a set as a whole , i.e . as a “much ” Its collection of elements designates as a “many” consisting of separated individuals That quantum principle of Hume is quite meaningful and exceptionally well interpretable in terms of quantum mechanics and the theory of quantum information

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Much Many Infinity Arithmetic Geometry Hilbert space A “Janus” with two “faces”

5. Conclusions :

5. Conclusions Mankind has approached the idea of infinite language as the language of nature Whether that “super-language” will arise for the relevant innovations in the human culture or it would need some corresponding evolutionary perfection is a question, the answer of which is not forthcoming However, the problem can be put

Furthermore, it can be even generalized in a few ways: :

Furthermore, it can be even generalized in a few ways: What is the correspondence between the fundamental innovations in human culture and the essential evolutionary perfections apt to generate a new species? Are there those perfections, which cannot be reached for culture development? Can human progress be discussed in terms of an eventual or virtual competition with a biological rival or a potential successor?


References: You can see the references (which are too many to be here displayed) in the original paper, e.g. at:

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