Transcending Humanity: Nietzsche’s Notion of the Overman and Transhumanism Ethos

Ugwunnadi Charles Chukwudi


This paper examines Nietzsche’s concept of the overman (Übermensch) and its implications for transhumanism ethos. Nietzsche’s overman is characterized by self-overcoming. For Nietzsche, humanity is something that must be overcome and transcended. Nietzsche’s call for self-overcoming and transcending humanity’s limitations, finds resonance in transhumanist ethos and aspirations, which seeks to enhance human abilities through bio-technology. However, a critical examination of Nietzsche’s concept of the overman uncovers some contradictions between his views and transhumanism ethos and aspirations. Central to his thought is the principle of ‘Amor Fati’ (love of fate), emphasizing the embrace of life’s challenges and suffering. This contrast with transhumanist inclination to eradicate suffering through technological advancement. His idea that struggle and suffering improves strength is contrary to transhumanist’s goal of eliminating suffering and obstacles through technology. This paper argues that while Nietzshie’s concept of the overman bears some resemblance to transhumanist ideals, his philosophy underpinned by ‘Amor Fati’ and embracing suffering and overcoming obstacles for growth, would likely not advocate for the total adoption of technological means to overcome humanity. The paper adopts qualitative method and philosophical analysis. Comparing Nietzsche’s notion of the overman and the aspirations of transhumanism uncovers certain level of relationship in their shared ideals of transcending human limitations and fundamentally different philosophical foundations.

Keywords: Humanity, Overman, Transhumanism, Ethos.

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/14-3-06

Publication date: April 30th 2024

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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