Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bioethics and Transhumanism

 2017 Jun 1;42(3):237-260. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhx001.

Bioethics and Transhumanism.

Author information

Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA.


Transhumanism is a "technoprogressive" socio-political and intellectual movement that advocates for the use of technology in order to transform the human organism radically, with the ultimate goal of becoming "posthuman." To this end, transhumanists focus on and encourage the use of new and emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering and brain-machine interfaces. In support of their vision for humanity, and as a way of reassuring those "bioconservatives" who may balk at the radical nature of that vision, transhumanists claim common ground with a number of esteemed thinkers and traditions, from the ancient philosophy of Plato and Aristotle to the postmodern philosophy of Nietzsche. It is crucially important to give proper scholarly attention to transhumanism now, not only because of its recent and ongoing rise as a cultural and political force (and the concomitant potential ramifications for bioethical discourse and public policy), but because of the imminence of major breakthroughs in the kinds of technologies that transhumanism focuses on. Thus, the articles in this issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy are either explicitly about transhumanism or are on topics, such as the ethics of germline engineering and criteria for personhood, that are directly relevant to the debate between transhumanists (and technoprogressives more broadly) and bioconservatives.

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