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New Breeds of Humans: The Moral Obligation to Enhance

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Abstract

This paper argues that we have a moral obligation to enhance human beings. It is argued that if one is committed to the moral obligation to treat and prevent disease, one is also committed to genetic and other enhancement in so far as this promotes human well-being. It is argued that this is not eugenic but expresses our fundamental human nature: to make rational decisions and to try to improve ourselves. To be human is to strive to be better.

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... Well-known authors such as John Harris, Julian Savulescu, and John Robertson have enthusiastically embraced these technologies. According to proponents, these technologies increase reproductive choice, contribute to a reduction in suffering by eliminating genetic diseases and disabilities, and offer the opportunity to improve the human condition by enhancing the human species (Harris 2007(Harris , 2016Robertson 2002Robertson , 2003Robertson , 2005Savulescu 2001Savulescu , 2005Savulescu and Kahane 2009;Savulescu et al. 2015). 1 In fact, some consider reprogenetic technologies to be so valuable to human beings that they believe their use is not only morally permissible, but morally required (Savulescu 2005;Savulescu et al. 2015;Savulescu and Kahane 2009;Harris 2007). ...
... Well-known authors such as John Harris, Julian Savulescu, and John Robertson have enthusiastically embraced these technologies. According to proponents, these technologies increase reproductive choice, contribute to a reduction in suffering by eliminating genetic diseases and disabilities, and offer the opportunity to improve the human condition by enhancing the human species (Harris 2007(Harris , 2016Robertson 2002Robertson , 2003Robertson , 2005Savulescu 2001Savulescu , 2005Savulescu and Kahane 2009;Savulescu et al. 2015). 1 In fact, some consider reprogenetic technologies to be so valuable to human beings that they believe their use is not only morally permissible, but morally required (Savulescu 2005;Savulescu et al. 2015;Savulescu and Kahane 2009;Harris 2007). ...
... Advocates of reprogenetics advance their enthusiastic positions about these technologies by presenting us with an array of actual, possible, and imagined benefits that individuals and society can derive from their development and use. Some such benefits include the possibility that our offspring will have longer lives, be free from severe diseases and disabilities, and be able to enjoy life more fully (Harris 2007(Harris , 2016Savulescu 2005Savulescu , 2006Savulescu et al. 2015;Silver 1997). Reprogenetic technologies, proponents contend, can also help ensure that our children are more intelligent and better able to deal with their environments. ...
Chapter
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Reprogenetic technologies have been enthusiastically embraced by well-known authors who argue that these technologies increase reproductive choice, contribute to a reduction of suffering by eliminating genetic diseases and disabilities, and offer the opportunity to improve the human condition by creating beings who will live much longer and healthier lives, have better intellectual capacities, and enjoy more refined emotional experiences. Indeed, some take reprogenetic technologies to be so valuable to human beings that they believe their use is not only morally permissible but morally required. More often than not, however, proponents of reprogenetic technologies treats these technologies as mere value-neutral tools, limiting their assessments to risk and benefit considerations. In this chapter I bring insights from philosophy of technology regarding the value-laden nature of technologies to bear on bioethical analyses of reprogenetics. I challenge proponents’ assumption that an evaluation of risk and benefits is all is needed to determine the moral permissibility or impermissibility of developing and using reprogenetic technologies. I argue that a robust ethical analysis requires attention to the relationship between contextual values and technological development and implementation, as well as to the ways in which technologies reinforce or transform human values by mediating our perceptions of the world and our reasons for action. Ignoring the value-laden nature of reprogenetic technologies results not just in incomplete ethical evaluations but in distorted ones.
... Though a utilitarian could (and Mill does) defend noninterference with individuals' choices as itself generally maximizing well-being, 9 this is not how ideal utilitarian supporters of enhancement proceed. And in fact, state enforcement as a desired or even logical outcome of the moral imperative to enhance does not altogether escape the notice of enhancement advocates. ...
... 11 Not so. For, like the moral variety, cognitive enhancement is touted from the standpoint of harm-forestalling, as a route to lowering prison populations (Savulescu [9]) and reducing humans' disruptive affective tendencies (Savulescu and Kahane [4]). From the standpoint of harm-avoidance, moral and cognitive enhancement would strongly impact both individuals and society. ...
... I concur here with but do not aim to defend what I view as the stronger claim that Bthe gap between the new and the old eugenics is not that large at all^(33).9 I say Bgenerally^because, as Mill[45] himself shows regarding autonomy and justice in On Liberty, the principle of utility alone is absolute.10 ...
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Advocates of cognitive enhancement maintain that technological advances would augment autonomy indirectly by expanding the range of options available to individuals, while, in a recent article in this journal, Schaefer, Kahane, and Savulescu propose that cognitive enhancement would improve it more directly. Here, autonomy, construed in broad procedural terms, is at the fore. In contrast, when lauding the goodness of enhancement expressly, supporters’ line of argument is utilitarian, of an ideal variety. An inherent conflict results, for, within their utilitarian frame, the content of rational, hence autonomous, choices is quite restricted. Further, advocates do not clearly indicate their relative emphasis between the often conflicting goals of maximizing benefit and avoiding harm. In practice, their construction of harms is highly expansive, for disabilities include any constraints that “rational” people would decline if it were technically possible to do so. For advocates, this means that where enhancement measures are available, those constraints become avoidable limitations, and not to remove them is to harm. The centrality of harm-avoidance and their ideal utilitarian frame entail sociopolitical requirements that enhancement defenders disallow when trumpeting autonomy in the vein of individual choice. Advocates have thus not done enough to support the claim that their views are wholly separate from earlier eugenics.
... Este proceso se suele dar en la actualidad cuando optamos por prevenir complicaciones contextuales, efectos negativos en el feto o la madre durante el embarazo producto de factores ambientales o de salud. Si atendemos a la cura y prevención de enfermedades como un deber moral, con mayor razón lo sería la prevención de futuras complicaciones en un embrión o lo que será un futuro niño (Savulescu, 2005). ...
... En una situación en que las tecnologías existentes sean mejoradas, respondemos a la segunda pregunta al obtener los motivos suficientes para extender la obligación moral de tratar y prevenir enfermedades desde una selección procreativa hacia una obligación moral para darle una mejor oportunidad de vida a un individuo a partir de ingeniería genética de línea germinal como una herramienta que forma parte del avance tecnológico para lograr una correcta selección y mejora del individuo humano (Savulescu, 2005). ...
Article
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El transhumanismo es un movimiento filosófico que propone el Mejoramiento Humano (Human Enhancement) como medio para lograr un estado evolutivo más fructífero del Homo Sapiens al que denomina Transhumano. En el presente documento a modo de recuento y contribución teórica del pensamiento transhumanista se responderá primero a la pregunta qué es el Transhumanismo, así como se definirán los conceptos propios de su filosofía; y segundo, se planteará cuál es el proyecto que posee.
... Yet the debate remains sometimes Manichean (Buchanan, 2011). On one side of the debate, the importance of methods is discounted: only the goals and endresults-not the methods-matter (Greely et al., 2008;Savulescu, 2005). At the other end of the spectrum, some argue that the methods used have overwhelming importance and are condemnable in themselves (Sandel, 2004). ...
... Unfortunately, a commonplace rhetorical strategy used in debates about enhancement is to minimize (and sometimes dismiss) the ethical importance of agency and agent motivations and, instead, bring attention to the consequences of actions. Some proponents of moral enhancement, for example, claim without regard for the methods of enhancement and their diferences or their potential side efects on agency that enhancement is essentially necessary for the end-goal of human well-being (Savulescu, 2005). This strategy relies on a narrow understanding of what brings happiness and fulilment to lourishing individuals (Yaden et al., 2018), such as economic wealth, not to say anything about the gaps in evidence about the relationship between lourishing and cognitive enhancement (Buchanan, 2012;Persson & Savulescu, 2013). ...
Article
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Stimulant drugs, transcranial magnetic stimulation, brain-computer interfaces, and even genetic modifications are all discussed as forms of potential cognitive enhancement. Cognitive enhancement can be conceived as a benefit-seeking strategy used by healthy individuals to enhance cognitive abilities such as learning, memory, attention, or vigilance. This phenomenon is hotly debated in the public, professional, and scientific literature. Many of the statements favoring cognitive enhancement (e.g., related to greater productivity and autonomy) or opposing it (e.g., related to health-risks and social expectations) rely on claims about human welfare and human flourishing. But with real-world evidence from the social and psychological sciences often missing to support (or invalidate) these claims, the debate about cognitive enhancement is stalled. In this paper, we describe a set of crucial debated questions about psychological and social aspects of cognitive enhancement (e.g., intrinsic motivation, well-being) and explain why they are of fundamental importance to address in the cognitive enhancement debate and in future research. We propose studies targeting social and psychological outcomes associated with cognitive enhancers (e.g., stigmatization, burnout, mental well-being, work motivation). We also voice a call for scientific evidence, inclusive of but not limited to biological health outcomes, to thoroughly assess the impact of enhancement. This evidence is needed to engage in empirically informed policymaking, as well as to promote the mental and physical health of users and non-users of enhancement.
... Class II mutations, including Phe508del, have folding or maturation defects, which can result in premature CFTR degradation [47]. ...
... A "selection mentality". The fact that the decision can be determined by the couple's free choice does not change the situation: a free choice is not in itself necessarily good; a free choice could be not really "free" if it is influenced by a culture in which parents are "morally obliged to genetically modify their children" to offer "the best opportunities for a better life" [47]. ...
Article
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Introduction: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. In Italy, the reported prevalence is approximately 0.70 per 10,000 inhabitants. Our aim was to summarize the available evidence, using the HTA approach, on the genetic tests for cystic fibrosis carrier screening. Methods: systematic literature search was used to find the best available international and national evidence on genetic tests for CF carrier screening. We addressed health problem of disease, description and technical characteristics of tests – its analytic and clinical validity, and clinical utility. Economic evaluation of different scenarios was synthesized from literature. Ethical, organizational, and social aspects of CF and genetic screening were also considered. Results: Several screening strategies have been evaluated in the literature and screening options can be characterized by different timing, model and place of screening. The reported cost of a screening test ranged from €25 to €212. Ethical analysis emphasized that the use of these tests is an advantage in terms of the acquisition of knowledge and of responsible management of choices, but at the same time raises many ethical questions. Social considerations reported an overall positive attitude among patients and their families towards CF carrier screening. Conclusions: Advances in the molecular genetics technology have made CF carrier testing reliable and affordable. The multidisciplinary approach of this HTA provided an evidence-based evaluation of the genetic tests and offers a firm scientific background for the decision-makers to consider the implementation of a screening for cystic fibrosis carriers into the Italian health care system.
... Also focusing on enhancement and well-being, in numerous articles Julian Savulescu writes that enhancement 13 practices can be tools to acquire what we value in life. For example, Savulescu argues that we have a moral duty to use the tools that biotechnology has afforded us to increase children's well-being (Savulescu 2005;2006). Savulescu gives the example of the moral duty that parents would have to prevent their child from contracting HIV if a simple intervention were available, making failure to do so a moral wrong. ...
... But if wellbeing were an intrinsic good, then we would have a moral duty to enhance our lives for the sake of wellbeing. (Savulescu 2005). ...
Article
An argument in the cognitive enhancement literature is that using stimulants in populations of healthy but socially disadvantaged individuals mistakenly attributes pathology to nonpathological individuals who experience social inequalities. As the argument goes, using stimulants as cognitive-enhancing drugs to solve the social problem of poorly educated students in inadequate schools misattributes the problem as an individual medical problem, when it is really a collective sociopolitical problem. I challenge this argument on the grounds that not all types of enhancement have to be explained in medical terms, but rather at least one conception of enhancement can be explained in social terms—opportunity maintenance. Therefore, I propose that as a moral requirement we ought to explore whether stimulants could be a means of remedying underprivileged children's experiences of social inequalities that are borne from inadequate schools for the sake of increasing their chances for opportunities and well-being.
... Segundo, que la libertad morfológica es un derecho al que le corresponde un deber (Bunge, 2012), y este sería, que las modificaciones respondan a los criterios propuestos como mejora ética por Savulescu (Savulescu, 2005), por lo tanto, que se halle sujeta también al tiempo social. De momento el consenso y la razón nos invitan a mejorar la cognición y la salud de los individuos humanos. ...
... Acerca de la consecuencia "d" es importante indicar que el transhumanismo brinda la oportunidad de que cualquier individuo humano, por medio de las mejoras tecnológicas pertinentes, pueda aumentar sus probabilidades de tener una mejor vida en base a cualquier teoría de bienestar que adopte, siempre que vaya en función de los requisitos indispensables para obtener sus metas: mejor salud y mejor inteligencia (Savulescu J. , 2005). ...
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Resumen. Este documento es una colección de respuestas para las críticas más usuales que los sectores bioconservadores esgrimen contra la filosofía transhumanista. El documento se ha dividido en tres (03) categorías, cada una de las cuales se subdivide en diferentes argumentos. A cada una se le ha brindado respuesta a partir de los escritos desarrollados sobre el tema. La corriente Transhumanista a la que se hace referencia es la visión de la Asociación Transhumanista Mundial Humanity Plus. Palabras clave: transhumanismo, cyborg, posthumanismo, human enhancement, NBIC, extrapolitica, tecnología, filosofía de la tecnología.
... Taking the framework of species survival in an evolving ecosystem that is challenging or even threatening, DNA editing become more than a therapy -it becomes a survival strategy. Harris and Savulescu suggests that we are morally obligated to use genetic technology to produce the best children possible for the survival of the human species (Harris, 2007;Savulescu, 2005). Bioliberals clearly intend to help both relieve suffering from a specific genetic trait and push evolution forward in ways that prevent death from environmental hazards. ...
Article
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In 2015, the Retraction Watch leadership, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, retracted an article that they had written for The Lab Times in 2013. According to Marcus and Oransky, in the 2013 piece, they had offered “bad advice” to academics. In the 2013 piece, Marcus and Oransky suggested that when an error, actual or potential, was detected in a published paper, that they should first contact – by name or anonymously – the editor, then the author, and finally the research institute, following Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. They also recommended readers to copy Retraction Watch on their communications – most likely so that Retraction Watch could gather a scoop – suggesting even that by mentioning or copying Retraction Watch would twist the arm of the editor, and perhaps speed up – or influence – the journal’s action, or decision. Offering such bad, flawed and unscholarly advice, claiming boldly, without any citations, “that cronyism can protect obvious fraud”, the 2013 Lab Times piece was a clear act of anti-science advice. Clearly recognizing their own bad advice, and flawed and misleading logic, but taking considerable time to do so, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky retracted their 2013 article in December of 2015, but replaced it with a substitute offering even worse advice, indicating to concerned academics to scrap their 2013 advice of contacting authors, editors and academic institutes, and opting instead for a potentially biased anonymous option, using a whistle-blower website, PubPeer. Marcus and Oransky failed to indicate any financial or other conflicts of interest in their Lab Times piece. This is important, because, as we now know, the marriage between these watchdogs has been in the pipe-line for years now, reaching public prominence in early 2016 during a meeting in UC Berkeley, and culminating in generous financial backing – in the hundreds of thousands of US$ – by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, to both Retraction Watch and PubPeer. This commentary examines how the retraction of one badly written journalistic piece for lack of professionalism led to the emergence of an even worse article full of biases. Perspectives on how this could be interpreted, and what should happen, are provided.
... According to this argument, the 14-day limit should be extended because of the potential benefits of such research and because these benefits outweigh the costs of embryo research [5,13,50,51]. This appeal to beneficence is common in bioethics and it is often used by those who take a utilitarian stance on the ethical assessment of scientific progress, technologies and practices [3,46,[52][53][54]. Proponents of what I have called the argument of the beneficence of research rely on historical evidence to support their claim: they argue that since technological and scientific progress in medicine proved to be beneficial to humankind, it should be allowed to continue. ...
Article
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Background This article explores the reasons in favour of revising and extending the current 14-day statutory limit to maintaining human embryos in culture. This limit is enshrined in law in over a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom. In two recently published studies (2016), scientists have shown that embryos can be sustained in vitro for about 13 days after fertilisation. Positive reactions to these results have gone hand in hand with calls for revising the 14-day rule, which only allows embryo research until the 14th day after fertilisation. Main text The article explores the most prominent arguments in favour of and against the extension of the 14-day limit for conducting research on human embryos. It situates these arguments within the history of the 14-day limit. I start by discussing the history of the 14-day limit in the United Kingdom and the reasons behind the decision to opt for a compromise between competing moral views. I then analyse the arguments that those who are generally in favour of embryo research put forward in support of extending the 14-day rule, namely (a) the argument of the beneficence of research and (b) the argument of technical feasibility (further explained in the article). I then show how these two arguments played a role in the recent approval of two novel techniques for the replacement of faulty mitochondrial DNA in the United Kingdom. Despite the popularity and widespread use of these arguments, I argue that they are ultimately problematic and should not be straightforwardly accepted (i.e. accepted without further scrutiny). I end by making a case for respecting value pluralism in the context of embryo research, and I present two reasons in favour of respecting value pluralism: the argument of public trust and the argument of democracy. Conclusion I argue that 14-day limit for embryo research is not a valuable tool despite being a solution of compromise, but rather because of it. The importance of respecting value pluralism (and of respecting different views on embryo research) needs to be considered in any evaluation concerning a potential change to the 14-day rule.
... To enhance ourselves "is not eugenic but expresses our fundamental human nature: to make rational decisions and to try to improve ourselves. To be human is to strive to be better" [25]. Hence it is in our human nature to enhance ourselves [26,27] and to use anthropotechnology to alter and ameliorate ourselves [28]. ...
Article
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Background New technologies facilitate the enhancement of a wide range of human dispositions, capacities, or abilities. While it is argued that we need to set limits to human enhancement, it is unclear where we should find resources to set such limits. DiscussionTraditional routes for setting limits, such as referring to nature, the therapy-enhancement distinction, and the health-disease distinction, turn out to have some shortcomings. However, upon closer scrutiny the concept of enhancement is based on vague conceptions of what is to be enhanced. Explaining why it is better to become older, stronger, and more intelligent presupposes a clear conception of goodness, which is seldom provided. In particular, the qualitative better is frequently confused with the quantitative more. We may therefore not need “external” measures for setting its limits – they are available in the concept of enhancement itself. SummaryWhile there may be shortcomings in traditional sources of limit setting to human enhancement, such as nature, therapy, and disease, such approaches may not be necessary. The specification-of-betterment problem inherent in the conception of human enhancement itself provides means to restrict its unwarranted proliferation. We only need to demand clear, sustainable, obtainable goals for enhancement that are based on evidence, and not on lofty speculations, hypes, analogies, or weak associations. Human enhancements that specify what will become better, and provide adequate evidence, are good and should be pursued. Others should not be accepted.
... In the same manner as vaccines have altered our conceptions and experiences of, as well as responsibilities for, previously ordinary life experiences, such as having measles, mumps, and rubella, we now have a plethora of new technologies altering our conception of what it is to be a human being (Sharon, 2013, Dalibert, 2014 as well as our related responsibilities. As we have the possibility to enhance humans' characteristics (such as intelligence), we gain a responsibility to do so (Savulescu, 2005, Savulescu and Kahane, 2009, Moen, 2016, drawing attention to this characteristic, and making those that are not enhanced feel inferior. Technological possibilities tend to move physical conditions from the realm of fate to the realm of human intervention and responsibility, fuelling a medicalized framing of ourselves. ...
Article
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In this article we explore how diagnostic and therapeutic technologies shape the lived experiences of illness for patients. By analysing a wide range of examples, we identify six ways that technology can (trans)form the experience of illness (and health). First, technology may create awareness of disease by revealing asymptomatic signs or markers (imaging techniques, blood tests). Second, the technology can reveal risk factors for developing diseases (e.g., high blood pressure or genetic tests that reveal risks of falling ill in the future). Third, the technology can affect and change an already present illness experience (e.g., the way blood sugar measurement affects the perceived symptoms of diabetes). Fourth, therapeutic technologies may redefine our experiences of a certain condition as diseased rather than unfortunate (e.g. assisted reproductive technologies or symptom based diagnoses in psychiatry). Fifth, technology influences illness experiences through altering social-cultural norms and values regarding various diagnoses. Sixth, technology influences and changes our experiences of being healthy in contrast and relation to being diseased and ill. This typology of how technology forms illness and related conditions calls for reflection regarding the phenomenology of technology and health. How are medical technologies and their outcomes perceived and understood by patients? The phenomenological way of approaching illness as a lived, bodily being-in-the-world is an important approach for better understanding and evaluating the effects that medical technologies may have on our health, not only in defining, diagnosing, or treating diseases, but also in making us feel more vulnerable and less healthy in different regards.
... Continuing along these lines, in chapter 5, the author engages with advocates of reprogenetics regarding the advantages and disadvantages of shaping nature through technological developments. On the one hand, Harris, Savulescu, Norah O'Donnell, and Ronald Green maintain that it is risky to leave the characteristics of offspring to the lottery of natural selection, so new technologies must be used to improve the development of human beings [8][9][10][11]. This transhumanist paradigm sees the good and rational use of technology as a solution to social problems, thus making it a moral obligation to control nature. ...
... Terdapat ilmuan yang mencadangkan supaya teknologi CRISPR/Cas9 diharamkan kerana berpotensi untuk membuka ruang kepada penambahbaikan ciri dan keupayaan manusia (Melillo 2017). Walau bagaimanapun sesetengah ilmuan seperti Savulescu (2005) berpendapat bahawa, dalam konteks terapi gen, ia tidak boleh dihadkan kepada merawat atau mencegah penyakit sahaja, tetapi juga untuk mempertingkatkan ciri-ciri seperti kebijaksanaan yang boleh membawa kepada kesejahteraan manusia. Beliau berpendapat bahawa ibu bapa bertanggungjawab mengubahsuai genom anak mengikut yang dikehendaki untuk memberikan yang terbaik untuk anak-anak mereka. ...
Conference Paper
CRISPR/Cas9 technology has been considered a ground-breaking technology that has revolutionized the field of genetic engineering. In theory it enables precise genome editing of living organisms including human, therefore it has great potentials in treating and preventing a wide range of diseases including AIDS, cancer and genetic diseases. Faulty gene in human embryo could be corrected before being transplanted into the womb, and a disease-free future generation could be produced. Despite its great benefits, recent researches about germline editing of nonviable human embryos have triggered hot debate among both scientists and the public. Even though such researches could pave the way towards treating and preventing genetic diseases, many fear that it would lead to the production of designer babies. Some scholars view that human genome is fundamental for human dignity and human rights, therefore they regard modifying human genome as a ‘crime against humanity’. There have been calls for moratorium on human germline editing so that ethics about the use of the technology can be carefully discussed before it is applied on humans. Calls have also been made for discussions about ethics of the technology from multiple perspectives so that proper policies or guidelines about responsible research and use of the technology could be formulated. This paper explores Islamic perspective on human germline editing mediated by the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Preventing disease and seeking treatment for disease are highly encouraged in Islam. Several genetic technologies such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis have been considered lawful to meet such purposes. Several conditions have been underlined by Muslim scholars with regard to human genetic modification. One of the main conditions is that it is allowed only to achieve benefits that are compliant with shariah, therefore genetic modification for non-medical purpose is prohibited. The technology used should also be declared as safe and efficient, whereby no harm or greater harm would be inflicted upon the parents as well as their lineage. Nevertheless, more discussions are necessary to formulate a comprehensive guideline from Islamic perspective.
... Others mainly address the question of exercising control over biological features of the population (Bouffard et al. 2009;Dolgin 2004), whereas another group sees in coercion a denial of the respect for individuals' bodily integrity (Appel 2012;Santosuosso et al. 2007). A final reason why eugenics is perceived as despicable is that its policies and aims were oriented towards the improvement of the wellbeing of the population rather than the good of the individuals (Fenton 2006;Glover 2006;Robertson 2005;Savulescu 2005;Scott 2006). In all these references to the past, despite some internal differences concerning the most contemptible elements of eugenics, old eugenics is unanimously condemned. ...
Article
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Eugenics is often referred to in debates on the ethics of reproductive technologies and practices, in relation to the creation of moral boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable technologies, and acceptable and unacceptable uses of these technologies. Historians have argued that twentieth century eugenics cannot be reduced to a uniform set of practices, and that no simple lessons can be drawn from this complex history. Some authors stress the similarities between past eugenics and present reproductive technologies and practices (what I define throughout the paper as ‘the continuity view’) in order to condemn the latter. Others focus on the differences between past and present practices (what I define throughout the paper as ‘the discontinuity view’) in order to defend contemporary reproductive technologies. In this paper, I explore the meanings of the word ‘eugenics’ and the relationship between its past and present uses in terms of contemporary debates on reproductive technologies and practices. I argue that moral disagreement about present technologies originate in divergent views of condemnable and justifiable features of the past.
... A ello le debemos agregar que, en vista de que las tecnologías orientadas desde un enfoque humanista sirven al desarrollo de la sociedad, el transhumanismo es una filosofía continuadora de su pensamiento (Gayozzo, 2019). Por ende, como parte del progreso, debe velarse por la superación de las limitaciones del hombre debido a que ser humanos es tratar de ser siempre mejores (Savulescu, 2005). ...
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Pilares para la formulación y desarrollo de una política científica, tecnológica y transhumanista.
... But we should not just dismiss biological interventions from the start. 77 Indeed, in some cases it may be the biological interventions that are safer, more likely to be successful, and demanded by justice. Since love is fundamentally both biological and psychosocial, I have argued, we should at least consider intervening along both dimensions if we want love and happiness to coincide in our relationships. ...
Chapter
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Chemical and other interventions into the biological dimensions of love are currently possible and will likely become more powerful in years to come. This chapter explores some of the conceptual issues surrounding what it would mean to change love with biochemical agents, and presents a handful of case studies of individuals and couples who might desire to use such agents as a way of enhancing their love and relationships. The chapter then discusses a number of ethical and other worries that would likely be raised by the development or use of such biotechnologies and offers some tentative responses. Ultimately, it is argued that love-enhancing biotechnology is not just a conceptual possibility, but may already be practically feasible, and is likely in some cases to be morally desirable.
... A ello le debemos agregar que, en vista de que las tecnologías orientadas desde un enfoque humanista sirven al desarrollo de la sociedad, el transhumanismo es una filosofía continuadora de su pensamiento (Gayozzo, 2019). Por ende, como parte del progreso, debe velarse por la superación de las limitaciones del hombre debido a que ser humanos es tratar de ser siempre mejores (Savulescu, 2005). ...
Article
La humanidad atraviesa diversas crisis y las ideologías políticas tradicionales no han logrado dar muestra de su eficacia al intentar resolverlas. Por otro lado, nos adentramos a una Cuarta Revolución Industrial que pone a disposición nuevas herramientas. En el siguiente texto se describen cuáles serían los pilares sobre los que se deba construir la Extrapolítica, la cual definimos como una acción política que pueda conjugar la ciencia y las novedades tecnológicas desde un enfoque humanista.
... Arguments of this kind usually raise a related objection: the idea that gene editing could create a different breed of humans, maybe even creating a different being, the transhuman (Savulescu, 2005;Bostrom, 2005;Harris, 2010). However, we must be able to distinguish different genetic interventions and their degree of influence. ...
Article
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In this paper we will discuss the status of gene editing technologies like CRISPR. We will examine whether this technology should be considered a form of enhancement, or if CRISPR is merely a medical technology analogous to many of the common medical interventions of today. The importance of this discussion arises from the enormous potential of CRISPR to increase human health and welfare. If we interrupt or delay its investigation and implementation based on misconceptions about its nature and consequences, we may fail to achieve great benefits. Clarifying what CRISPR is and how it compares to other medical procedures should create the right environment to discuss its development and introduction in society. We argue that gene editing is both a conventional medical technology and a potential human enhancer. It is important to separate these different applications. Just as in the cloning debate, it is possible to sort out therapeutic gene editing from enhancement gene editing in considering regulation or policy.
... Definición 9. El mejoramiento humano será ético si, y solo si (Savulescu, 2005): a. Es parte de los intereses de la persona. b. ...
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Resumen. El presente escrito es una breve exposición de los postulados y definiciones básicas que se pueden desprender de la hipótesis principal propuesta por la filosofía transhumanista. No es objetivo del artículo profundizar en las dimensiones más minuciosas de esta escuela de pensamiento, sino abordar los principales argumentos que la definen. Se recurrirá a enumerar los postulados y se le agregarán definiciones que puedan extender la idea del postulado para finalmente ofrecer las conclusiones. Palabras clave: transhumanismo, sistemas, ciencia, filosofía, posthumanismo.
... … Enhancement… in so far as it promotes well-being, is the very essence of what is necessary for a good human life. 20 What is interesting here is that Savelescu assumes without argument that the good of the child requires the parents and the genetic engineers they hire to programme out of life any of the burdens of struggle-to find one's talents, to shape one's identity, to bear the psychic pain of failure and loss. Thus the so-called "well-being" is assimilated to a static state brought about not through a person's own efforts but by the programmer of outcomes, whose notion of goodness is defined in terms acceptable to the ruling value system. ...
Article
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At different times Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse argued that immortality is a condition of overcoming misery and achieving complete human freedom. Their arguments were made before “practical immortality” had become a concrete scientific project. The difference between what was then and what is now scientifically possible alters the ethical and political value of the idea of immortality. Had the first generation of critical theorists occupied the present historical moment, they would have realized that science harnessed to the demand for limitless life would not solve the kind of ethical and existential problems they hoped it would. I argue that the scientific struggle against human finitude is driven by the same egocentric concern for money and self-maximization that early critical theory diagnosed as the main psychological pathology caused by capitalism. Finitude, I conclude, is the price human beings must pay if they are to live free and meaningful lives.
... Aside from the obvious increase in the retirement age, there are doubts about the overall social benefit of this technique: in countries where generational renewal in the job market is already a problem, what will be the impact of a longer working life? Will 48 Savulescu (2005). 49 Buchanan (2011). ...
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Can transfusions of blood plasma slow down ageing or even rejuvenate people? Recent preclinical studies and experimental tests inspired by the technique known as parabiosis have aroused great media attention, although for now there is no clear evidence of their effectiveness. This line of research and the interest it is triggering testify to the prominent role played by the idea of combating the “natural” ageing process in the scientific and social agenda. While seeking to increase the duration of healthy living time may be considered a duty, it also raises ethical questions about how to pursue this goal. Specifically, therapies and techniques accessible only to a fraction of the population seem destined to exponentially increase social inequality and to produce undesirable consequences. In this article we address the issue precisely in the light of the prospected use of plasma for the rejuvenation of a small elite of people.
Chapter
This chapter reviews the state of the ongoing debate between dystopic and liberal posthumanists on enhancement technologies, with a closer look at the explicit and implicit arguments advanced by each regarding some specific technologies like preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the use of psychopharmaceuticals for mood and cognitive enhancement, and genetic engineering. In broad terms, dystopic posthumanism subscribes to the moral claim that human enhancement is intrinsically wrong, and the political claim that it should be banned or restricted. Liberal posthumanism, conversely, holds that enhancement is neither intrinsically wrong nor unusually dangerous, and should generally be permitted. On both sides, the arguments that support these claims abound, and can be grouped into three categories: social, technical and methodological arguments. Beyond these relatively commensurable terms, however, the debate between dystopic and liberal posthumanism is an ethical dispute at the core of which lie incommensurable views of human nature. While this is more obvious in the case of the dystopic posthumanist critique, which proceeds from the idea that technological intervention for enhancement purposes poses a threat to human nature, it is also the case that liberal posthumanism invokes human nature in its support of enhancement. Only, rather than extolling human nature as a fixed, stable and ‘given’ essence, it draws on a conception of the human as an evolving, dynamic and imperfect organism, who, by nature, aspires towards self-improvement.
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A claim about continuing technological progress plays an essential, if unacknowledged, role in the philosophical literature on “human enhancement.” I argue that-should it eventuate-continuous improvement in enhancement technologies may prove more bane than benefit. A rapid increase in the power of available enhancements would mean that each cohort of enhanced individuals will find itself in danger of being outcompeted by the next in competition for important social goods-a situation I characterize as an “enhanced rat race.” Rather than risk the chance of being rendered technologically and socially obsolete by the time one is in one’s early 20s, it may be rational to prefer that a wide range of enhancements that would generate positional disadvantages that outweigh their absolute advantages be prohibited altogether. The danger of an enhanced rat race therefore constitutes a novel argument in favor of abandoning the pursuit of certain sorts of enhancements.
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Souvent qualifiés par leurs détracteurs d’« anti-mélioristes » ou de « bioluddites », les penseurs associés au « bioconservatisme » ont développé au début du vingt et unième siècle une critique vigoureuse des avancées technoscientifiques et biomédicales visant l’amélioration de l’être humain et de ses performances. À travers l’examen de la pensée de deux de ses représentants majeurs, le philosophe Leon Kass et le politologue Francis Fukuyama, cet article propose une lecture critique de la bioéthique conservatrice. Si les bioconservateurs ont le mérite de rappeler la nécessité de tenir compte de l’ancrage vivant irréductible de l’être humain à l’ère de la bioéconomie et de l’exploitation croissante du monde vivant, nous verrons que la conception, sinon religieuse, pour le moins dogmatique de la « nature humaine » qui soutient leur argumentation permet difficilement de répondre aux défis éthiques et politiques soulevés par l’aspiration actuelle à un humain augmenté.
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This chapter critically analyses the common claim that human enhancement is not only morally permissible, but also morally obligatory, which is believed to follow from the fact that our natural abilities are not evenly distributed and that what we can and cannot do is to a large extent the result of a “genetic lottery”. Repudiating the claim that “genetic inequality” is unfair and that for this reason we have a moral obligation to redress the situation and “level the playing field”, Hauskeller argues that it makes little sense to apply moral categories such as fairness or justice to natural conditions that are not in any way the result of human agency, concluding that the goal of making nature fairer is neither achievable nor indeed desirable.
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Recent discussions about moral enhancement presuppose and recommend sets of values that relate to both the Western tradition of moral philosophy and contemporary empirical results of natural and social sciences, including moral psychology. It is argued here that this is a typology of thought that requires a fundamental interrogation. Proponents of moral enhancement do not account for important critical analyses of moral discourse, beginning with that of Friedrich Nietzsche and continuing with more prominent twentieth century thinkers such as the poststructuralist Michel Foucault, the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, and the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. In this paper, such analyses are taken into account to highlight the need for more fundamental philosophical interrogation of the project of moral enhancement.
Article
Genetic enhancement that aims to remove human weaknesses would possibly ruin many things that have considerable moral value. Certain mental processes, such as (1) the process of forgiving and (2) the process of finding something tolerable consist partly of perceiving the other person as psychologically weak, and social institutions of forgiveness and tolerance are not only valuable as such, but also contribute to many valuable things. Therefore, it seems that weaknesses are not that bad. People should try to avoid weaknesses, as they contribute to morally problematic conduct but, on the other hand, the connection between weaknesses and wrongness means that forgiveness and tolerance are partly possible just because of weaknesses. The general social and cultural effects of forgiveness and tolerance, in turn, seem morally priceless. Weaknesses do not justify wrong actions, but they tend to explain why people act wrongly, and people are often forgiven or tolerated just because of their weakness. This is one reason why we should be very cautious with genetic enhancement. The aim of the paper is not to show that the gains promised by genetic enhancement would be outweighed by the costs of reducing the degrees of forgiveness and toleration in the human population. Rather, we simply try to indicate what are the possible moral dark sides of such enhancement.
Thesis
This thesis seeks to trace the escalating shift from mind to brain and resulting changes in understandings of care for the self, emergent in part through growing influence of neuroethics and related calls for ‘neuro-enhancement’ of the ethical subject. This study – propelled largely through a critical discourse analysis of recent disciplinary output and public engagement – is particularly interested in observing the increasing confidence of neuroscience-informed perspectives on humanity, with announcements that we are witnessing a so-called ‘Second Enlightenment’. Such calls for a new ontology of ethics, I argue, amounts to overly ‘expansive’ claims funnelled through increasingly ‘intensive’ gazes. Within the rise of neuroscience more broadly, empirical neuroethics proclaims its epistemic privilege with respect to tracing our moral selfhood, in part through its location of measures of the ethical subject within functionally ascribed activity traced at the neurological level. Once elusive properties of conduct and wellbeing are now sought to be registered in the common currency of this synaptic ledger, exclusively overseen by specialists in this new field of expertise. The thesis then explores the subsequent adoption of this new empirical currency by those practicing a ‘hard’ transhumanism. Advocates of this position urge us to embrace methods of cognitive and moral ‘enhancement,’ lest we find ourselves unfit for the future in a world of ever-escalating risk. However, I argue that dominant framings of care of the self within neuroethics tend to be narrowly construed. I suggest that by failing to recognise the socio-historical contingencies of their claims, neuroethicists risk producing rigid, stultifying, and perhaps even self-defeating constructs of the ideal citizen. The personal ethos advanced by these new technologies of the self creates new forms of personal responsibility, which, consistent with neoliberal ideals of progress, involves a perpetual labour upon one's brain as a mode of accumulation strategy. This threatens to become a cruel labour that ultimately jars with our eventual and inevitable neurodegeneration. In response to this emerging ethos, I attempt to go beyond the constraints of a merely critical discourse to enable a more productive, if cautious, engagement with the claims of the new, applied neuro-disciplines. I consider what kind of differently expansive framing of subjectivity might be better suited to the present, compared with the ‘hyper-cognitive’ subject of certain ‘hard’ neuroscientific and neuroethical discourses. Contributing to the growing interest in the social sciences in the broad movement of ‘neurodiversity’, I turn to fictional accounts of dementia to see what might be learned from these literary sources. I argue that these literary explorations of subjectivity open up novel ways of reconceiving our relation to our neurology, and thus may play an important role in reimagining the self in a manner adequate to the complexity, urgency, and promise of our times. Though grounded primarily within the field of the sociology of science and technology, this thesis also draws extensively on related thought in poststructuralist critical and literary theory, while also maintaining an accessibility acutely attuned to the growing importance of interdisciplinary exchange.
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A critical review of the debate over the still-hypothetical possibility of prenatal intervention by parents to select the sexual orientation of their children. © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
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Humans have always sought to elevate the conditions of their existence. While ancient writers noted limited human contact with the divine, transhumanists believe that crossing from our ontological status to a higher plane is possible, even inevitable, through human technological ingenuity. Given their content and implications, further scrutiny of transhumanists' views is essential. Areas that should be addressed include transhumanists' own essentialism, the implications of existing brain science for transhumanists' more extravagant claims, and their constricted notions of knowledge and education. Further, not only would posthuman existence not be ours, but exuberant visions of that existence do not adequately heed the irreducible context in which humans pursue desires' fulfillment. Finally, when defending their positions, transhumanists must attend further to potentially grave risks, which, even where acknowledged, are downplayed.
Article
Should we make people healthier, smarter, and longer-lived if genetic and medical advances enable us to do so? Matti Häyry asks this question in the context of genetic testing and selection, cloning and stem cell research, gene therapies and enhancements. The ethical questions explored include parental responsibility, the use of people as means, the role of hope and fear in risk assessment, and the dignity and meaning of life. Taking as a starting point the arguments presented by Jonathan Glover, John Harris, Ronald M. Green, Jürgen Habermas, Michael J. Sandel, and Leon R. Kass, who defend a particular normative view as the only rational or moral answer, Matti Häyry argues that many coherent rationalities and moralities exist in the field, and that to claim otherwise is mistaken.
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This introductory chapter offers a comprehensive mapping of posthumanist discourse along three axes of differentiation: an optimistic/pessimistic axis, a historical-materialist/philosophical-ontological axis, and a humanist/non-humanist axis. It is argued that this last axis of differentiation, where humanism refers to a radical separation between human subjects and technological objects, is the most consequential one. Using these axes, four broad types of posthumanism are identified: “dystopic posthumanism”, “liberal posthumanism”, “radical posthumanism”, and “methodological posthumanism”. Dystopic posthumanism is characterized by an objection to the use of technology to modify or enhance humans beyond broadly accepted natural and cultural limits. Liberal posthumanism is characterized by an endorsement of bio- and enhancement technologies for self-modification and self-improvement, grounded mainly in an individual rights framework. Radical posthumanism is characterized by the view that bio- and enhancement technologies, by undermining the fixity of categories like “nature” and “the human”, contribute to a deconstruction of humanist and Enlightenment narratives based in human uniqueness and call for a radical rethinking of what it means to be human. Finally, methodological posthumanism is characterized by the development of analytical tools and frameworks that can (better) describe and highlight the zones of intersection and interaction between humans and technologies that play an essential part in human experience. These four approaches will become working categories for the rest of the book, and will be built upon in order to develop a final “mediated posthumanist” approach.
Article
The article concentrates on the question of euthanasia in relation to the emerging life-extension technologies and the immortality industry within the philosophical framework of transhumanism. I begin by sketching the picture of human enhancement and immortality research and industry and pointing to its preliminary assessment of social impact, drawn by Jacobsen (2017). I present immortalism as a specific branch of transhumanism, leading to the rise of postmortal society informed by neohedonism and negative utilitarianism: oriented towards the pursuit of pleasure and minimization of suffering. I ask the question if in the postmortal society the problem of euthanasia will exist. To answer this question, firstly, I briefly present the changes in understanding the notion of a good death; secondly, I discuss the transhumanist approach to euthanasia. And thirdly, I point to the challenges to the biopolitics of death and dying in the postmortal society. The discussion of these areas leads to the conclusion that the problem of euthanasia in the postmortal society will not disappear; rather, it will become more aggravated due to the paradoxical nature of the transhumanist approach to death, personal freedom, autonomy, and dignity.
Article
Marketed as the smart way of planning career and reproduction, fertility "insurance" technologies aimed at the fertile women ("social egg freezing") is becoming big business. Drawing on the work of political theorists Iris Marion Young and Sally Haslanger, I develop a structural perspective on the promotion of social egg freezing as a means of better managing career prospects. I critically engage with the work of prominent ethicists, such as Julian Savulescu and others, who advocate the promotion of social egg freezing as a resource for increasing gender equality in the workplace. In so doing, I argue for public policy design with a wider structural focus.
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If Savulescu and Kahane’s (Bioethics 23(5): 274–90, 2009) Principle of Procreative Beneficence were implemented regarding cognitive enhancement, the result would be highly impoverishing for future children. For, apart from being inadequate to rationality itself, advocates’ accounts of cognitive enhancement sever reason from the input to judgments and decision-making that other faculties provide. When handling desire, supporters of cognitive enhancement frame conflicts between reason and the nonrational in terms of self-governance or akratic failure, depending on which one triumphs. Further, so-called negative emotions are treated as simply deleterious and hostile to the rational. Alliances of the nonrational with reason toward shared ends are hence unthinkable. Having critiqued advocates’ views directly, I amplify my assessment through engagement with Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Per Savulescu and Kahane (Bioethics 23(5), 289, 2009), to know how to direct enhancement endeavors, “we need to form reasonable opinions on difficult questions about the nature of well-being and the good life.” Thus far, however, enhancement supporters have been largely silent on this crucial matter. Because the debate over enhancement is ultimately over what values our views of flourishing embody, it should be recast so that this crux is squarely at the fore. What is more, for our own and our children’s sakes, as we embark on this reframing, we would do well to bear in mind Aristotle’s insights about the nonrational in relation to reason and his unwavering focus on the human “that for the sake of which” (hou heneka) all that we do is, perforce, undertaken.
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Nowadays, the logic of moral enhancement is the hottest controversial issue among neuroethicists. The core of the debate has been focused on whether or not growing technologies for moral enhancement can solve serious problems facing us. At the same time, the ethical desirability of moral enhancement has been the subject of intense debate. However, neuroethical discussions on moral enhancement among domestic scholars is still in infancy. In this regard, this article examined the definitions, means, and needs of moral enhancement advocated by those who strongly propose the urgency of moral enhancement and furthermore analyzed both the theoretical and practical problems of moral enhancement in neuroethical perspectives. In a theoretical aspect, the logic of moral enhancement commits four serious errors such as lack of understanding the nature of morality, inappropriate means of moral enhancement, coerciveness, and oversimplification of moral ills. In a practical aspect, the logic of moral enhancement still makes short of efficacy and safety. Considering that obscure distinction between therapy and enhancement is increasing, it is obvious that the logic of moral enhancement will be dominant in the near future. Thus, we should develop and articulate counter-logics of moral enhancement against the logic of moral enhancement.
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When writing about deliberate changes to the human germline, bioethicists tend not to discuss the modification of specific genes and instead refer to broader concepts like making people smarter, taller, or longer‐lived. Only a limited number of these traits are mentioned regularly in the literature. Examples like health and intelligence appear frequently at all stages of the germline modification discourse, but the third most frequently mentioned trait has shifted over time. Prior to the early 1980s, publications discussed giving humans a kinder temperament significantly more often than cosmetic modifications, while more recent works reverse the frequency of these traits. Contributing factors likely include a greater focus on individual decision‐making, combined with the increasing uptake of real‐world reproductive technologies like IVF and gamete donation. This shifting imagery could have a profound influence on the way scholars develop arguments about gene editing since cosmetic modifications are generally viewed more negatively and considered less relevant to the identity of future people. In comparison with earlier images of germline modification, they also suggest a more contemporary, Western, and politically liberal social context for gene editing technology. Examining how authors move between writing about different traits can also help us to be aware of the traits that are arbitrarily omitted from the discourse and to consider our preparedness for unexpected kinds of modification.
Article
This paper presents an overview of the key ethical questions of performing gene editing research on military service members. The recent technological advance in gene editing capabilities provided by CRISPR/Cas9 and their path towards first-in-human trials has reinvigorated the debate on human enhancement for non-medical purposes. Human performance optimization has long been a priority of military research in order to close the gap between the advancement of warfare and the limitations of human actors. In spite of this focus on temporary performance improvement, biomedical enhancement is an extension of these endeavours and the ethical issues of such research should be considered. In this paper, we explore possible applications of CRISPR to military human gene editing research and how it could be specifically applied towards protection of service members against biological or chemical weapons. We analyse three normative areas including risk-benefit analysis, informed consent, and inequality of access as it relates to CRISPR applications for military research to help inform and provide considerations for military institutional review boards and policymakers.
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Resumen. Este trabajo propone un ordenamiento de ideas para la creación de una política que escape de lo convencional, de la política clásica: la extrapolítica. Para definir la extrapolítica se incluirán brevemente los conceptos de política, transhumanismo y dialéctica - dialogismo. Se esquematizará la Vía de la Política como un proceso de evolución que experimenta la política y que va de la mano de la evolución humana. Se planteó una propuesta postpoliticista para la proliferación correcta de los objetivos transhumanistas, así como se estableció una ampliación del espectro político convencional, uno que incluya el espectro extrapolítico y las posiciones contrarias a la mejora humana. Finaliza con la inclusión de dos fenómenos potenciales, uno perjudicial y otro ideal, para definir los procesos de aplicación de medidas extrapolíticas, la singularidad bio-socio-política y la inflexión bio-socio-política respectivamente. Palabras clave: transhumanismo, política, filosofía, extrapolítica, dialogismo, ideologías, singularidad, postmodernismo, complejidad.
Article
Cognition enhancers—drugs used to enhance cognition in healthy people—have generated a substantial amount of debate in the academic literature. In these debates, cognition enhancers are considered to promise (or threaten) to drastically change society. Cognition enhancers, as a “new breed of drugs,” are significant as they disrupt the licit–illicit binary maintained in the moral logic of pharmaceutical legitimacy. Cognition enhancers, despite putatively going beyond the legitimate purpose of restoring health, are not considered illicit. Their specificity positions them differently from medical, recreational, and other enhancement or “lifestyle” drugs, such that they elicit different rationales of governance. Utilizing a discursive analysis of the debates concerning cognition enhancers, I demonstrate how cognition enhancers cannot be determined by fixed properties either internal or external to themselves, but are rendered (reasonably) coherent through the problematizations that they produce. Questions of the boundaries of treatment and enhancement, equality and fairness, authenticity and autonomy, are bound up with concerns over the nature of being human. The discourse on cognition enhancers is underpinned by the assumption that these drugs do not repair a disorder but rather enhance an already “healthy” subject to an idealized subject, a construct underpinned by conceptions of a “normal” subject that is White, heteromasculine, and nondisabled. This presumption exists in the hinterlands that constitute these drugs as “cognition enhancers.”
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Libertarians often portray the decision to use enhancement technologies purely as a matter of individual choice, affecting the person who uses them but no one else. Yet individual choices often add up to large social changes that profoundly affect the lives of other people, effectively pushing individual choices in a particular direction. It seems plausible that self-reinforcing loops such as those that have driven the adoption of technologies like cars and air-conditioners might also play a role in the adoption of enhancement technologies, effectively exerting pressure on people to use a technology that they might otherwise resist.
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Resumen. El transhumanismo es un movimiento filosófico que propone el Mejoramiento Humano (Human Enhancement) como medio para lograr un estado evolutivo más fructífero del Homo Sapiens al que denomina Transhumano. En el presente documento a modo de recuento y contribución teórica del pensamiento transhumanista se responderá primero a la pregunta qué es el Transhumanismo, así como se definirán los conceptos propios de su filosofía; y segundo, se planteará cuál es el proyecto que posee. Palabras clave: transhumanismo, posthumanismo, human enhancement, tecnología, futurismo, filosofía
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Resumen. El adelanto tecnológico propone nuevas estrategias para resolver diversas dificultades, pero no todos los problemas son tomados por igual. El Transhumanismo considera que las biotecnologías deben ser usadas para ofrecer una mejor calidad de vida a la especie humana a partir del mejoramiento humano. Esta idea también es adoptada por el arqueofuturismo, un planteamiento del sector político conservador, pero orientado al rescate de la tradición europea y su población étnica. En el documento se expondrá el origen del arqueofuturismo y lo compararemos con el pensamiento Transhumanista y la Extrapolítica. Palabras clave: Arqueofuturismo, Transhumanismo, Extrapolitica, Cuarta Teoría Política, Nueva Derecha, futuro, filosofía
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Assisted reproductive technology (ART) - because it interferes with the very stuff of life - has raised many problems concerning its medical, ethical, social, economic and legal aspects. In our book we take a closer look at some of the questions we consider especially puzzling yet of great importance for ART. We have not attempted an exhaustive presentation of all ART-related issues that have been discussed since the inception of this form of medical intervention, but rather have focused on the questions that seem especially worthy of inquiry as those of a fundamental significance (the status of the human embryo), as well as those related to an ART procedure performed so frequently that it concerns a broad swathe of ART cases (egg donation), to a procedure that is especially challenging morally (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis), and to an ART-related problem which is very often overlooked or misrepresented (parental age).
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An analysis of the women’s international recognized health care indicator’s will show that improvements have been made around the world, but the results for access to quality health care are still beyond expected. The new Sustainable Development Goals put once more the lenses on women’s right and quality of health care. In this article we are going to make the argument that reproductive justice can be used as a lens through which progress related to women’s reproductive health and reproductive rights may be measured. Reproductive justice touches the intersectionality of the goals of women’s rights because it promotes the idea that health care should be equitable for all women. The use of doulas as reproductive justice agents, enhancing the health systems capability to guarantee quality of care and reproductive rights, supporting the promotion of international human rights through the Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Sustainable Development Goals, will be presented considering the evidence-based literature review in three categories: improve health outcomes; promote women’s control over their health; and reduce health disparities related to cost. Furthermore, we will use the United States and Brazil as comparative case studies, to better understand how doulas are introduced in both countries health system and how is this parallel with the commitment to the human and reproductive rights.
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Here, I analyze the ways in which Physical Enhancement (PE) made its first cinematic appearance and then make comparisons with more recent filmic re-elaborations on the theme. I offer direct insights of some re-adaptations of the same film (Robocop) and saga (Star Trek), and take into account stories, mostly comic-based, that only recently arrived on the big screen, but that nonetheless followed a pre-existing narrative giving relevance to PE (Spider-Man, Captain America, X-Men). Drawing comparisons among different takes on the same subject allows for parallel speculations on the intended overall messages of the plots on issues related to PE. This analysis allows me to state that, following a temporary rejection of PE in response to the horrors of the Nazi era, Western society has gradually turned to a neutral stand towards the concept of altering our bodies in order to “improve” ourselves. PE is affirming itself as fully acceptable in Western society, as well as in its cinematography, because we conceptualize “wanting to become better” in an increasingly positive fashion. If, on the one hand, the term “eugenics” still represents a taboo in many instances, on the other hand, ways around the negative connotations of this label are gaining in popularity, with some Posthumanism proponents as their more fervent supporters. I conclude my analysis by examining completely new cinematic subjects, Heroes and The Tomorrow People, which provide very good examples of philosophically-constructed visual representations that can be considered much in line with a version of Posthumanist ideology.
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The molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of complex behaviour are poorly understood. The mammalian genus Microtus provides an excellent model for investigating the evolution of social behaviour. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) exhibit a monogamous social structure in nature, whereas closely related meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are solitary and polygamous. In male prairie voles, both vasopressin and dopamine act in the ventral forebrain to regulate selective affiliation between adult mates, known as pair bond formation, as assessed by partner preference in the laboratory. The vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR) is expressed at higher levels in the ventral forebrain of monogamous than in promiscuous vole species, whereas dopamine receptor distribution is relatively conserved between species. Here we substantially increase partner preference formation in the socially promiscuous meadow vole by using viral vector V1aR gene transfer into the ventral forebrain. We show that a change in the expression of a single gene in the larger context of pre-existing genetic and neural circuits can profoundly alter social behaviour, providing a potential molecular mechanism for the rapid evolution of complex social behaviour.
Article
The American Journal of Bioethics 3.3 (2003) 22-25 Jason Scott Robert and Françoise Baylis (2003) identify important scientific advances that have massive social implications. I have written on the ethical implications of these advances elsewhere (Savulescu 2003). Here I can sketch only a framework for evaluating these advances. In what follows, I will use "animal" to refer to "nonhuman animal." Robert and Baylis are right that there are scientific experiments that introduce human genes and embryonic stem cells into animals to create animal-human chimeras. But it is now also possible to introduce animal genes into human beings by germ-line genetic manipulation. It is also possible to introduce totipotent or pluripotent cells from animals to make more full-blown human-animal chimeras. For example, it would be a straightforward technical matter to fuse a human embryo and a chimp embryo. The resulting human-chimp chimera might be viable. Any resulting being would be a blend of the properties of each. While the resulting chimera might not look like one of the apes from the film Planet of the Apes (though it might), it would look and be very different than a human being or an ape. What might be reasons for creating transgenic human beings and full-blown human-animal chimeras? Some of these reasons would be questionable: commercial exploitation of "freaks"; artistic motivation (which led to the creation of the fluorescent rabbit "Alba" by French scientists); or curiosity, just to see what it is like, as Dawkins memorably said in connection with cloning. But there might be good reasons to radically alter human beings. At a basic level, human-animal chimeras offer the opportunity to study cellular maturation and migration, as well as oncogenesis. Chimeras might have unique properties as a source of embryonic stem cells. Robert and Baylis point out that human-cow (and indeed human-pig) chimeras have already been produced as a source of stem cells. Or consider the case of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is rampant. At the present time there is no cure or vaccine. Imagine that scientists discover that some species are resistant to HIV infection and that resistance is genetically encoded. Imagine that it becomes possible to introduce these gene sequences into the human genome in order to confer resistance to HIV. While this is speculative, it is not absurd. It would also be possible to create very weak chimeras. It is theoretically possible that a single or a few animal embryonic cells among, say, 16 human cells would be enough to confer resistance to diseases by producing certain protein products or having some kind of immunological effect. This would be a weak chimera that is predominantly human. More radically, it is theoretically possible to combine a number of pluripotent or totipotent stem cells from a number of different animal embryos into the human embryo. Or, one might introduce animal genes from several different species into a human embryo. The resulting entity might have unique and desirable immunological properties or properties that render it more resistant to disease. For some time we have been aware that the phenomena of aging in human beings is related to the degradation of telomeres, the regions on the end of our chromosomes (Rudolph et al. 1999). Suppose that we were to find that animals that have a significantly longer lifespan than human beings, such as turtles, contained genetic sequences that reduced the rate of telomere degradation. It might then be possible to transfer these sequences into the human genome, radically prolonging life or compressing aging. This would be enhancement for radically longer life or less aging, but it seems good, at least from the prudential point of view. There is some evidence that elephants have highly developed social memory and that this leads to greater reproductive success (McComb et al. 2001). Transfer of the relevant genes from elephants to human beings might be desirable if the genes improved social memory. Or imagine it is possible to transfer the gene responsible for enhanced night vision in animals such as rabbits and owls and other nocturnal creatures into the human...
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When schedules of several operant trials must be successfully completed to obtain a reward, monkeys quickly learn to adjust their behavioral performance by using visual cues that signal how many trials have been completed and how many remain in the current schedule. Bilateral rhinal (perirhinal and entorhinal) cortex ablations irreversibly prevent this learning. Here, we apply a recombinant DNA technique to investigate the role of dopamine D2 receptor in rhinal cortex for this type of learning. Rhinal cortex was injected with a DNA construct that significantly decreased D2 receptor ligand binding and temporarily produced the same profound learning deficit seen after ablation. However, unlike after ablation, the D2 receptor-targeted, DNA-treated monkeys recovered cue-related learning after 11–19 weeks. Injecting a DNA construct that decreased N-methyl-d-aspartate but not D2 receptor ligand binding did not interfere with learning associations between the cues and the schedules. A second D2 receptor-targeted DNA treatment administered after either recovery from a first D2 receptor-targeted DNA treatment (one monkey), after N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-targeted DNA treatment (two monkeys), or after a vector control treatment (one monkey) also induced a learning deficit of similar duration. These results suggest that the D2 receptor in primate rhinal cortex is essential for learning to relate the visual cues to the schedules. The specificity of the receptor manipulation reported here suggests that this approach could be generalized in this or other brain pathways to relate molecular mechanisms to cognitive functions. • perirhinal cortex • entorhinal cortex • antisense • dopamine • N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor