Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (2):157-167 (2009)

Authors
Andrew Edgar
Cardiff University
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that developments in transhumanist technologies may have upon human cultures, and to do so by exploring a potential debate between Habermas and the transhumanists. Transhumanists, such as Nick Bostrom, typically see the potential in genetic and other technologies for positively expanding and transcending human nature. In contrast, Habermas is a representative of those who are fearful of this technology, suggesting that it will compound the deleterious effects of the colonisation of the lifeworld, further constraining human autonomy and undermining the meaningfulness of the lifeworld by expanding the technological control and manipulation of humanity. It will be argued that these opposed positions are grounded in fundamentally different understandings of the consequences of scientific and technological advance. On one level, the transhumanists remain confident that the lifeworld has within it the resources necessary to find meaning and purpose in a society deeply infused by genetic technology. Habermas disagrees. On another level, the difference is articulated by Horkheimer and Adorno in Dialectic of Enlightenment, primarily by challenging what may be understood as a Baconian faith in science as a project for the domination of nature. While the transhumanists broadly embrace this faith, Habermas returns to something akin to Horkheimer and Adorno’s pessimistic scepticism
Keywords Transhumanism  Genetic engineering  colonisation of the lifeworld
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-009-9188-9
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References found in this work BETA

The Future of Human Nature.Jurgen Habermas - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (309):483-486.
In Defense of Posthuman Dignity.Nick Bostrom - 2005 - Bioethics 19 (3):202–214.
Knowledge and Human Interests.Richard W. Miller - 1975 - Philosophical Review 84 (2):261.
A History of Transhumanist Thought.Nick Bostrom - 2005 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1):1-25.

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Citations of this work BETA

Transhuman Education? Sloterdijk's Reading of Heidegger's Letter on Humanism.Long Fiachra - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (1):177-192.
Genomics and Identity: The Bioinformatisation of Human Life. [REVIEW]Hub Zwart - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (2):125-136.
The Silencing of Kierkegaard in Habermas' Critique of Genetic Enhancement.Karin Christiansen - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (2):147-156.

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