Vulnerability, Embodiment and Emerging Technologies: A Still Open Issue

Philosophies 8 (6):115 (2023)
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Abstract

When reflecting on the human condition, vulnerability is a characteristic which is clearly evident, because anyone is exposed to the possibility of being wounded (and is, therefore, vulnerable, from the Latin word "vulnus", wound). In fact, human vulnerability, intended as a universal condition affecting finite and mortal human beings, is closely linked to embodiment, intended as the constitutive bond every human has with a physical body, subject to changes and to the passing of time. In today’s cultural context, permeated by emerging technologies, theories in favor of the so-called human enhancement through the use of the Genetics–Nanotechnology–Robotics (GNR) Revolution or NBIC Convergence technologies, in particular transhumanism, are emerging in the bioethical debate and seem to question the fundamentally vulnerable nature of human beings, by proposing not only abstract theories, but also concrete techno-scientific projects for its overcoming. Such a project, however, could turn out to be fallacious and inconsistent and could lead to ethically unacceptable consequences. Instead, a coherent (and ethical) way of responding to constitutive human vulnerability seems to be its understanding and acceptance.

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