After Humanity? Philosophical and Moral Perspectives on the Idea of Posthumanity

Anton A van Niekerk

Abstract


The author provides a philosophical and moral evaluation of a number of arguments against and in favour of posthumanism. Some of the arguments explored are: the claim that current evils are necessary to maintain our humanity; Sandel’s association of radical enhancement with the striving for mastery and perfection; psychological concerns about posthumanism; the “simple conservative argument” (Buchanan); the idea of unlimited longevity; as well as possible issues in the relationship between unenhanced people and posthumans. The author defends the idea that radical enhancements are justified in view of the possible lag of natural selection to select desirable/necessary current human traits. He also rejects the idea that “human nature” ought to be regarded as a moral desideratum. His conclusion is that the possibility of radical (also biomedical) human enhancements does not warrant blanket moral approval or disapproval. We ought to see what specific possibilities arise, and then judge those possibilities on their own, specific merit.


Keywords


Enhancement; Genetics; Human nature; Posthumanism; Transhumanism; Simple conservative argument

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2F4848

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