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Building Better Humans?

Refocusing the Debate on Transhumanism

Series:

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Kenneth L. Mossman

This is the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary, inter-religious, and critical engagement with transhumanism as a cultural phenomenon, an ideology, and a philosophy. Situating transhumanism in its proper historical context, the essays reflect on transhumanism from the perspectives of several world religions, ponder the feasibility of regulating human enhancement, tease out the philosophical implications of transhumanism, explore the interplay between technology and culture, and expose the scientific limits of transhumanism. Written by scholars of religious studies, philosophy, history, psychology, neuroscience, immunology, engineering, science/technology studies, and law, the volume encourages readers to examine transhumanism seriously and critically because of its ramifications for the future of humanity.

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Part III: Transhumanism and the Human Person

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273 Transhumanist Materialism: A Critique from Immunoneuropsychology Steven A. Hoffman Transhumanism can be viewed as an ideology, a philosophic view, and a tech- nological agenda. Transhumanism insists that we ought to go beyond our current human condition. Presumably, we ought to be prepared for the drastic evolution of the human to a species as far removed from us as we are from the great apes. Accordingly, we have a responsibility to assist in this evolution and we should use nanotechnology and biotechnology, including genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and neurocognitive technologies to enhance the human, eventually leading to the posthuman phase. The agenda of transhumanism is to eliminate disease, improve our physical capacities, enhance intelligence, improve our emo- tional condition, create a happier society for all, and ultimately eliminate aging. In the words of one of the transhumanist Web sites, Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engi- neering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotech- nology and artificial intelligence. The enhancement options being discussed include radical ex- tension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. (Bostrom 2003) By focusing on nanotechnology, biotechnology (including genetic engineering), neurocognitive technologies, and artificial intelligence...

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