List journal issues    
Home List journal issues Table of contents Subscribe to PAQ


Volume 25 • Number 1

January 2011



A Tory and Liberal Spar on the Ethics of a Posthuman Future

by Rita Risser

In her Massey lecture series "The Ethical Imagination," bioethicist Margaret Somerville argues that we humans have a moral duty to preserve what is most basic to being human, namely, the human form itself. We should not, therefore, tolerate the development and application of technologies in the life sciences (including genetics, reproductive technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and so on) in ways that would result in radically altering the human form. The concern, here, is not simply with human enhancement. The concern is more specific: we should not tolerate the development and application of the technosciences, for either health or enhancement, that would alter the natural identity of the human species—as when, for example, an individual's germline cells are altered in the treatment of a condition, or when human bodies are integrated with technology to create cyborgs. With such alterations, over time the human form could be lost altogether in the creation of a posthuman form.

view PDF



Home | Issue Index
© 2011 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Content in Public Affairs Quarterly is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the Public Affairs Quarterly database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Public Affairs Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-0542