Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Overview of technopolitics

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Peut-on aimer un robot (ou une IA) ?

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Philosophy’s Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress
Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

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Doubling Down on the Posthuman

Uppinder Mehan

Ethical Technology

January 29, 2013

In December of 2011 a podcast produced by Radiolab discussed a legal issue involving Marvel characters, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man (although the episode focuses on the X-Men). The "attorneys for a company that imported Marvel character action figures noticed that imported dolls were subject to a higher tax than toys, per the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. More importantly, dolls were distinguished from toys by “representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof.”


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Posted by David Roden  on  01/29  at  09:22 AM

This is an interesting piece, but like many discussions of trans and post humanism it is seriously deficient in assuming that the technological descendants will be human. Humans are the descendants of nonhumans and might well have nonhuman descendants. Bostrom’s conception of the posthuman is parochial: really just that of an amplified human and arguably represents a tiny region of posthuman possibility space. See for example

Posted by Henry Bowers  on  01/30  at  12:21 PM

“if some decide to become enhanced then the competitive pressure would force more and more to seek out the relative advantages of the transhuman. Soon, those who do not have the means or the desire to be enhanced will be regarded as less than human; they will not be part of the new normal.”

This is exactly what the gay marriage movement has spawned:  deciding with the help of law to become enhanced beyond human nature.  Whether genetics and nanotech can achieve this is a philosophical question.  When law purports to achieve it it is plain folly and abject totalitarianism.  In either case, to ignore the self-evident is a mistake. 

Things come-to-be from what they accidentally are not, but coming-to-be is not a movement, since the aformentioned privation of being is non-being per se; therefore, all coming-to-be is instead only a perfection.  This commits us to teleology and a definable essence, and suggests to me that all enhanced humans will remain humans, either invigorated or maimed.

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