...Just as anesthesia, antibiotics and global communication networks transformed our sense of the human condition in fundamental ways, so too we can anticipate that our capacities, hopes and problems will change if the more speculative technologies that transhumanists discuss come to fruition. But apart from vague feelings of disquiet, which we may all share to varying degrees, what specific argument does Fukuyama advance that would justify foregoing the many benefits of allowing people to improve their basic capacities?thinking about humanzee's and mutant mice
Fukuyama's objection is that the defense of equal legal and political rights is incompatible with embracing human enhancement: "Underlying this idea of the equality of rights is the belief that we all possess a human essence that dwarfs manifest differences in skin color, beauty and even intelligence. This essence, and the view that individuals therefore have inherent value, is at the heart of political liberalism. But modifying that essence is the core of the transhumanist project."
His argument thus depends on three assumptions: (1) there is a unique "human essence"; (2) only those individuals who have this mysterious essence can have intrinsic value and deserve equal rights and (3) the enhancements that transhumanists advocate would eliminate this essence. From this, he infers that the transhumanist project would destroy the basis of equal rights.
Monday, 22 November 2004
Is Transhumanism the World's Most Dangerous Idea?
Francis Fukuyama thinks so, but the only real danger it poses is to reactionary bioconservatism