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H+/- Transhumanism and Its Critics

H +/- : Transhumanism and Its Critics

Edited by
William Grassie and Gregory Hansell

This book brings together sixteen of the world’s foremost thinkers on the prospects of a radical reshaping of human nature through biotechnologies and artificial intelligence. The often heated debate about transhumanism is an extremely fruitful field for philosophical and theological inquiry.

The last hundred years of human evolution have seen remarkable scientific and technological transformations. If the pace of change continues and indeed accelerates in the twenty-first century, then in short order we will be a much-transformed species on a much-transformed planet. The idea of some fixed human nature, a human essence from which we derive notions of humane dignities and essential human rights, no longer applies in this brave new world of free market evolution.

On what basis then do we make moral judgments and pursue pragmatic ends. Should we try to limit the development of certain sciences and technologies? How would we do so? Is it even possible? Are either traditional religious or Enlightenment values adequate at a speciation horizon between humans and posthumans? Is the ideology of transhumanism dangerous independent of the technology? Is the ideology of the bioconservatives, those who oppose transhumanism, also dangerous and how? Are the new sciences and technologies celebrated by transhumanists realistic or just another form of wishful thinking?

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Humanity Plus or Minus (H±): An Introduction by William Grassie and Gregory R. Hansell

I.    A Critical Historical Perspective on Transhumanism

1.  Engaging Transhumanism, by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

II.   H+   Proponents of Transhumanism

2.  In Defense of Posthuman Dignity, by Nick Bostrom

3.  SENS Statement of Principle, by Aubrey de Grey

4 Bringing Arts/Design into the Discussion of Transhumanism, by Natasha Vita-More

5 Playing by the Rules—or Not? Constructions of Identity in a Posthuman Future, by Sky Marsen

6.  Ship of Fools: Why Transhumanism Is the Best Bet to Prevent the Extinction of Civilization, by Mark Walker

7.  From Mind Loading to Mind Cloning: Gene to Meme to Beme A Perspective on the Nature of Humanity, by Martine Rothblatt

III.   H±    Point-Counterpoint

8. Of Which Human Are We Post? by Don Ihde

9.  True Transhumanism: A Reply to Don Ihde, by Max More

10 Transhumanism and the Posthuman Future: Will Technological Progress Get Us There? by Ted Peters

11.  Trite Truths about Technology: A Reply to Ted Peters, by Russell Blackford

12.  Brains, Selves, and Spirituality in the History of Cybernetics, by Andrew Pickering

13.  Transhumanism: Threat or Menace? A Response to Andrew Pickering, by Michael LaTorra

IV.   H-    Critical Perspectives on Transhumanism

14.  Wrestling with Transhumanism, by Katherine Hayles

15.  Cybernetics Is Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition, by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

16.  Millennialism at the Singularity: Reflections on the Limits of Ray Kurzweil’s Exponential Logic, by William Grassie

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