Is a baby whose personality has been chosen from a gene supermarket still a human? If we choose what we create what happens to morality? Is this the end of human nature? The dramatic advances in DNA technology over the last few years are the stuff of science fiction. It is now not only possible to clone human beings it is happening. For the first time since the creation of the earth four billion years ago, or the emergence of mankind 10 million years ago, people will be able to choose their children's' sex, height, colour, personality traits and intelligence. It will even be possible to create 'superhumans' by mixing human genes with those of other animals for extra strength or longevity. But is this desirable? What are the moral and political consequences? Will it mean anything to talk about 'human nature' any more? Is this the end of human beings? Our Posthuman Future is a passionate analysis of the greatest political and moral problem ever to face the human race.
A decade after his now-famous pronouncement of "the end of history," Francis Fukuyama argues that as a result of biomedical advances, we are facing the possibility of a future in which our humanity itself will be altered beyond recognition. Fukuyama sketches a brief history of man's changing understanding of human nature: from Plato and Aristotle to the modernity's utopians and dictators who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama argues that the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person's descendants will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken with the best of intentions. In Our Posthuman Future, one of our greatest social philosophers begins to describe the potential effects of genetic exploration on the foundation of liberal democracy: the belief that human beings are equal by nature.
Author: Francis Fukuyama
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2003-05-01
In 1989, Francis Fukuyama made his now-famous pronouncement that because "the major alternatives to liberal democracy had exhausted themselves," history as we knew it had reached its end. Ten years later, he revised his argument: we hadn't reached the end of history, he wrote, because we hadn't yet reached the end of science. Arguing that our greatest advances still to come will be in the life sciences, Fukuyama now asks how the ability to modify human behavior will affect liberal democracy. To re-orient contemporary debate, Fukuyama underlines man's changing understanding of human nature through history: from Plato and Aristotle's belief that man had "natural ends," to the ideals of utopians and dictators of the modern age who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama persuasively argues that the ultimate prize of the biotechnology revolution-intervention in the "germ-line," the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person's descendents-will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken by ordinary parents seeking to "improve" their children. In Our Posthuman Future, our greatest social philosopher begins to describe the potential effects of exploration on the foundation of liberal democracy: the belief that human beings are equal by nature.
Author: Francis Fukuyama
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2006-03-01
Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.
Author: Max More
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2013-03-05
The first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations. Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns. Edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism, The Transhumanist Reader is an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature.
Forget worries about cloning people. In the future, technological advances will bring far more meaningful and controversial changes to our offspring. As scientists rapidly improve their ability to identify, screen and manipulate genes, people will want to protect their future children from diseases, help them live longer and even influence their looks and their abilities. Stock, an expert on the implications of recent advances in reproductive biology, clearly shows that neither governments, nor religious groups will be able to stop the coming trend of choosing an embryo's genes, and that there is little point in even trying.
Author: Harrison Schmitt
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2007-12-28
Former NASA Astronaut Harrison Schmitt advocates a private, investor-based approach to returning humans to the Moon—to extract Helium 3 for energy production, to use the Moon as a platform for science and manufacturing, and to establish permanent human colonies there in a kind of stepping stone community on the way to deeper space. With governments playing a supporting role—just as they have in the development of modern commercial aeronautics and agricultural production—Schmitt believes that a fundamentally private enterprise is the only type of organization capable of sustaining such an effort and, eventually, even making it pay off.
In Should We Live Forever? Christian ethicist Gilbert Meilaender puzzles over the implications of the medical advances that have lengthened the human life span, wrestling with what this quest for living longer means for our conception of living well and completely. As he points out in his introduction, "That we often desire, even greedily desire, longer life is clear; whether what we desire is truly desirable is harder to say." The six chapters of this book take multiple perspectives on issues surrounding aging and invite readers to consider whether "indefinitely more life" is something worth pursuing and, if humans are created for life with God, whether longer life will truly satisfy our underlying hunger.
Author: Francis Fukuyama
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Business & Economics
Experts reflect on the United States experience with nation- building, from its historical underpinnings to its contemporary consequences. The contributors dissect mistakes, false starts, and lessons learned from the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq in the broader context of reconstruction efforts world-wide.
A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Citizen Cyborg argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, "democratic transhumanism," by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic and biomedical technologies to make life better for everyone? These technologies hold great promise, but they also pose profound challenges to our health, our culture, and our liberal democratic political system. By allowing humans to become more than human - "posthuman" or "transhuman" - the new technologies will require new answers for the enduring issues of liberty and the common good. What limits should we place on the freedom of people to control their own bodies? Who should own genes and other living things? Which technologies should be mandatory, which voluntary, and which forbidden? For answers to these challenges, Citizen Cyborg proposes a radical return to a faith in the resilience of our democratic institutions.