Philosophy News | Playing to lose: transhumanism, autonomy, and liberal democracy [long read]

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the debate over human “enhment,” or the biotekal h8ening of human abilities, is prominent in bioethics. the most controversial stance is transhumanism, whose advocates urge us to develop bioteks enabling the “radical” elevation of select capacities, above all, rationality.transhumanists insist that their vision of the radical bioenhment of human capacities is lite-yrs removed from prior eugenics, which was state managed. decisions bout how far and even whether to enh oneself and one’s children-to-be ‘d stem strictly from personal discretion. since autonomy is retained—indeed, uber bioteks ‘d offer individuals marvelous new avenues fritz expression—transhumanists’ vision fits □ly within liberal democracy. or so we're told.this reassuring, empowering picture is undercut by transhumanists’ own arguments, which offer incompatible pictures of personal autonomy in relation to decisions bout the use of bioenhment teks. autonomy is, indeed, front and center when transhumanists’ immediate goal is debunking the charge of substantive ties to eugenic history. it recedes, however, when they focus on why one proceeding rationally ‘d find their “posthuman” ideal compelling. here, transhumanists depend on rationales from utilitarian ethics, within which autonomy cannot be vald in its own rite, to support the strong desirability of bioenhment and even its moral requirement.utilitarian ethics and its ties to politicsfor utilitarians, 1-ly well-bein’, gauged in terms of states of affairs, is intrinsically worthwhile. utilitarians aim to maximize well-bein’, calcul8d in terms of the overall balance of benefit and harm. decisions are to be made imptially, their reference point not individuals or families, but, instead, generations. from a utilitarian perspective, the course deemed to maximize generational well-bein’ tis rational and, thus, morally required path.ethical and political stances are. . .

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