The Tension Between Human and Cyborg Ethics

The Tension Between Human and Cyborg Ethics

Anne Gerdes (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1882-4.ch002
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Abstract

This article makes no argument against progress but stresses the importance of making it with foresight. The connection between biotechnology, treatment, and enhancement is discussed, stating the need for regulation. Next, the ideas of transhumanism are presented as a framework for an examination of our human condition and it is illustrated that cyborgs will possibly develop other values than Homo sapiens. Thus, the second part of the article discusses what it means to be an ethical being from the perspective of Francis Fukuyama’s ideas of the importance of human nature to our humanity, and further elaborated on by bringing attention to the significance of the vulnerability to moral reasoning. Furthermore, the article suggests a near connection between embodiment and morality. In the light of this assumption, one can ask about ethical values and democratic cohesion in a world with sub-cultures of cyborgs. Thus, John Rawls’ theory of justice is introduced as a framework for reflections about inter-human costs of a posthuman condition. It is concluded that science need democratic regulation, in order to avoid technocratic decision processes, and guidelines for a regulatory body is given.
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Introduction

This article makes no argument against progress but stresses the importance of making it with foresight. In the first part of the article, the connection between biotechnology, treatment and enhancement is discussed, stating the need for regulation, well aware of the fact that it is hard, but not impossible, to draw a firm line between a therapeutically and a enhancing use of biotechnology. Next, the ideas of transhumanism are presented as a framework for an examination of our human condition. Here, it is pinpointed that we cannot know anything essential about basic conditions of cyborg ethics. Still, the idea that the technology-enhanced human being in a cyborgian version will develop other values than Homo sapiens is straightforward. Thus, the second part of the article discusses what it means to be an ethical being from the perspective of Francis Fukuyama’s ideas of the importance of human nature to our humanity (Fukuyama, 2003), and further elaborated on by bringing attention to the significance of our vulnerability to our moral reasoning (Macintyre, 1999). Following this line of argument, the article suggests a near connection between our embodiment morality, viewed as formed by human nature and further shaped through social interaction. Thus, values and norms can be seen as being universally shared by human beings, who, from a phenomenological point of view, have common preconditions for acknowledgement and thus possibility for understanding their fellow humans. In the light of this assumption, one can ask about ethical values and democratic cohesion in a world with sub-cultures of cyborgs? To elaborate on this issue, section 4 introduces John Rawls’ theory of justice (Rawls, 1999) as a framework for reflections about inter-human costs of a posthuman condition. It is concluded that science needs democratic regulation, in order to avoid technocratic decision processes, and guidelines for a deliberative body for regulation is given.

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