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Truly Human EnhancementA Philosophical Defense of Limits$
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Nicholas Agar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026635

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026635.001.0001

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What Interest Do We Have in Superhuman Feats?

What Interest Do We Have in Superhuman Feats?

Chapter:
(p.33) 3 What Interest Do We Have in Superhuman Feats?
Source:
Truly Human Enhancement
Author(s):

Nicholas Agar

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262026635.003.0003

Should we pursue superhuman feats by means of genetic or cybernetic technologies? An interest in superhuman feats seems to conform to the objective ideal. The greater the degree of enhancement enabled by the application of genetic or cybernetic technologies to our bodies and minds, the more impressive will be our physical and mental feats. There is, however, another kind of value that we attach to our capacities which follows the anthropocentric ideal. This mode of evaluation assigns increasing value to enhancements of our capacities across and somewhat beyond the normal human range. However, somewhere beyond that range it assigns decreasing value. I use examples of athletic achievement to illustrate this way of valuing. Radical enhancement brings the objective and anthropocentric ideals into conflict. We do not, as a practical matter, have to resolve this conflict by selecting either the objective or the anthropocentric ideals to guide our deliberations about enhancement. There are ways to procure many of the goods that track the objective ideal that do not involve enhancing human capacities. They are likely to be more effective at providing many of the goods that motivate the radical enhancement of human capacities.

Keywords:   Simulation theory, Erythropoietin, Transformative change, Extended mind

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