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Humanity's EndWhy We Should Reject Radical Enhancement$
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Nicholas Agar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014625

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014625.001.0001

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Radical Enhancement and Posthumanity

Radical Enhancement and Posthumanity

(p.17) 2 Radical Enhancement and Posthumanity
Humanity's End

Nicholas Agar

The MIT Press

This chapter addresses an implication of radical enhancement that is obscured in some of the more lighthearted presentations of the idea. Radically enhanced beings are not only significantly better than us in various ways, they are different from us—so different that they do not deserve to be called human. Moderate enhancement raises serious moral issues; advocates of radical enhancement are divided on the question of whether our humanity can withstand radical enhancement. Some—compatibilists such as Huxley and Kurzweil—hold that radical enhancement is compatible with our humanity. Incompatibilists like Nick Bostrom and James Hughes, by contrast, emphasize just how different from us radically enhanced beings will be. The chapter argues that although it is not logically necessary that a human who has been radically enhanced will become a nonhuman, it is likely that he or she will.

Keywords:   radical enhancement, radically enhanced beings, moderate enhancement, humanity, Huxley, Kurzweil, compatibilists, Nick Bostrom, James Hughes, incompatibilists

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