- The student is familiar with the phenomenon of human enhancement and its possible implications for the future of the human
- The student is familiar with the most important human enhancement technologies and methods
- The student has a thorough overview of the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement and is familiar with the most important concepts, issues and positions in this debate
- The student has a thorough knowledge about the societal and economic drivers behind the human enhancement enterprise and human enhancement research
- The student has insight in the deeper philosophical and anthropological questions behind the human enhancement enterprise
- The student is able to position itself with respect to important issues in the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement
- The student is able to apply the conceptual arsenal offered in this course to concrete cases of human enhancement
Human enhancement is increasingly becoming part of today’s biomedical practice and, consequently, provides an increasingly prominent topic for mainstream ethical deliberation. It can be broadly be defined as the application of science and technology - in particular so-called NBIC technologies (nano-, bio-, and information technology and the cognitive sciences) for upgrading or improving of human traits and /or capacities and introducing new ones.|
Human enhancement technologies include genetic engineering, gene therapy, nootropics (e.g. Modafinil), brain computer interfaces, neuroimplants, tissue engineering, life extension technologies and cryogenics. Systematic application of these technologies in the future may lead, according to both proponents and opponents, to a substantial transformation of human qualities and ultimately perhaps to a change of ‘human nature’ as such (and the appearance of the 'transhuman' or posthuman ').
In the still highly polarized political and ethical debate on human enhancement so-called ‘bioconservatives’ are still opposed to so-called ‘transhumanists’ but recently more nuanced approaches can be seen to emerge in both camps as well as from more neutral positions.
In this course, we want to initiate students in the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement and familiarize them with the major issues in this debate. We also want to introduce them into the historical, politico-economic and anthropo(techno)logical dimensions of human enhancement.