The human being as an engineering problem: Post-biological evolution, transhumanism and philosophical anthropology | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Dismantling the Anthropocene: Beyond Binary Categorizations
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533

Abstract

The issue of human nature is a perennial question – as obstinate as it is old. Human reflection on the human condition is a defining feature of the experience of being human. In our time, the idea of post-biological evolution, the design paradigm of NBIC-convergence and transhumanism – as a philosophy and a cultural movement – all confront and confound our traditional notions of human nature. Unlike previous challenges to established images of the human being, this re-assessment of human nature has a aspect – for technology now seems poised to finally achieve the age-old aspiration of human control over human nature. At its core, the idea of post-biological evolution assumes the human condition as the object of engineering. The problem of the human being thus becomes an problem, approached from an engineering perspective, which – in an essential way – is design orientated. Hence, the of the human being that underlies the apprehension of ourselves as such an object of engineering, is of vital significance. As such, this paper argues for the relevance of philosophical anthropology within the post-biological discourse.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/tear_00083_1
2022-07-01
2024-02-29
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Armstrong, James. ( 1999;), ‘ Principles of engineering design. ’, Royal Academy of Engineering, https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/other/armstrong-keynote. Accessed 12 July 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bostrom, Nick. ( 2005;), ‘ A history of transhumanist thought. ’, Journal of Evolution and Technology, 14:1, https://jetpress.org/volume14/bostrom.html. Accessed 2 May 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Brumlik, Micha. ( 2016;), ‘ Transhumanism is humanism, and humanism is transhumanism. ’, in J. B. Hurlbut, and H. Tirosh-Samuelson. (eds), Perfecting Human Futures: Transhuman Visions and Technological Imaginations, Wiesbaden:: Springer VS;, pp. 12140.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Ćirković, Milan M.. ( 2018;), ‘ Post-biological evolution?. ’, Futures, 99:1, pp. 2835.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Coeckelbergh, Mark. ( 2013), Human Being @ Risk: Enhancement, Technology, and the Evolution of Vulnerability Transformations, Dordrecht:: Springer;.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Feynman, Richard. ( 1988;), ‘ Richard Feynman’s blackboard at time of his death. ’, California Institute of Technology, https://calisphere.org/item/b3e8d3cb9b8adc01314dba1b1f1fcf84/. Accessed 15 March 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Fischer, Joachim. ( 2009;), ‘ Exploring the core identity of philosophical anthropology through the works of Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, and Arnold Gehlen. ’ (trans. C., Harrison.), Iris, 1:1, pp. 15370.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Fischer, Joachim. ( 2014;), ‘ Philosophical anthropology: A third way between Darwinism and Foucaltism. ’, in J. de Mull. (ed.), Plessner’s philosophical anthropology: Perspectives and Prospects, Chicago:: Chicago University Press;, pp. 456.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Fuller, Steve. ( 2011), Humanity 2.0: What It Means to Be Human, Past, Present and Future, Basingstoke, and New York:: Palgrave Macmillan;.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Gosselin, Mia. ( 2015), Homo Sapiens, a Problematic Species: An Essay in Philosophical Anthropology, Lanham, MD:: University Press of America;.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Ihde, Don. ( 1979), Technics and Praxis, Dordrecht, Boston and London:: D. Reidel Publishing Company;.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Ihde, Don. ( 1993), Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction, New York:: Paragon House Publishers;.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Kroes, Peter. ( 2012), Technical Artefacts: Creations of Mind and Matter, Dordrecht:: Springer;.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Kurzweil, Ray. ( 1999), The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, New York:: Viking;.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Kurzweil, Ray. ( 2001;), ‘ The law of accelerating returns. ’, Kurzweil: Tracking the Acceleration of Intelligence, https://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns. Accessed 31 December 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kurzweil, Ray. ( 2005), The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, New York:: Viking;.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Kurzweil, Ray. ( 2012), How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, New York:: Viking;.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Lee, Newton. ( 2019;), ‘ Brave new world of transhumanism. ’, in N. Lee. (ed.), The Transhumanism Handbook, Cham:: Springer Nature;, pp. 348.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Lombo, José Ange, and Russo, Francesco. ( 2017), Philosophical Anthropology: An Introduction (trans. Rev. J., Socias.), Downers Grove, IL:: Midwest Theological Forum;.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Margolis, Joseph. ( 2013;), ‘ Toward a metaphysics of culture. ’, Human Affairs, 23:4, pp. 47494.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Margolis, Joseph. ( 2014;), ‘ Interview with Joseph Margolis. ’, European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, vi:2, https://journals.openedition.org/ejpap/pdf/301. Accessed 5 March 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Margolis, Joseph. ( 2016), Toward a Metaphysics of Culture, New York:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. More, Max. ( 2013a;), ‘ The philosophy of transhumanism. ’, in M. More, and N. Vita-More. (eds), The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future, Malden, MA:: John Wiley & Sons;, pp. 317.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. More, Max. ( 2013b;), ‘ The proactionary principle. ’, in M. More, and N. Vita-More. (eds), The Transhumanist Reader, Malden, MA:: John Wiley & Sons;, pp. 25867.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Nesbeth, Darren N.. (ed.) ( 2016), Synthetic Biology Handbook, Boca Raton, FL:: Taylor & Francis Group;.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Nordmann, Alfred. ( 2015;), ‘ Synthetic biology at the limits of science. ’, in B. Giese,, A. von Gleich,, C. Pade, and H. Wigger. (eds), Synthetic Biology: Character and Impact, Berlin:: Springer;, pp. 3158.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Pauly, Philip J.. ( 1987), Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology, New York and Oxford:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Roco, Mihail C., and Bainbridge, William Sims. ( 2002;), ‘ Executive summary. ’, in M. C. Roco, and W. S. Bainbridge. (eds), NSF/DOC Sponsored Report: Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science, Dordrecht:: Springer;, pp. ixxii.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Rogers, Gordon F. C.. ( 1983), The Nature of Engineering: A Philosophy of Technology, London and Basingstoke:: The Macmillan Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Schact, Richard. ( 2018;), ‘ Philosophical anthropology: What, why and how. ’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 50:1, pp. 15576.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Scheler, Max. ( [1926] 1958;), ‘ Man and history. ’, in Philosophical Perspectives (trans. and ed. O. A., Haac.), Boston:: Beacon Press;, pp. 6593.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Scheler, Max. ( [1928] 2009), The Human Place in the Cosmos (trans. M. S., Frings.), Evanston, IL:: Northwestern University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Schmidt, Jan Cornelius. ( 2016;), ‘ Prospective technology assessment of synthetic biology: Fundamental and propaedeutic reflections in order to enable an early assessment. ’, Science and Engineering Ethics, 22:4, pp. 115170.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Singularity Group ( 2022;), ‘ Home page. ’, https://www.su.org/. Accessed 25 January 2022.
  35. Thacker, Eugene. ( 2003;), ‘ Data made flesh: Biotechnology and the discourse of the posthuman. ’, Cultural Critique, 53:1, pp. 7297.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Vermaas, Pieter E.. ( 2008;), ‘ Design in engineering an architecture. ’, in P. E. Vermaas,, P. Kroes,, A. Light, and S. Moore. (eds), Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to Architecture, Dordrecht:: Springer Science and Business;, pp. 120.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Vermaas, Pieter E.. ( 2018;), ‘ Engineering design. ’, in J. C. Joseph, and A. Shrew. (eds), Spaces for the Future: A Companion to Philosophy of Technology, New York:: Taylor & Francis;, pp. 196207.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Wilson, Kit. ( 2021;), ‘ We need to talk about transhumanism. ’, The Spectator, https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/we-need-to-talk-about-transhumanism. Accessed 28 January 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Young, Simon. ( 2006), Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto, New York:: Prometheus Books;.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. O Brien, David. ( 2022;), ‘ The human being as an engineering problem: Post-biological evolution, transhumanism and philosophical anthropology. ’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 20:1&2, pp. 7994, https://doi.org/10.1386/tear_00083_1
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1386/tear_00083_1
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error