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Document Details :
Title: Prometheus Unbound
Subtitle: Transhumanist Arguments from (Human) Nature
Author(s): HAUSKELLER, Michael
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Date: March 2009
Transhumanists, and generally all those who advocate human enhancement as a moral duty, tend to see themselves as representatives of reason who carry the torch of enlightenment into the future. Accordingly, those who find their arguments less persuasive and the idea of making better people less appealing are frequently accused of being agents of mere religious faith and old-fashioned taboos. Those 'bio-conservatives' are scolded for drawing their objections from a normative conception of human nature that is in no way justified. Transhumanism (understood as a philosophy that urges us to support and endorse unlimited human enhancement), however, rests on certain value assumptions that are tied to a particular conception of human nature that is just as normative as the one transhumanists so eloquently attack. The object of this paper is to show, firstly, how transhumanists, sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly, refer to what they think it means to be human in order to justify normative claims about what we ought to do, and secondly, that this reference to human nature is in fact unavoidable.