Dialogue 52 (2):377-394 (2013)

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the difficulties involved in interdisciplinary work on the question of the risks associated with the ethical and social acceptability of human enhancement through the development of nanotechnologies. These difficulties emerge in the context of the debate between transhumanism, whose principal defenders have backgrounds in the natural sciences, and humanism, whose principal defenders have backgrounds in the social sciences and the humanities. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that essentially transhumanists and humanists differ on these questions: the identification of risks and impacts; the assessment that serves as the foundation for the acceptability or unacceptability of these risks and impacts; and faith in the capacity of science to overcome the identified risks to human beings. This paper’s presentation of the divergences that exist in the debate between transhumanism and humanism constitutes a necessary first step towards intervening in that debate in an interdisciplinary manner. L’objectif de cet article est de montrer les difficultés du travail interdisciplinaire sur la question du risque dans l’acceptabilité éthique et sociale de l’amélioration humaine par le développement des nanotechnologies. Ces difficultés émergent du contexte du débat entre le transhumanisme, dont les principaux protagonistes proviennent des sciences de la nature, et l’humanisme, dont les principaux défenseurs proviennent du milieu des sciences humaines et sociales. Notre objectif est de montrer que les positions des transhumanistes et des humanistes diffèrent essentiellement sur plusieurs aspects de la question : l’identification des risques et des impacts, l’évaluation qui fonde l’acceptabilité ou non des risques et des impacts, et la foi en la capacité de la science de surmonter les risques identifiés pour l’être humain. Rendre ces divergences explicites constitue un premier pas nécessaire en vue de pouvoir y intervenir de façon interdisciplinaire.
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217313000607
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References found in this work BETA

Oneself as Another.Paul Ricoeur & Kathleen Blamey - 1992 - Religious Studies 30 (3):368-371.
A History of Transhumanist Thought.Nick Bostrom - 2005 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1):1-25.

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