Human Rights Review 22 (4):525-531 (2021)

Authors
Lantz Fleming Miller
University of Twente
Abstract
Thanks to mounting discussion about projected technologies’ possibly altering the species mentally and physically, philosophical investigation of what human beings are proceeds robustly. Many thinkers contend that whatever we are has little to do with how we should behave. Yet, tampering with what the human being is may tread upon human rights to be whatever one is. Rights given in widely recognized documents such as the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples assume what humans are and need depends upon ontological assumptions about human existence. Godman turns to human ontology—just what kind of beings humans are (from an angle distinct from the other two books) and how these play into rights. She is concerned with how well the social sciences accord with what we are. Gunkel homes in on a more specific moral topic than Godman's general concern with identity’s role in rights: automata moral status and rights. He enjoins us to inquire into what human rights are before we take on the new technologies’ challenge to it. Schneider’s Artificial You, while not explicitly about rights, poses a rights quandary. Certain individuals with reputable resources and practical backing explicitly seek to evolve the species as they see fit. The urgency among these works concerns how we need a sharper idea of what we are, how we should act and be treated, and how our rights fare among potential human improvements.
Keywords human ontology  human rights  epistemology  group rights  robot ethics and rights  transhumanism
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DOI 10.1007/s12142-021-00647-9
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