64 found
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  1. Can ‘eugenics’ be defended?Francesca Minerva, Diana S. Fleischman, Peter Singer, Nicholas Agar, Jonathan Anomaly & Walter Veit - 2021 - Monash Bioethics Review 39 (1):60-67.
    In recent years, bioethical discourse around the topic of ‘genetic enhancement’ has become increasingly politicized. We fear there is too much focus on the semantic question of whether we should call particular practices and emerging bio-technologies such as CRISPR ‘eugenics’, rather than the more important question of how we should view them from the perspective of ethics and policy. Here, we address the question of whether ‘eugenics’ can be defended and how proponents and critics of enhancement should engage with each (...)
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  2.  63
    Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2010 - Bradford.
    Proposals to make us smarter than the greatest geniuses or to add thousands of years to our life spans seem fit only for the spam folder or trash can. And yet this is what contemporary advocates of radical enhancement offer in all seriousness. They present a variety of technologies and therapies that will expand our capacities far beyond what is currently possible for human beings. In _Humanity's End,_ Nicholas Agar argues against radical enhancement, describing its destructive consequences. Agar examines the (...)
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  3. Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2004 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    In this provocative book, philosopher Nicholas Agar defends the idea that parents should be allowed to enhance their children’s characteristics. Gets away from fears of a Huxleyan ‘Brave New World’ or a return to the fascist eugenics of the past Written from a philosophically and scientifically informed point of view Considers real contemporary cases of parents choosing what kind of child to have Uses ‘moral images’ as a way to get readers with no background in philosophy to think about moral (...)
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  4.  52
    Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2004 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    In this provocative book, philosopher Nicholas Agar defends the idea that parents should be allowed to enhance their children’s characteristics. Gets away from fears of a Huxleyan ‘Brave New World’ or a return to the fascist eugenics of the past Written from a philosophically and scientifically informed point of view Considers real contemporary cases of parents choosing what kind of child to have Uses ‘moral images’ as a way to get readers with no background in philosophy to think about moral (...)
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  5.  87
    Humanity's End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - Bradford.
    Proposals to make us smarter than the greatest geniuses or to add thousands of years to our life spans seem fit only for the spam folder or trash can. And yet this is what contemporary advocates of radical enhancement offer in all seriousness. They present a variety of technologies and therapies that will expand our capacities far beyond what is currently possible for human beings. In _Humanity's End,_ Nicholas Agar argues against radical enhancement, describing its destructive consequences. Agar examines the (...)
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  6.  97
    Truly Human Enhancement: A Philosophical Defense of Limits.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - MIT Press.
    Nicholas Agar offers a more nuanced view of the transformative potential of genetic and cybernetic technologies, making a case for moderate human enhancement—improvements to attributes and abilities that do not significantly exceed what ...
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  7.  43
    Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution.Nicholas Agar & Francis Fukuyama - 2002 - Hastings Center Report 32 (6):39.
    Francis Fukuyama's controversial new book, Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, has elicited varied reactions, but like it or not, it seems likely to be influential. Here are three opinions. —Ed.
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  8.  82
    Liberal eugenics.Nicholas Agar - 1998 - Public Affairs Quarterly 12 (2):137-155.
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  9. Why We Should Defend Gene Editing as Eugenics.Nicholas Agar - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (1):9-19.
    Abstract:This paper considers the relevance of the concept of “eugenics,”—a term associated with some of the most egregious crimes of the twentieth century—to the possibility of editing human genomes. The author identifies some uses of gene editing as eugenics but proposes that this identification does not suffice to condemn them. He proposes that we should distinguish between “morally wrong” practices, which should be condemned, and “morally problematic” practices that call for solutions, and he suggests that eugenic uses of gene editing (...)
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  10. Why is it possible to enhance moral status and why doing so is wrong?Nicholas Agar - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (2):67-74.
    This paper presents arguments for two claims. First, post-persons, beings with a moral status superior to that of mere persons, are possible. Second, it would be bad to create such beings. Actions that risk bringing them into existence should be avoided. According to Allen Buchanan, it is possible to enhance moral status up to the level of personhood. But attempts to improve status beyond that fail for want of a target - there is no category of moral status superior to (...)
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  11. What do frogs really believe?Nicholas Agar - 1993 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):1-12.
  12.  91
    Moral bioenhancement is dangerous.Nicholas Agar - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (4):343-345.
  13.  31
    Life's Intrinsic Value: Science, Ethics, and Nature.Nicholas Agar - 2001 - Columbia University Press.
    Are bacteriophage T4 and the long-nosed elephant fish valuable in their own right? Nicholas Agar defends an affirmative answer to this question by arguing that anything living is intrinsically valuable. This claim challenges received ethical wisdom according to which only human beings are valuable in themselves. The resulting biocentric or life-centered morality forms the platform for an ethic of the environment. -/- Agar builds a bridge between the biological sciences and what he calls "folk" morality to arrive at a workable (...)
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  14.  81
    How to Treat Machines that Might Have Minds.Nicholas Agar - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):269-282.
    This paper offers practical advice about how to interact with machines that we have reason to believe could have minds. I argue that we should approach these interactions by assigning credences to judgements about whether the machines in question can think. We should treat the premises of philosophical arguments about whether these machines can think as offering evidence that may increase or reduce these credences. I describe two cases in which you should refrain from doing as your favored philosophical view (...)
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  15.  54
    A question about defining moral bioenhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (6):369-370.
    David DeGrazia1 offers, to my mind, a decisive response to the bioconservative suggestion that moral bioenhancement threatens human freedom or undermines its value. In this brief commentary, I take issue with DeGrazia's way of defining MB. A different concept of MB exposes a danger missed by his analysis.Two ways to define MBDeGrazia presents MB as a form of enhancement directed at moral capacities. There are, in the philosophical literature, two broad approaches to defining human enhancement. Simplifying somewhat, one account identifies (...)
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  16.  15
    The Sceptical Optimist: Why Technology Isn't the Answer to Everything.Nicholas Agar - 2015 - Oxford: Oxford University Press UK.
    The rapid developments in technologies -- especially computing and the advent of many 'smart' devices, as well as rapid and perpetual communication via the Internet -- has led to a frequently voiced view which Nicholas Agar describes as 'radical optimism'. Radical optimists claim that accelerating technical progress will soon end poverty, disease, and ignorance, and improve our happiness and well-being. Agar disputes the claim that technological progress will automatically produce great improvements in subjective well-being. He argues that radical optimism 'assigns (...)
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  17. Whereto transhumanism? The literature reaches a critical mass.Nicholas Agar - 2007 - Hastings Center Report 37 (3):12-17.
  18.  97
    Biocentrism and the concept of life.Nicholas Agar - 1997 - Ethics 108 (1):147-168.
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  19. Ray Kurzweil and Uploading: Just Say No!Nicholas Agar - 2011 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 22 (1):23-36.
    There is a debate about the possibility of mind-uploading – a process that purportedly transfers human minds and therefore human identities into computers. This paper bypasses the debate about the metaphysics of mind-uploading to address the rationality of submitting yourself to it. I argue that an ineliminable risk that mind-uploading will fail makes it prudentially irrational for humans to undergo it.
     
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  20.  47
    Still afraid of needy post-persons.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (2):81-83.
    I want to thank all of those who have commented on my article in the Journal of Medical Ethics.1 The commentaries address a wide cross-section of the issues raised in my article. I have organised my responses thematically.The state of playAllen Buchanan's scepticism2 about moral statuses higher than personhood derives, in part, from our apparent inability to describe them. We seem to have little difficulty in imagining what it might be to have scientific understanding far beyond that of any human (...)
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  21. Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome1.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Bioethics 9 (1):1-15.
    My focus in this paper is the question of the moral acceptability of attempts to modify the human genome. Much of the debate in this area has revolved around the distinction between supposedly therapeutic modification on the one hand, and eugenic modification on the other. In the first part of the paper I reject some recent arguments against genetic engineering. In the second part I seek to distinguish between permissible and impermissible forms of intervention in such a way that does (...)
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  22.  15
    Valuing Species and Valuing Individuals.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Environmental Ethics 17 (4):397-415.
    My goal in this paper is to account for the value of species in terms of the value of individual organisms that make them up. Many authors have pointed to an apparent conflict between a species preservationist ethic and moral theories that place value on individuals. I argue for an account of the worth of individual organisms grounded in the representational goals of those organisms. I claim thatthis account leads to an acceptably extensive species preservationist ethic.
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  23.  60
    Moral Bioenhancement and the Utilitarian Catastrophe.Nicholas Agar - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (1):37-47.
  24.  10
    On the Prudential Irrationality of Mind Uploading.Nicholas Agar - 2014-08-11 - In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Intelligence Unbound. Wiley. pp. 146–160.
    For Ray Kurzweil, artificial intelligence (AI) is not just about making artificial things intelligent; it's also about making humans artificially superintelligent. The author challenges Kurzweil's predictions about the destiny of the human mind. He argues that it is unlikely ever to be rational for human beings to upload their minds completely onto computers. The author uses the term “mind uploading” to describe two processes. Most straightforwardly, it describes the one‐off event when a fully biological being presses a button and instantaneously (...)
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  25.  71
    Valuing Species and Valuing Individuals.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Environmental Ethics 17 (4):397-415.
    My goal in this paper is to account for the value of species in terms of the value of individual organisms that make them up. Many authors have pointed to an apparent conflict between a species preservationist ethic and moral theories that place value on individuals. I argue for an account of the worth of individual organisms grounded in the representational goals of those organisms. I claim thatthis account leads to an acceptably extensive species preservationist ethic.
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  26.  49
    We should eliminate the concept of disease from mental health.Nicholas Agar - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (9):591-591.
    Russell Powell and Eric Scarffe1 are pluralists about disease. They offer their thickly normative account to meet the needs of doctors, but they allow that a different concept of disease might work better for zoologists. In this commentary, I grant that Powell and Scarffe’s thickly normative evaluation of biological dysfunction works well in many medicinal contexts. Powell and Scarffe respond effectively to eliminativists—we should retain the concept of disease. But the paper’s pluralism and focus on the specific needs of institutions (...)
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  27.  46
    We must not create beings with moral standing superior to our own.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (11):709-709.
    Ingmar Persson challenges1 an argument in my book Humanity's End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement2 that harms predictably suffered by unenhanced humans justify banning radical enhancement. Here I understand radical enhancement as producing beings with mental and physical capacities that greatly exceed those of the most capable current human. I called these results of radical enhancement posthumans, though I think that Persson may be right that this is not the most felicitous name for them.The focus of my argument was (...)
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  28. Functionalism and personal identity.Nicholas Agar - 2003 - Noûs 37 (1):52-70.
    Sydney Shoemaker has claimed that functionalism, a theory\nabout mental states, implies a certain theory about the\nidentity over time of persons, the entities that have\nmental states. He also claims that persons can survive a\n"Brain-State-Transfer" procedure. My examination of these\nclaims includes description and analysis of imaginary\ncases, but--notably--not appeals to our "intuitions"\nconcerning them. It turns out that Shoemaker's basic\ninsight is correct. But there is no implication that it is\nnecessary. (edited).
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  29.  63
    Embryonic potential and stem cells.Nicholas Agar - 2007 - Bioethics 21 (4):198–207.
    ABSTRACT This paper examines three arguments that use the concept of potential to identify embryos that are morally suitable for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). According to the first argument, due to Ronald Green, the fact that they are scheduled for disposal makes embryos left over from IVF treatments morally appropriate for research. Paul McHugh argues that embryos created by somatic cell nuclear transfer differ from those that result directly from the meeting of sperm and egg in having potential especially (...)
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  30.  31
    Transformative change in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.Nicholas Agar - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (3):279-286.
    Transformation is a memorable feature of some of the most iconic works of science fiction. These works feature characters who begin as humans and change into radically different kinds of being. This paper examines transformative change in the context of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movies. I discuss how humans should approach the prospect of being body snatched. I argue that we shouldn’t welcome the transformation even if we are convinced that we will have very positive experiences as pod (...)
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  31. Don't Worry about Superintelligence.Nicholas Agar - 2016 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 26 (1):73-82.
    This paper responds to Nick Bostrom’s suggestion that the threat of a human-unfriendly superintelligenceshould lead us to delay or rethink progress in AI. I allow that progress in AI presents problems that we are currently unable to solve. However; we should distinguish between currently unsolved problems for which there are rational expectations of solutions and currently unsolved problems for which no such expectation is appropriate. The problem of a human-unfriendly superintelligence belongs to the first category. It is rational to proceed (...)
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  32.  17
    Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems.Immaculada de Melo Martin, Valentina Urbanek, David Frank, William Kabasenche, Nicholas Agar, S. Matthew Liao, Anders Sandberg, Rebecca Roache, Allen Thompson, Stephen Jackson, Donald S. Maier, Nicole Hassoun, Benjamin Hale, Sune Holm & Scott Simmons (eds.) - 2013 - Lanham: Lexington Books.
    Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems consists of thirteen chapters that address the ethical issues raised by technological intervention and design across a broad range of biological and ecological systems. Among the technologies addressed are geoengineering, human enhancement, sex selection, genetic modification, and synthetic biology.
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  33. Eugenesia Liberal.Nicholas Agar - 2012 - Signos Filosóficos 14 (28):145-170.
    El artículo ofrece una interpretación de la controversial y aparentemente inaceptable caracterización de la poesía desarrollada por Platón en la República. Los objetivos principales de la discusión son: aclarar las motivaciones de dicha caracterización, desentrañar los múltiples y discontinuos argumentos que la componen, y evaluar críticamente sus aciertos y sus límites. Se concluye que no todas las posturas que adopta Platón frente a la poesía son insostenibles, y que cuando sí lo son las razones para ello resultan particularmente esclarecedoras. The (...)
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  34. Cloning and identity.Nicholas Agar - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (1):9 – 26.
    Critics of human cloning allege that the results of the process are likely to suffer from compromised identities making it near impossible for them to live worthwhile lives. This paper uses the account of the metaphysics of personal identity offered by Derek Parfit to investigate and support the claim of identity-compromise. The cloned person may, under certain circumstances, be seen as surviving, to some degree, in the clone. However, I argue that rather than warranting concern, the potential for survival by (...)
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  35.  17
    How to insure against utilitarian overconfidence.Nicholas Agar - 2014 - Monash Bioethics Review 32 (3-4):162-171.
    This paper addresses two examples of overconfident presentations of utilitarian moral conclusions. First, there is Peter Singer’s widely discussed claim that if the consequences of a medical experiment are sufficiently good to justify the use of animals, then we should be prepared to perform the experiment on human beings with equivalent mental capacities. Second, I consider defences of infanticide or after-birth abortion. I do not challenge the soundness of these arguments. Rather, I accuse those who seek to translate these conclusions (...)
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  36. Eugenics.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell.
     
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  37. There Is a Legitimate Place for Human Genetic Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2014 - In Arthur L. Caplan & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary debates in bioethics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 25--343.
  38.  63
    Why we can't really say what post-persons are.Nicholas Agar - 2012 - Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (3):144-145.
  39.  6
    A Pragmatic Optimism About Enhancement Technologies.Nicholas Agar - 2004 - In Liberal Eugenics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 20–38.
    This chapter contains section titled: Will We be Able to Clone Geniuses? Human Genomics and the Search for Smart Genes Doogie's Downside Nuclear Powered Vacuum Cleaners or Nuclear Bombs A Pragmatic Optimism about Enhancement Technologies.
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  40.  25
    Agar's Review of Katz.Nicholas Agar - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (2):301-301.
  41.  27
    Commentary: The Implementation Ethics of Moral Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (1):55-61.
  42.  2
    Enhanced Humans When?Nicholas Agar - 2004 - In Liberal Eugenics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 158–175.
    This chapter contains section titled: The Precautionary Principle and Enhancement Technologies The Real Problem with Developing Enhancement Technologies A Clash of Moral Gestalts The Biotechnological Catch‐22 Once we have Traversed the Ethically Impossible Passage….
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  43.  41
    Erratum to: On the irrationality of mind-uploading: a reply to Neil Levy.Nicholas Agar - 2014 - AI and Society 29 (1):137-137.
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  44.  7
    Genius Sperm, Eugenics and Enhancement Technologies.Nicholas Agar - 2004 - In Liberal Eugenics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 1–19.
    This chapter contains section titled: Two Kinds of Eugenics Technological Possibilities Moral Perplexities Hither Posthumanity?
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  45.  70
    Human Enhancement and the Story of Job.Nicholas Agar & Johnny Mcdonald - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (3):449-458.
    :This article explores some implications of the concept of transformative change for the debate about human enhancement. A transformative change is understood to be one that significantly alters the value an individual places on his or her experiences or achievements. The clearest examples of transformative change come from science fiction, but the concept can be illuminatingly applied to the enhancement debate. We argue that it helps to expose a threat from too much enhancement to many of the things that make (...)
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  46. Human vs. posthuman-Reply.Nicholas Agar - 2007 - Hastings Center Report 37 (5):5-6.
  47.  2
    Making Moral Images of Biotechnology.Nicholas Agar - 2004 - In Liberal Eugenics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 39–63.
    This chapter contains section titled: Utilitarian and Kantian Advice about Enhancement Moral Images and Moral Consistency Midgley's Scepticism about Consistency Harvesting Stem Cells: Research or Therapy? Are Enhancement Technologies wrong because they are ‘Yucky’? Why Food is Different Are Enhancement Technologies Wrong because they will Destroy Meaning?
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  48.  5
    Our Postliberal Future?Nicholas Agar - 2004 - In Liberal Eugenics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 132–157.
    This chapter contains section titled: Two Biotechnological Tendencies: Polarization and Homogenization Distributing Access to Enhancement Technologies Reducing the Burden of Universal Access Biotechnology's Threat to Citizenship The Importance of Reciprocity The Threat of Homogenization Prejudice and Enhancement Kitcher and Buchanan Et Al. on Resisting Morally Defective Environments A Parallel Between GM Humans and GM Food The Ethics of Shifting Bigotry's Burden.
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  49. Radical enhancement and what's wrong with it.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - In Ronald L. Sandler & John Basl (eds.), Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems. Lexington Books.
     
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  50.  8
    Reply to Black.Nicholas Agar - 2014 - In Arthur L. Caplan & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary debates in bioethics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 25--363.
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