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From the natural man to the artificial man

De l’homme naturel à l’homme artificiel

Reflections on the instrumentalisation of the living human in the era of the "biotech revolution"

Réflexions sur l’instrumentalisation du vivant humain à l’ère de la « révolution biotech »

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Published on Monday, December 11, 2017 by João Fernandes

Summary

L’exosquelette de la technique élargit sans cesse les capacités physiques, psychologiques, intellectuelles, mnémotechniques, etc., de l’être humain en prolongeant ou en remplaçant ses organes naturels par des organes artificiels. L’on observe donc une extension et un agrandissement du corps humain à partir des prothèses opératives, sensorielles et cognitives. Si ces « béquilles technologiques » permettent de surmonter les ingratitudes et de « corriger » les imperfections de Dame-nature, il faut cependant craindre l’avènement d’une société constituée d’êtres hybrides et de « créatures vivantes technogènes » (Yves Michaud) qui augmenteraient leurs capacités pour le simple plaisir d’être des surhommes.

Announcement

Argument

The "biotech revolution" (Rifkin, cited by Folscheid, 2006: 232) of recent decades has propelled our civilization into a new era characterized by the manipulation of the living that the scientific journalist Hervé Kempf qualifies of "Biolithic" (Alexandre, 2011: 33). Indeed, with the rise of biotechnologies in particular, the "great convergence of the NBIC" - Nanotechnology, Biology, Computer Science and Cognitive Sciences (Alexandre, 2011: 12) -, man has assumed his own evolution / biological selection to render it more beautiful, stronger, healthier, smarter, etc. By taking control of his future, the biotech man wants to free himself from the Darwinian system that relies on the blind selection of genetic characters. Instead of abandoning humankind's destiny to the slow, blind and erratic work of Mother Nature, the biotechnoscientific utopia is placed under the sign of a progressive temporality whose purpose is to rid the human condition of natural necessities such as disease, old age, pain, death, etc.

The idea of this ontological and ontic remodelling of man is based on two complementary ideas:

- man has a nature (natural nature) that makes him an animal, and this nature can be transformed and increased by resorting to technological creativity;

- man has no nature (human nature), so there is no obstacle to manipulations on his body (Folscheid, 2006: 244).

The biotech man then reduces himself to his only bodily aspect, to a simple combination of cells that can be the object of all kinds of manipulations in order to satisfy the futurological fantasies of the scientist. This biological reductionism, operated by biotechnology, offers humankind enormous possibilities, notably that of improving his genetic heritage, increasing his physical capacities, compensating for his biological degeneration, changing his defective organs by mechanical prostheses, killing death, etc. Why limit our physical, memory, cognitive abilities, when we can radically transform and increase them using all available genetic, biomechanical and computer resources?

The technical optimization of human "nature" progressively replaces natural organs with artificial organs. Thanks to our "technological crutches", we have considerably enriched, improved and increased our natural abilities while "correcting" the imperfections of Nature. We have become Genetically Modified Human Organisms, technogenic beings living in a technosphere constantly evolving towards the infinite. Anthropotechnical utopia, underpinned by the Transhumanist philosophy, makes it possible to re-actualize the fundamental question of Kant: “what is man?”

If this question, apparently outdated, is asked in full scientific modernity, it is because the "biotech revolution" has upset our cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, moral references, etc. Therefore, the man who artificializes his body, not in a therapeutic and palliative perspective, but in order to become a superman, is he still a member of the human community?

By intervening on the human genome to improve and optimize its natural capacities, reduce or eliminate its physical and genetic "anomalies", are we not creating a biological inequality within humanity, which would consist in separating Individuals with healthy genes from those with "degenerated" ones, valid people from the disables? In the United States for example, Fairfax Cryobank Company proposes parents to pay $ 250 to be inseminated by the gametes of a person with a Ph.D. (Benichou, 2006: 133-134). Does this situation not bear testimony to a eugenic desire to control and perfect offspring? Why do we absolutely want to abolish the ambivalence of the human condition? Can the exoskeleton of technology validly replace human sociality and solidarity? What philosophies currently underlie the hyper-technicization of society? Does the desire to be healthier, more beautiful, stronger, more efficient, more perfect, more intelligent, etc., not translate the primacy of a certain egocentric hedonism on the virtues of prudence and temperance? Faced with the many fears raised by the age of the Homo faber, is the preservation of the biological and ontological identity of our species not linked to the advent of the Homo ethicus?

The following non-exhaustive fields can be explored:

  •  Biotechnologies and the question of disability;
  •  The imbrications between the natural organs and the artificial organs;
  •  Transhumanism and the question of improving human essence;
  •  Posthumanism and the question of the end of man;
  •  The optimism of bioprogressists in the face of the pessimism of bioconservatives;
  •  The geronto-technologies;
  •  Techno-Scientific Research and Development and respect for human dignity;
  •  Biotechnological prostheses and unlimited extension of human possibilities;
  •  The legal-ethical regulation of biotechnologies;
  •  The identity of the person to the biotechnological reconstruction of the body;
  •  Eugenics and disability prevention;
  •  Fundamental human rights and biotechnological research;
  •  Biotechnologies and economic inequalities;
  •  Technomedicine and the idea of immortality;
  •  Predictive medicine and perfect health;
  •  Biotechnologies and hedonism;
  •  Biotechnology and utilitarianism;
  •  The lengthening of life expectansy and its quality;
  •  Genetic engineering;
  •  cloning;
  •  Mechanization of living things;
  •  Cosmetic surgery and body remodeling;
  •  Nanotechnologies;
  •  The bionic man;
  •  Natural nature and artificial nature;
  •  The hybridization between man and machine;
  •  Artificial intelligence and neuroscience;
  •  Engineering and cognitive technologies;
  •  ICT and behavioural control, etc.

Bibbiographical references

  •  Alexandre, Laurent (2011). La mort de la mort. Comment la technomédecine va bouleverser l’humanité, Paris, Jean-Claude Lattes.
  •  Folscheid, Dominique (2006). « Fin de l’homme ou post-humanité ? », in Christian Hervé et Jacques-Jean Rozenberg (sld), Vers la fin de l’homme?, De Boeck-Université, pp. 227-248.
  •  Grégory, Benichou (2006). « Comment transformer l’humain en sable », in Christian Hervé et Jacques-Jean Rozenberg (sld), Vers la fin de l’homme?, De Boeck-Université, pp. 127-144.
  •  Michaud, Yves (2001). Humain, inhumain, trop humain. Réflexion sur les biotechnologies, la vie et la conservation de soi à partir de l’œuvre de Peter Sloterdijk, Paris, Climats.

Communication proposal

- Written in French or in English and limited to 500 words, contribution proposals, which can be registered in one of the areas identified above, must be sent before February 15, 2018 to the following addresses: fogou_ana@yahoo.fr; tabekowilliams33@gmail.com. A brief biobibliographic note of the author (150 words maximum) will follow each article project.

Protocol for writing articles

1-Descriptors. Identify 05 descriptors (or keywords) that locate the content (domain, subject, authors, theory, etc.).

2- Summary. Provide a summary of the article clearly outlining the problematic, the methodological orientation and the results of the communication.

3- Quotations. When a quote has more than four lines, indent it (2 cm Left) and italic without quotation marks, followed by the call of the reference (see # 4). Put in brackets [...] the letters and words added or changed in a quote, as well as the ellipses indicating the omission of one or more words. Other citations of less than four lines are embedded in the text, enclosed in quotation marks and without italics.

4- Call references. APA Method (American Psychological Association), i.e (Author, year: page) as follows: (Jonas, 1998: 62)

5- List of references. List the works cited and publications used for reflection; classify them according to the alphabetical order of the authors. Present the references according to the following models; do not forget to indicate the name of the author, the year of publication, the city of publication (publishing house and magazine).

Examples:

- Jonas, Hans (2001). The phenomenon of life. Towards a philosophical biology, trad. D. Lories, Brussels, De Boeck University, "Science, Ethics, Society" collection.

- Bourg, Dominique (2002). "Principle of precaution, instructions for use", in Human Sciences, n ° 124, pp. 28-29.

Example: Flipo, Fabrice (2012). "For the rights of nature", in Mouvements, n ° 70, pp. 122-139. [Online], URL: http://www.cairn.info/publications-de-Flipo-Fabrice--4637.htm (page consulted on May 22, 2014).

6- Length of the article. Fifteen pages at most single-spaced, font 12, Times New Roman character.

Coordinators

1. Anatole FOGOU, Université de Maroua-Cameroun, École normale supérieure, Département de Philosophie

2. Williams Fulbert YOGNO TABEKO, Université de Maroua-Cameroun, Faculté des Arts, Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Département de Philosophie-Psychologie

Subjects

Date(s)

  • Thursday, February 15, 2018

Contact(s)

  • Williams Fulbert Yogno Tabeko
    courriel : tabekowilliams33 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Anatole Fogou
    courriel : fogou_ana [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • Williams Fulbert Yogno Tabeko
    courriel : tabekowilliams33 [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« From the natural man to the artificial man », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, December 11, 2017, https://calenda.org/425157

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