Citizen Cyborg

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A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Citizen Cyborg argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, "democratic transhumanism," by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic and biomedical technologies to make life better for everyone? These technologies hold great promise, but they also pose profound challenges to our health, our culture, and our liberal democratic political system. By allowing humans to become more than human - "posthuman" or "transhuman" - the new technologies will require new answers for the enduring issues of liberty and the common good. What limits should we place on the freedom of people to control their own bodies? Who should own genes and other living things? Which technologies should be mandatory, which voluntary, and which forbidden? For answers to these challenges, Citizen Cyborg proposes a radical return to a faith in the resilience of our democratic institutions.

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What People Are Saying

Dr. Gregory Stock
A challenging and provocative look at the intersection of human self-modification and political governance. Everyone wondering how society will be able to handle the coming possibilities of AI and Genomics should read Citizen Cyborg.
—(Dr. Gregory Stock, author of Redesigning Humans)
John Lantos M.D
A powerful indictment of the anti-rationalist attitudes that are dominating our national policy today. Hughes brings together ideas from religion, history, science, bioethics, and politics in a unique way. The book sparkles with insights, challenges, and new ways of looking at the problems our society is facing today. He is a worthy guide to a more humane future.
—(John Lantos M.D., author of Do We Still Need Doctors)
Joel Garreau
James Hughes is a sober, insightful, useful and optimistic thinker about the astonishing changes in store for human nature. Citizen Cyborg is an important contribution to the rapidly moving debate on human enhancement.
—(Joel Garreau, author of While God Wasn't Watching: The Future of Human Nature)
Gregory Pence
A fascinating tour of the coming intersection of politics, nanotechnology, and biology, by the leading champion of Transhumanism. Anyone who wants to understand the tumultuous bio-politics of the next decade should read this book.
—(Gregory Pence, author of Who's Afraid of Human Cloning, Professor, Philosophy and School of Medicine, University of Alabama Medical School.)
Wesley J. Smith
"Citizen Cyborg is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the dangers posed by radical transhumanism. James Hughes's passionate and skilled advocacy forces us to confront the kind of society we want for ourselves and our children.
—(Wesley J. Smith, author of Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World and Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813341989
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 10/25/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

James Hughes is the producer of the public affairs program, Changesurfer Radio, and the Executive Director of the World Transhumanist Association. He lives in Willington, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

1 Better living through science and democracy 3
2 Controlling the body 11
3 Living longer 23
4 Getting smarter 33
5 Being happier 43
6 From future shock to biopolitics 55
7 Cyborg citizenship 75
8 Defenders of natural law 107
9 Left-wing bioluddites 125
10 Upwingers, extropians and transhumanists 155
11 Democratic transhumanism 187
12 Transhuman democracy 221
13 Defending the future 241
14 A sexy, high-tech vision for a radically democratic future 259
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