The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism

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9781137433091: The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism
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The 'proactionary principle' was introduced by transhumanists. Whereas precautionaries believe that we are on the brink of environmental catastrophe because we're too willing to take risks, proactionaries believe that humans stand apart from the rest of nature by our capacity for successful risk taking. In terms of current environmental problems, therefore, solutions lie not in turning our backs on our love affair with technology but by intensifying it - through finding new energy sources or even looking at the possibility of inhabiting other worlds.

In this fascinating new book, Steve Fuller and Veronika Lipinska explore attitudes towards the transformation of human nature. They point out that, politically, both those on the right and the left contribute to different sides of the precautionary-proactionary debate, and argue that it will be this distinction, between caution and action, that will come to dominate the political landscape and create new political divisions.

Drawing on perspectives from both theology and biology, and completing a trilogy of works exploring 'Humanity 2.0', Fuller and Lipinska ultimately endorse the proactionary position, which supports individuals taking risks - for example with new health treatments, as they try to expand their life chances. They accept that such a risk-taking culture may result in set-backs and failures, but argue that this simply requires a new conception of the welfare state. The results may be an incredibly diverse society that will challenge our notions of tolerance, creating a world where 'traditional' humans live side by side with those who have artificial organs or have received substantial genetic modification. Humans have yet to treat all 'normal' members of Homo sapiens with proper respect and dignity and the proactionary principle opens up new challenges to our conceptions of equality. The book ends with a Manifesto that draws together the arguments to present a challenging vision for the future.

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"The book's foremost strength is its willingness to address the challenging social justice issues which those on the libertarian side of the transhumanist movement might otherwise overlook. Also greatly commendable is the varied array of material the authors summon to make their case. Accordingly, anyone who identifies with the need for future collectivist and democratic (as opposed to the typical market-driven) strategies for human enhancement, will undoubtedly find this text a well-informed 21st century starting point." - Sociological Imagination

About the Author:

Steve Fuller is Augustus Comte Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK.He is author of eighteen books including Humanity 2.0: What It Means to be Human Past, Present and Future, Dissent over Descent: Intelligent Design's Challenge to Darwinism, Kuhn vs Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science, The Intellectualand Science vs Religion? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

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