The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future

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The first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking

The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations. Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns. Edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism, The Transhumanist Reader is an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature.

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About the author

Max More, PhD is President and CEO of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the world’s leading cryonics organization. An internationally acclaimed strategic philosopher, Dr. More is recognized for his thinking on the philosophical and cultural implications of emerging technologies.

Natasha Vita-More, PhD is a leading expert on human enhancement and emerging and speculative technologies and is a Professor at the University of Advancing Technology. Dr. Vita-More’s writings have appeared in Technoetic Arts: Journal of Speculative Research, Metaverse Creativity and The Global Spiral. She has appeared in numerous televised documentaries on media design, culture, and the future.

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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Mar 5, 2013
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9781118555996
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Ethics
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Reprogenetic technologies, which combine the power of reproductive techniques with the tools of genetic science and technology, promise prospective parents a remarkable degree of control to pick and choose the likely characteristics of their offspring. Not only can they select embryos with or without particular genetically-related diseases and disabilities but also choose embryos with non-disease related traits such as sex. Prominent authors such as Agar, Buchanan, DeGrazia, Green, Harris, Robertson, Savulescu, and Silver have flocked to the banner of reprogenetics. For them, increased reproductive choice and reduced suffering through the elimination of genetic disease and disability are just the first step. They advocate use of these technologies to create beings who enjoy longer and healthier lives, possess greater intellectual capacities, and are capable of more refined emotional experiences. Indeed, Harris and Savulescu in particular take reprogenetic technologies to be so valuable to human beings that they have insisted that their use is not only morally permissible but morally required. Rethinking Reprogenetics challenges this mainstream view with a contextualised, gender-attentive philosophical perspective. De Melo-Martín demonstrates that you do not have to be a Luddite, social conservative, or religious zealot to resist the siren song of reprogenetics. Pointing out the flawed nature of the arguments put forward by the technologies' proponents, Rethinking Reprogenetics reveals the problematic nature of the assumptions underpinning current evaluations of these technologies and offers a framework for a more critical and sceptical assessment.
From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
In this heartfelt memoir from one of the youngest recipients of the transorbital lobotamy, Howard Dully shares the story of a painfully dysfunctional childhood, a misspent youth, his struggle to claim the life that was taken from him, and his redemption.

At twelve, Howard Dully was guilty of the same crimes as other boys his age: he was moody and messy, rambunctious with his brothers, contrary just to prove a point, and perpetually at odds with his parents. Yet somehow, this normal boy became one of the youngest people on whom Dr. Walter Freeman performed his barbaric transorbital—or ice pick—lobotomy.

Abandoned by his family within a year of the surgery, Howard spent his teen years in mental institutions, his twenties in jail, and his thirties in a bottle. It wasn’t until he was in his forties that Howard began to pull his life together. But even as he began to live the “normal” life he had been denied, Howard struggled with one question: Why?

There were only three people who would know the truth: Freeman, the man who performed the procedure; Lou, his cold and demanding stepmother who brought Howard to the doctor’s attention; and his father, Rodney. Of the three, only Rodney, the man who hadn’t intervened on his son’s behalf, was still living. Time was running out. Stable and happy for the first time in decades, Howard began to search for answers.

Through his research, Howard met other lobotomy patients and their families, talked with one of Freeman’s sons about his father’s controversial life’s work, and confronted Rodney about his complicity. And, in the archive where the doctor’s files are stored, he finally came face to face with the truth.

Revealing what happened to a child no one—not his father, not the medical community, not the state—was willing to protect, My Lobotomy exposes a shameful chapter in the history of the treatment of mental illness. Yet, ultimately, this is a powerful and moving chronicle of the life of one man.

Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature—to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature? The Case against Perfection explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda. In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America’s preeminent moral and political thinkers.
A doctor discovers the surprising truth about marijuana

No substance on earth is as hotly debated as marijuana. Opponents claim it’s dangerous, addictive, carcinogenic, and a gateway to serious drug abuse. Fans claim it as a wonder drug, treating cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines, PTSD, and insomnia. Patients suffering from these conditions need—and deserve—hard facts based on medical evidence, not hysteria and superstition.

In Stoned, palliative care physician Dr. David Casarett sets out to do anything—including experimenting on himself—to find evidence of marijuana’s medical potential. He smears mysterious marijuana paste on his legs and samples pot wine. He poses as a patient at a seedy California clinic and takes lessons from an artisanal hash maker. In conversations with researchers, doctors, and patients around the world he learns how marijuana works—and doesn’t—in the real world.

Dr. Casarett unearths tales of near-miraculous success, such as a child with chronic seizures who finally found relief in cannabidiol oil. In Tel Aviv, he learns of a nursing home that’s found success giving marijuana to dementia patients. On the other hand, one patient who believed marijuana cured her lung cancer has clearly been misled. As Casarett sifts the myth and misinformation from the scientific evidence, he explains, among other things:

• Why marijuana might be the best treatment option for some types of pain
• Why there’s no significant risk of lung damage from smoking pot
• Why most marijuana-infused beer or wine won’t get you high

Often humorous, occasionally heartbreaking, and full of counterintuitive conclusions, Stoned offers a compassionate and much-needed medical practitioner’s perspective on the potential of this misunderstood plant.
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