NWI-FFIL215
Upgrading the Human?
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-FFIL215
Credits (ECTS)3
CategoryMA (Master)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; Institute for Science, Innovation and Society;
Lecturer(s)
Lecturer
L. Landeweerd
Other course modules lecturer
Examiner
dr. P.C. Lemmens
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer
dr. P.C. Lemmens
Other course modules lecturer
Coordinator
dr. P.C. Lemmens
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. P.C. Lemmens
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
Period
KW2  (06/11/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
KW2
Course mode
full-time
Remarks-
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Pre-registrationNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Aims
  • The student is familiar with the phenomenon of human enhancement and its possible implications for the future of the human
  • The student is familiar with the most important human enhancement technologies and methods
  • The student has a thorough overview of the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement and is familiar with the most important concepts, issues and positions in this debate
  • The student has a thorough knowledge about the societal and economic drivers behind the human enhancement enterprise and human enhancement research
  • The student has insight in the deeper philosophical and anthropological questions behind the human enhancement enterprise
  • The student is able to position itself with respect to important issues in the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement
  • The student is able to apply the conceptual arsenal offered in this course to concrete cases of human enhancement
Content
Human enhancement is increasingly becoming part of today’s biomedical practice and, consequently, provides an increasingly prominent topic for mainstream ethical deliberation.  It can be broadly be defined as the application of science and technology - in particular so-called NBIC technologies (nano-, bio-, and information technology and the cognitive sciences) for upgrading or improving of human traits and /or capacities and introducing new ones.
Human enhancement technologies include genetic engineering, gene therapy, nootropics (e.g. Modafinil), brain computer interfaces, neuroimplants, tissue engineering, life extension technologies and cryogenics. Systematic application of these technologies in the future may lead, according to both proponents and opponents, to a substantial transformation of human qualities and ultimately perhaps to a change of ‘human nature’ as such (and the appearance of the 'transhuman' or  posthuman ').
In the still highly polarized political and ethical debate on human enhancement so-called ‘bioconservatives’ are still opposed to so-called ‘transhumanists’ but recently more nuanced approaches can be seen to emerge in both camps as well as from more neutral positions.

In this course, we want to initiate students in the ethical, political and philosophical debate on human enhancement and familiarize them with the major issues in this debate. We also want to introduce them into the historical, politico-economic and anthropo(techno)logical dimensions of human enhancement.
 
Level

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
The examination and grading of the course is partly based on participation in discussions: at the end of the course students are expected to write an essay on one of the topics discussed in the course (or a self-chosen topic closely related to the theme of the course). The discussions will generate insights and thematic materials for these essays. In the essays students are to apply the concepts and theories provided in the course.
 
Specifics
  • Attendance is mandatory
Required materials
Learning Management System (Brigthspace)
Texts will be made available via Brightspace.

Instructional modes
Course
Attendance MandatoryYes

Tests
Final Result
Test weight1
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3