CFP: Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Submission deadline: October 1, 2021


Call for Papers: Radical Person Engineering and Philosophy (Special Issue of JEET)

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Radical Person Engineering and Philosophy

Invited Contributors:

  • Nick Agar
  • Russell Blackford

At least since the publication of Jonathan Glover’s What Sort of People Should There Be? (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984), philosophers have investigated the moral and prudential desirability of using advanced technologies, e.g., genetic engineering, advanced pharmacology, and cybernetics, to radically enhance human nature. ‘Radical enhancement’ refers to the idea that one or more of these technologies are powerful enough—or will be in the next few decades—to induce a speciation event: the creation of “posthumans”. Posthumans may be as different from Homo sapiens, as Homo sapiens are from Homo erectus. A number of theorists have contemplated the possibility that such a speciation event may involve a different “substrate”: artificial intelligence of human “uploads” on computer platforms. Some of the potential targets of enhancement include:

  • Longevity
  • Intelligence
  • Emotions
  • Virtue

This special volume of the Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies[1] seeks answers to philosophy’s connection to this possibility. The volume will be organized around two broad questions:

  1. What responsibility, if any, does philosophy have in shaping the use of person engineering technologies?
  2. How might (or should) the development of such technologies affect the discipline of philosophy?

With respect to the first question, the connection with philosophy seems obvious: inquiry into whether we should alter human nature is a normative question that falls under the purview of ethical and political theorizing. Positive answers to the question of radical enhancement invite interrogations about the norms for the use and distribution of such technologies. Negative responses also engage moral and political theorizing. For example, to enforce a ban on the use of these technologies for enhancement purposes will require an unprecedented amount of global cooperation, which invites reflection on how such cooperation might be achieved.

With respect to the second question, many areas of philosophical inquiry develop or presuppose theories of human nature. Appeals to human nature can be found, for example, in the epistemological, ethical, and political theorizing of Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill, to name but a few luminaries. To what extent would radically enhancing human nature vitiate current philosophical theorizing?

Submissions should be prepared for double-blind review. Since this is a wholly online volume, there is no upper bound on the number of papers that will be accepted after passing double-blind review.

Deadline for submission: October 1st, 2021. Notification of acceptance: November 30th, 2021.

Instructions: Articles must be written in English. Each submission should also include a brief abstract of no more than 250 word. For full instructions see the JEET submission page. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Mark Walker, at [email protected]

[1] Formerly, the Journal of Evolution and Technology. The Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies is open access and does not require APC fees. Its low-cost structure is supported by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

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