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Am J Bioeth. 2010 Jul;10(7):45-52. doi: 10.1080/15265161003728795.

Human dignity and transhumanism: do anthro-technological devices have moral status?

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Departments of Clinical Sciences and Psychiatry, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9070, USA.


In this paper, I focus on the concept of human dignity and critically assess whether such a concept, as used in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, is indeed a useful tool for bioethical debates. However, I consider this concept within the context of the development of emerging technologies, that is, with a particular focus on transhumanism. The question I address is not whether attaching artificial limbs or enhancing particular traits or capacities would dehumanize or undignify persons but whether nonbiological entities introduced into or attached to the human body contribute to the "augmentation" of human dignity. First, I outline briefly how the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights uses the concept of dignity. Second, I look at the possibility of a universal bioethics in relation to the concept of human dignity. Third, I examine the concept of posthuman dignity and whether the concept of human dignity as construed in the declaration has any relevance to posthuman dignity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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