UZH News

From human to posthuman? Ethical inquiries regarding the radical transformation of human beings into different kinds of beings (International Exploratory Workshop)

Montag, 29. Januar 2018, 09:00 Uhr bis
Mittwoch, 31. Januar 2018, 17:30 Uhr

Following our 2016 workshop on “Enhancement & Ethics in the Movies of Andrew Niccol”, this international workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars (from philosophy, bioethics, literature, media and/or film studies) to meet at the University of Zurich to discuss the moral and prudential implications of technologies that have the potential to turn humans into different kinds of being.

Today’s cybernetic and genetic technologies are forerunners of tomorrow’s transformative technologies. We plan to expand the academic and popular reach of the workshop by considering transformation in the context of science fiction. To do so we will encourage the analysis of the use of imagery found in different stories such as for instance in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the Borg in Star Trek, Cybermen in Dr Who, Zombies in The Walking Dead, AI in Her, Ex Machina, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc.

The workshop will use the imagery of these stories as a way to explore the ethical issues regarding radical enhancement (enhancing to a point as to becoming something ontologically different), but also issues in the prudential rationality of significant change.

A feature of these transformations is that the original individual survives as a different kind of being. He or she is not killed and replaced by another individual that may resemble him or her in significant ways. One philosophical debate for which the issue of transformation assumes great importance is the debate about human enhancement. With a few exceptions, the transformations of science fiction seem to make their subjects worse off. We don’t envy humans who have become posthumans, cybermen or zombies. A group of thinkers who call themselves transhumanists are enthusiastic about transformations that might turn humans into posthumans, beings with cognitive and physical capacities that radically exceed those of humans. We hope to use science fiction as a source of case studies to consider the morality or prudential rationality of these seemingly positive changes.

Please register by email to E-Mail before January 10, 2018 with name, title and affiliation. Limited number of participants. There is no registration fee.

This international workshop is supported by the SNF

Mit- Prof. Nick Agar (Philosophy, University of Wellington)
- Prof. Michael Hauskeller (Philosophy, University of Liverpool)
- Marcello Ienca (Bioethics, ETHZ)
- Dr. Nicole Vincent (Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and Philosophy, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia )
- Dr. Johann Roduit (Bioethics, University of Zurich)
- Dr. Simon Spiegel (Film Studies, University of Zurich)
- Dr. Vincent Menuz (Bioethics, University of Zurich)
- Prof. Maurizio Caon (Computer Science, NeoHumanitas/University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland)
- Prof. Bengt Kayser (Sport Science, University of Lausanne)
- Dr. Thomas Philbeck (Philosophy, WEF, Geneva)
- Dr. David Doat (Bioethics, Lille Catholic University, France)
- Prof. Lars Schmeink (Media, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg)
- Prof. Effy Vayena (Bioethics, ETHZ)
- Prof. Gerry Canavan (Literature, Marquette University)
- Dr. Michele Loi (Philosophy, University of Zurich)
- Johannes Katsarov (Center for Ethics, University of Zurich)
- Johnny McDonald (Philosophy, University of Wellington)
- Dr. Vanessa Rampton (Philosophy, ETHZ)
Ort Collegium Helveticum, Schmelzbergstrasse 25, 8092 Zürich
Raum: Meridian-Saal
VeranstalterInstitut für Biomedizinische Ethik und Medizingeschichte
Collegium Helveticum
Ethik-Zentrum der Universität Zürich (EZEN)
Center for Medical Humanities
KontaktJohann Roduit (Mail)