Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

"The 'Human' and the Artificial Heart:: is a Cyborg a Man?"

Dr. Paul D. Simmons.


The artificial heart presages an era in which people will have their lives extended by the use of exotic and sophisticated biotechnological inventions that mimic and then replace the vital organs of the human body. Developments in nanotechnology, genetics and computers seem inevitably to be joined to biotechnology in a way that cyborgs will be not only possible but a reality and that on a large scale. The philosophical and religious question is whether the human is, in fact, being displaced by the artificial. Or, is the human being enhanced while being modified but in such a way that those who come after us will be both like us but a replacement for us. This paper will explore the problem of the normative meaning of the human and its meaning for scientific investigations. It will suggest that evolution itself promises that people will be replaced by creatures as much unlike us as we are those of our ancient past. Cyborgs will both embody the human and alter its meanings.

Presenters

Dr. Paul D. Simmons  (United States)
Clinical Professor, Family & Community Medicine and Adjunct Professor, Philosophy
Family & Community Medicine
University of Louisville

Author of five books dealing with relation of religion and philosophy to issues in bioethics. Interests in the intersections of law, medicine and religion and the basic issues of human dignity that are at stake in the new frontiers of medical science.

Keywords
  • Biotechnology
  • Artificial heart
  • Cyborgs
  • The human
  • Evolution
  • Personhood
  • Nanotechnology
  • Genetics



(30 min. Conference Paper, English)