Popova Olga: Biotechnological Design and a Image of the Future

Speaker: Popova Olga, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN), Russia, Doctor of Philosophy, Acting Deputy Director for Scientific Work at the RAN Institute of Philosophy, Head of the Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics Sector

Topic: Biotechnological Design and a Image of the Future

The report presents a comparative analysis of such phenomena as moral perfection (improvement) and biotechnological enhancement. The current historical situation is characterized by significant advancements in biotechnology, which, apart from meeting traditional challenges in medicine, industry and agriculture, are increasingly acting as a factor in the transformation of the human being himself, influencing the inner arrangements of his life and activity.

At the same time, a technological improvement of humans themselves is taking place. Thus, humans get ever more opportunities not only to remedy the aberrations of nature (to take therapeutical measures in case of illness), but also to improve (strengthen) their intellectual and physical abilities and, presumably, moral qualities.

This presentation points out a significant difference between the general features of the phenomena of moral and cognitive improvements and of biotechnological enhancements. Whereas moral improvements of man are based on internal thrust of the human being towards endless moral self-transformation, which is being achieved through personal inner efforts, biotechnological enhancements are being implemented externally and are impossible without using physically available means for such improvement.