Disabling disability amid competing ideologies

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Abstract

This paper critiques current arguments advancing the potential for transhumanism and a range of biological and pharmacological enhancements to better human flourishing. It does so from a historical perspective weighing the individualistic and competitive evolutionary theories of Darwin with the cooperative and communal theories of Prince Peter Kropotkin a generation later. In doing so it proposes the transhumanist and enhancement enthusiasts operate within a paradigm similar to Darwin’s, one that is atomist and individualistic. The critique, which considers the status of those with cognitive, sensory and physical limits, advances a vision of society as a cooperative and communal rather than individualistic and competitive. Within this framework the argument is not one of either/or but on the lexicographical superiority of the communal and social over the individualistic and competitive ethos underlying both Darwin and most contemporary transhumanist literature. This reordering of priorities, it is argued, reflects advances in contemporary biology and evolutionary thinking.

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