“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”

Instant Access to Thousands of Journals for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

The hermeneutic challenge of genetic engineering: Habermas and the transhumanists



The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that developments in transhumanist technologies may have upon human cultures (and thus upon the lifeworld), and to do so by exploring a potential debate between Habermas and the transhumanists. Transhumanists, such as Nick Bostrom, typically see the potential in genetic and other technologies for positively expanding and transcending human nature. In contrast, Habermas is a representative of those who are fearful of this technology, suggesting that it will compound the deleterious effects of the colonisation of the lifeworld, further constraining human autonomy and undermining the meaningfulness of the lifeworld by expanding the technological control and manipulation of humanity. It will be argued that these opposed positions are grounded in fundamentally different understandings of the consequences of scientific and technological advance. On one level, the transhumanists remain confident that the lifeworld has within it the resources necessary to find meaning and purpose in a society deeply infused by genetic technology. Habermas disagrees. On another level, the difference is articulated by Horkheimer and Adorno in Dialectic of Enlightenment , primarily by challenging what may be understood as a Baconian faith in science as a project for the domination of nature (where nature is an infinitely malleable material, to be dominated and shaped, without adverse consequences, purely for the purposes of human survival). While the transhumanists broadly embrace this faith, Habermas returns to something akin to Horkheimer and Adorno’s pessimistic scepticism.



"Medicine, Health Care & Philosophy"Springer Journals

Published: May 1, 2009

DOI: 10.1007/s11019-009-9188-9

Free Preview of First Page

Loading next page...

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy unlimited access and
personalized recommendations from
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

Explore the DeepDyve Library

How DeepDyve Works

Spend time researching, not time worrying you’re buying articles that might not be useful.

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from Springer, Elsevier, Nature, IEEE, Wiley-Blackwell and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Simple and Affordable Pricing

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Best Deal — 25% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 25% off!
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.

billed annually