Monday, December 9, 2013

Another new paper: Hyperagency and the Good Life

So I have another new paper coming out. This one deals with what I like to call "hyperagency" objections to human enhancement, and the way in which they intersect with debates about the meaning of life. I think that of all my academic papers to date, this one is my favourite. If you have been reading this blog regularly, you will see some very obvious connections between previous posts and the subject matter of the paper. I think it provides a good example of how to integrate blogging with more academic writing (for those of you who care about that kind of thing).

Anyway, here are the full details, along with a link to a preprint version (I don't know when the final version will be out, but hopefully it won't be too long from now):

Title: Hyperagency and the Good Life - Does Extreme Enhancement Threaten Meaning?
Journal: Neuroethics DOI: 10.1007/s12152-013-9200-1 
Abstract: According to several authors, the enhancement project incorporates a quest for hyperagency - i.e. a state of affairs in which virtually every constitutive aspect of agency (beliefs, desires, moods, dispositions and so forth) is subject to our control and manipulation. This quest, it is claimed, undermines the conditions for a meaningful and worthwhile life. Thus, the enhancement project ought to be forestalled or rejected. How credible is this objection? In this article, I argue: “not very”. I do so by evaluating four different versions of the “hyperagency” objection from four different authors. In each case I argue that the objection either fails outright or, at best, provides weak and defeasible grounds for avoiding enhancement. In addition to this, I argue that there are plausible grounds for thinking that enhancement helps, rather than hinders, us in living the good life. 
Preprint available here. 

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