Human Kinds–Species Typical, Sub-typical, Beyond Typical–Part 1

Here is Gregor Wolbring‘s talk at the Human Kinds Symposium, including my introduction of Gregor and almost the first half of his talk. Gregor’s focus in this part is on enhancement, “techno-doping”, and ableism. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!

Gregor also writes a regular column, The Choice is Yours, and you can find more information about him there.

As with other videos in this series, apologies for no captioning yet, but we hope to have that finished in the next few weeks, and will let you know when captioning is up.

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Int J of Disability, Community and Rehabilitation Special Issue on Nanotechnology, Disability, Community and Rehabilitation

New in the Int J of Disability, Community and Rehabilitation (IJDCR)

The issue can be found here

An IJDCR Special Issue on Nanotechnology, Disability, Community and Rehabilitation edited by Gregor Wolbring,
Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Program, Dept of Community
Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Canada

Articles:

Editor’s Introduction to the Special Issue, by Gregor Wolbring

If Nanotechnology Were a Magic Wand What Obligations Would it Bring? Or:
The Right to Enhance Versus the Right to Morphological Freedom, by Heather
Bradshaw

Optimization of Human Capacities and the Representation of the Nanoscale
Body, by Michele Robitaille

Nanotechnology: Changing the Disability Paradigm, by Laura Cabrera

The journal welcomes submissions on a continuous basis that focus on nanoscale and nanoscale-enabled science and technology as it impacts on disabled people and the broader community and the role of rehabilitation professionals, family members and others.

About Face(s): here’s an article from the L.A. Times about a face transplant

Woman undergoes face transplant in Cleveland

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic replace about 80% of her face with skin and muscles harvested from a cadaver. It’s the most extensive such operation ever performed and the first in the U.S.
By Karen Kaplan and Shari Roan
December 17, 2008
A woman being treated at the Cleveland Clinic has an almost entirely new face following the most extensive facial transplant ever performed, the medical center said Tuesday. The surgery was the first face transplant in the U.S. and the fourth in the world.

Few details about the patient have been released in advance of a news conference scheduled for today. About 80% of the patient’s face was replaced with skin and muscles harvested from a cadaver.

The family of the patient has asked that her name and age not be released so she can remain anonymous, the clinic said. It was not clear when the surgery took place.

Dr. Maria Siemionow, the Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeon who performed the marathon procedure, is well known among microsurgery specialists, and colleagues were quick to praise the achievement. They said face transplants would become routine in the coming years.

“We’re on the threshold of a whole new way of correcting defects,” said Dr. Warren C. Breidenbach of the University of Louisville, who performed the first hand transplant in the United States.

Read the entire article at the link below:
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-sci-facetransplant17-2008dec17,0,6148948.story?track=ntothtml

Knowing Thine Enemy?: a book to look out for

cover image for Enhancing Human Capacities by Julian Savulescu

cover image for Enhancing Human Capacities by Julian Savulescu et. al

Some of you — and especially philosophers on the ‘what sorts’ team — will know of a controversial Australian ex-pat ethicist who likes to provoke debate about what sorts of people there should be … No,this time it’s not Peter Singer (although Singer was his PhD supervisor), but rather Julian Savulescu of The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Savulescu’s chief interest is the use of biotechnology for what he presumptively calls ‘human enhancement.’

When he worked for the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Savulescu wrote a piece called “In Defense of Selection for Nondisease Genes”.* As this community knows well, others have argued that it is defensible to engage in postconception selection against diseased genes, where the term diseased genes refers to:

a gene that causes a genetic disorder (e.g. cystic fibrosis) or predisposes to the development of a disease (e.g. the genetic contribution to cancer or dementia)

This argument in itself is highly contestable, given that it is reasonable to feel that a ‘diseased’ life of one with, say, cystic fibrosis — let alone one that down the line ends with cancer or dementia — is worth living… and more pertinently, that there are grave social consequences when that decision is made on others’ behalf as a matter of course. Savulescu, however, offers a far more radical thesis than this. Continue reading

A new bibliography is now hosted in the library of the Independent Living Institute:

This annotated bibliography lists a selection of 130 novels, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, materials from philosophy, anthropology and folklore, and literary criticism, in which disability, deafness or mental disorders play some significant part, from East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, available mostly in English or French.
more here

Study shows increased education on nanotech, human enhancement increases public concerns

Educating the public about nanotechnology and other complex but emerging technologies causes people to become more “worried and cautious” about the new technologies’ prospective benefits, according to a recent study by researchers at North Carolina State University.

more here

Two new pieces from me

Peer reviewed article
Is There an End to Out-Able? Is There an End to the Rat Race for Abilities?
whole issue on able

from my column
From morphological freedom to morphological judgment
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