OVERRIDE

Our Posthuman Future

Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution

Francis Fukuyama

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama made his now-famous pronouncement that because "the major alternatives to liberal democracy had exhausted themselves," history as we knew it had reached its end. Ten years later, he revised his argument: we hadn't reached the end of history, he wrote, because we hadn't yet reached the end of science. Arguing that our greatest advances still to come will be in the life sciences, Fukuyama now asks how the ability to modify human behavior will affect liberal democracy.

To re-orient contemporary debate, Fukuyama underlines man's changing understanding of human nature through history: from Plato and Aristotle's belief that man had "natural ends," to the ideals of utopians and dictators of the modern age who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama persuasively argues that the ultimate prize of the biotechnology revolution-intervention in the "germ-line," the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person's descendents-will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken by ordinary parents seeking to "improve" their children.

In Our Posthuman Future, our greatest social philosopher begins to describe the potential effects of exploration on the foundation of liberal democracy: the belief that human beings are equal by nature.

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Our Posthuman Future
PART IPATHWAYS TO THE FUTURE1A TALE OF TWO DYSTOPIASThe threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has always afflicted man in his essence. The rule of enframing (Gestell) threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth.Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology1 
 
I was born in 1952, right in the middle of the American baby boom. For any person
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REVIEWS

Praise for Our Posthuman Future

“Stunning...The genius of Our Posthuman Future is that it brings home just how important [these issues] will be in our immediate future for ordinary people.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Invaluable...Rarely has someone entering the policy arena so eloquently and precisely laid out the case for political control of emerging technology.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A timely, thoughtful and well-argued contribution to an important subject.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A provocative argument that raises the nature-versus-nurture debate and questions about the role biology plays in human nature.” —Chicago Tribune

“A lucid overview of the biotechnology revolution and its discontents...For anyone seeking an ideal entry into the biotechnology debate, Fukuyama’s book is it.”—National Review

“This groundbreaking inquiry...provides a remarkably sensible and human vision of what is at stake and what needs to be done.” —Foreign Affairs

“[A] comprehensive guidebook for policymakers.” —Dow Jones

“A cogent and important argument against the technocrats and ‘casual academic Darwinians’ who have so enthusiastically attempted to reduce our humanity to an increasingly implausible and culturally neutral calculus.” —Times Literary Supplement

“In Our Posthuman Future, he has looked past the end of history and described the end of mankind...[An] informative survey of contemporary bioscience and its political implications [and] an effort to lay ethical foundations for policy judgments.” —The American Prospect

What's at stake in tomorrow's biotech revolution: a definitive assesment from "a superior mind at work" --Robert Kaplan, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Francis Fukuyama

  • Francis Fukuyama is Bernard Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University. In 2002, he was appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics. He is the author of The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, and The End of History and the Last Man, among other works. He lives in McLean, Virginia.
  • Francis Fukuyama © David Fukuyama
    Francis Fukuyama

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Our Posthuman Future

Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution

Francis Fukuyama

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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