Loyola Philosophy Scholar to Give Niebuhr Lecture ‘Humanizing Enhancement’ on April 18

April 3, 2023 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

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New technologies in neuroscience present exciting possibilities for human enhancement and realizing human potential. They promise to sharpen our intellects, hone our creativity, boost our memory, and integrate our cognitive lives with computers.

On April 18 at this year’s Niebuhr Lecture, Joseph Vukov, associate professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, will explore some of the ideas and ethical issues to be considered before embracing such technologies with open arms.

Vukov is the author of Navigating Faith and Science (2022) and the forthcoming The Perils of Perfection: On the Limits and Possibilities of Human Enhancement. At Loyola, he is also an affiliate faculty member in psychology and Catholic Studies.

Vukov points out that transhumanists, who endorse the idea of using new technologies to expand human capabilities and improve lives, fall into one of two problematic positions in advocating for their position: “ableism, the idea that certain abilities (rather than intrinsic value) confer human worth; or the kind of quiet desperation that comes with chasing one new thing after another.” What are the questions that should be weighed before rejecting or embracing these new technologies?

The Niebuhr Lecture “Humanizing Enhancement” will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, in the Schaible Science Center, Illinois Hall. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The annual Niebuhr Lecture features theologians and religious scholars, and honors Elmhurst University alumni Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, widely considered to be among the foremost American theologians of the 20th century.

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