On the limits, imperfections and evils of the human condition. Biological improvement from a thomistic perspective

Mariano Asla

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/SetF.2019.017


Transhumanism is a scientific and philosophical movement that proposes to overcome, through new technologies, the restrictions imposed on us by our biological condition. Some transhumanists assume that the struggle against natural limits could lead to a radical change in our body or even to its replacement (Kurzweil 2000; 2006; Kurzweil & Grossman 2005). Other authors, such as Nicholas Agar, propose a moderate enhancement that does not exceed the framework of what we understand to be human (Agar 2010; 2014).

In this article, I will offer a plausible interpretation of the project of human enhancement from a Thomistic perspective. To carry out my analysis, I will focus on three fundamental metaphysical and anthropological questions: (i) How do advocates of radical enhancement understand the relationship between limits, imperfections and evils in human nature? (ii) How is this relationship understood from moderate positions? And (iii) Is any of these proposals compatible with Aquinas’ anthropology? I will conclude that the identification of limits with imperfections and evils assumed by radical positions is incompatible with Aquinas’ anthropology. Nevertheless, this does not entail that any bio-modification is unacceptable. Aquinas’ peculiar metaphysics, together with its anthropology in which the natural, the supernatural and the preternatural realms intertwine, can offer an interesting framework to assess the human enhancement project.


bio-enhancement; transhumanism; limits; evils; Aquinas

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