Philosophy of Engineering and Artifact
in the Digital Era

an exploratory workshop

2009 February 6-8
“Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava

Kuruvilla Pandikattu

Human Engineering: A Philosophical Analysis


Going beyond Teihard de Chardin, we can today claim that humans are “evolution capable of enhancing or eliminating itself.” Given the biotechnological and biocomputational prowess at our disposal, humans able to enhance ourselves exponentially or even eliminate ourselves entirely.

Given this perilous and promising scenario, a philosophical look on our possible human nature yields valuable insights useful for our contemporary understanding of humanity or even “transhumans.”

Larger philosophical issues like what is human nature,  who owns life and who speaks for life are questions of utmost importance in this “singular” moment of biotic and human life.

The first part of the paper deals briefly with biotechnology and indicates some of the potentials that enable us to transcend ourselves. Starting from therapeutic effects of biotechnology, we shall also be focusing on the human technological prowess like creating new organisms or even self-creating or self-enhancing ourselves. At the same time the danger that we may, in this very process, destroy the biotic existence in its entirely is not ruled out.
The second part of the paper deals with the larger philosophical issues which emerge from such potentials. This asks fundamental questions on our own self-understanding at the individual and collective level and focuses on the human, cultural and bio-cultural evolution that we are currently witnessing.
The final part raises some questions regarding the moral, anthropological and philosophical issues dealing with the preciousness of life, inherent evil and violence present in humans and the intrinsic goodness towards which humans are open.

See the ppt. here