The heart of the book lies in his discussion of the philosophical issues raised by our ability to manipulate human nature. Fukuyama argues that future biotech capabilities may give us the capacity to effectively control human behaviour but may ultimately lead us into a "posthuman" future. What is ultimately at stake in the biotech revolution, according to Fukuyama, is the loss of our human essence. This amounts to more than a mere change in genetic constitution because the politically indispensable concept of human rights is derived not from God nor from man himself, but from nature.
Fukuyama has some plausible predictions about the way the American political landscape will shift as a result of the biotech revolution. The left, he predicts, will be split between pro-personal autonomy and environmentalist/anti-eugenicist wings, while the right will be split on libertarian versus social-conservative camps. He is also right on target with his critique of the aggressive atheism of scientific materialist philosophers who suppose that religiously motivated objections to biotechnology will wither away in the wake of the forces of modernity.
However, overall, it is difficult to share Fukuyama's sense of the importance of "natural rights" to the discussion of biotechnology. Even if one accepts the idea that it is possible and worthwhile to identify the "species-typical behaviour" of humans, why should we accept that the abandonment of the idea of a "single human nature shared by all peoples of the world"--what Fukuyama calls "Factor X"--fatally undermines our commitment to the idea of universal human equality? Similarly, why should we accept the idea that to manipulate human genes is to manipulate human values? Notwithstanding the shortcomings of the central argument Our Posthuman Future is a stimulating and provocative read, virtually guaranteed to annoy large numbers of philosophers and scientists. --Larry Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
There is no great revolutionary thesis here of the kind that Fukuyama astonished the world with in his previous work, claiming that the end of history had come and it is the... Read morePublished on March 28 2004 by Shalom Freedman
I guess someone has to play the job of the paranoid futurist and Fukuyama has done a great job of it in the past. Here, he is no better. His aim: the biotech industry. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by Kevin Currie-Knight
While containing some interesting remarks, Fukuyama's book does not present a good argument to support his main thesis -namely, that human nature is a source of normativity. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2003
Fukuyama has a gift. He takes the great issues of the day and discerns the grand theoretical explanation for them, even while the controversy and chaos of the present swirls... Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2003 by Michael Solender
This is an exploration on several levels -- advances in biotechnology and where they are headed, and what it means to be human. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2003 by Emil L. Posey
I was very impressed with the depth and scope of Fukuyama's examination of the call to regulate biotechnology and especially with the fairness of his presentation and tone. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2002 by Dennis Littrell
I worked through this book in a class I took at Duke University this fall. We spent about three weeks on this book and at the end there was nothing left to its claims about... Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2002
In his latest work, Frank Fukuyama, a political scientist with a talent for sweeping analysis and cogent policy insights, turns to the fascinating and (from a layman's perspective)... Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2002 by T. Graczewski
What are the longrange consequences of the biotechnology revolution? Our Posthuman Future argues that what is at stake is the ability to control and shape human behavior and human... Read morePublished on July 11 2002 by Midwest Book Review