Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking

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9780190211745: Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking

When bioethicists debate the use of technologies like surgery and pharmacology to shape our selves, they are, ultimately, debating what it means for human beings to flourish. They are debating what makes animals like us truly happy, and whether the technologies at issue will bring us closer to or farther from such happiness.

The positions that participants adopt in debates regarding such ancient and fundamental questions are often polarized, and cannot help but be deeply personal. It is no wonder that the debates are sometimes acrimonious. How, then, should critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-transformation move forward?

Based on his experience at the oldest free-standing bioethics research institute in the world, Erik Parens proposes a habit of thinking, which he calls "binocular." As our brains integrate slightly different information from our two eyes to achieve depth of visual perception, we need to try to integrate greatly different insights on the two sides of the debates about technologically shaping our selves-if depth of intellectual understanding is what we are after. Binocular thinking lets us benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the enthusiast, who emphasizes that using technology to creatively transform our selves will make us happier, and to benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the critic, who emphasizes that learning to let our selves be will make us happier.

Parens observes that in debates as personal as these, we all-critics and enthusiasts alike-give reasons that we are partial to. In the throes of our passion to make our case, we exaggerate our insights and all-too-often fall into the conceptual traps that language sets for us. Foolishly, we make conceptual choices that no one who truly wanted understanding would accept: Are technologies value-free or value-laden? Are human beings by nature creators or creatures? Is disability a medical or a social phenomenon? Indeed, are we free or determined? Parens explains how participating in these debates for two decades helped him articulate the binocular habit of thinking that is better at benefiting from the insights in both poles of those binaries than was the habit of thinking he originally brought to the debates.

Finally, Parens celebrates that bioethics doesn't aspire only to deeper thinking, but also to better acting. He embraces not only the intellectual aspiration to think deeply about meaning questions that don't admit of final answers, but also the ethical demand to give clear answers to practical questions. To show how to respect both that aspiration and that demand, the book culminates in the description of a process of truly informed consent, in the context of one specific form of using technology to shape our selves: families making decisions about appearance normalizing surgeries for children with atypical bodies.

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About the Author:


Erik Parens is a senior research scholar at The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in Garrison, NY. He is also an adjunct professor in the program in Science, Technology, and Society at Vassar College, and a Fellow of the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania.

Review:


"One will read this book and be persuaded by the approach...This volume will prove useful for those approaching this subject for the first time and Parens provides brief but useful discussions of various arguments in the enhancement controversies related to antidepressants and disabilities to illustrate both monocular and binocular approaches." --Metapsychology Online Reviews


"This is a wise and beautifully written book, which heralds the next wave in the bioethical analysis of the 'enhancement' uses of biomedical technologies and body-shaping surgeries. Parens' 'binocular' habit of thinking is just what the field needs now, and applies well beyond the specific issues addressed in this volume." --Eric Juengst, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


"In this cogent and lucidly written work, Parens provides a clear-headed and open-hearted approach to dealing with the vexing questions raised by enhancement technologies. The use of technologies by which humans try to shape their bodies and their destinies must be viewed, he persuades us, by using two lenses at once-an approach that achieves depth of intellectual vision by benefitting from the insights of critics and enthusiasts alike. In the end, we have to take a stance, but we come to it not through an agonistic 'win the argument' approach, but through a careful, empathetic understanding of both positions. This judicious approach is so desperately needed in a combative discipline like philosophy and its offspring bioethics and still more a world filled with conflict and strife--where too many think only through one self-righteous and dogmatic lens." --Eva Feder Kittay, Stony Brook University


"Chapter 6 alone is worth the price of the book. To look at enhancement technologies through Parens's binoculars is to bring them into lucid ethical focus. At the same time one sees a charming, gentle, and deeply knowledgeable man reaching out reconciling hands to fit together the insights from both critics and enthusiasts." --Hilde Lindemann, Michigan State University


"This is a book of remarkable clarity and balance; it illuminates important issues in bioethics with a substantial degree of care and respect for opposing perspectives in difficult, ongoing debates about the body, identity, disability and technology. Erik Parens' determined vision of a middle-ground in these debates challenges the 'knockers' and the 'boosters' to abandon their respective megaphones and discover more of what they might have in common. This is an essential book especially for those starting out in bioethics; would that there were more books that gave students a balanced perspective on 'hot' issues from the start." --Ilina Singh, Kings College London


"In his discriminating new book [...], Erik Parens, [...] offers both a diagnosis and a partial solution to [...] poisonous polarization. Elegantly written, insightful, and uncharacteristically personal for Parens, Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking is a discourse on ethics in the broadest sense. That is, it is a sustained reflection on what it is for creatures like us to live a life well, together.
This book should appeal to anyone who thinks seriously about such questions. And it should especially appeal to those who wish to engage in debates in this area-or in any area-in a way that is productive, rather than antagonistic. " -- Brian Earp and Michael Hauskeller, American Journal of Bioethics


"This volume is [...] an ideal vehicle for undergraduate bioethics education, not only as a companion to teaching based on issues, cases, and even principles, but also as an introduction to a set of critical current issues arising from biotechnological developments. In my teaching experience, many medical students, for example, would benefit from being introduced, in a volume like this, to the expansive landscape that lies between "Here is the answer" and "It's all just a matter of opinion." -- Nancy M. P. King, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal


"Shaping Our Selves would make a great introductory book for any clinician, student, or layperson who is trying to make sense of contemporary debates on biomedical technologies. The book covers wide ground, and will help develop a habit of thinking that approaches ethical dilemmas with openness and humility. [...] His book is very personal, at times almost poetic; I think it is destined to become a classic. " -- Tom Shakespeare, The Lancet


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Erik Parens
Editorial: Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2014)
ISBN 10: 0190211741 ISBN 13: 9780190211745
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When bioethicists debate the use of technologies like surgery and pharmacology to shape our selves, they are, ultimately, debating what it means for human beings to flourish. They are debating what makes animals like us truly happy, and whether the technologies at issue will bring us closer to or farther from such happiness. The positions that participants adopt in debates regarding such ancient and fundamental questions are often polarized, and cannot help but be deeply personal. It is no wonder that the debates are sometimes acrimonious. How, then, should critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-transformation move forward? Based on his experience at the oldest free-standing bioethics research institute in the world, Erik Parens proposes a habit of thinking, which he calls binocular. As our brains integrate slightly different information from our two eyes to achieve depth of visual perception, we need to try to integrate greatly different insights on the two sides of the debates about technologically shaping our selves-if depth of intellectual understanding is what we are after. Binocular thinking lets us benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the enthusiast, who emphasizes that using technology to creatively transform our selves will make us happier, and to benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the critic, who emphasizes that learning to let our selves be will make us happier. Parens observes that in debates as personal as these, we all-critics and enthusiasts alike-give reasons that we are partial to. In the throes of our passion to make our case, we exaggerate our insights and all-too-often fall into the conceptual traps that language sets for us. Foolishly, we make conceptual choices that no one who truly wanted understanding would accept: Are technologies value-free or value-laden? Are human beings by nature creators or creatures? Is disability a medical or a social phenomenon? Indeed, are we free or determined? Parens explains how participating in these debates for two decades helped him articulate the binocular habit of thinking that is better at benefiting from the insights in both poles of those binaries than was the habit of thinking he originally brought to the debates. Finally, Parens celebrates that bioethics doesn t aspire only to deeper thinking, but also to better acting. He embraces not only the intellectual aspiration to think deeply about meaning questions that don t admit of final answers, but also the ethical demand to give clear answers to practical questions. To show how to respect both that aspiration and that demand, the book culminates in the description of a process of truly informed consent, in the context of one specific form of using technology to shape our selves: families making decisions about appearance normalizing surgeries for children with atypical bodies. Nº de ref. de la librería AOP9780190211745

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2014. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When bioethicists debate the use of technologies like surgery and pharmacology to shape our selves, they are, ultimately, debating what it means for human beings to flourish. They are debating what makes animals like us truly happy, and whether the technologies at issue will bring us closer to or farther from such happiness. The positions that participants adopt in debates regarding such ancient and fundamental questions are often polarized, and cannot help but be deeply personal. It is no wonder that the debates are sometimes acrimonious. How, then, should critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-transformation move forward? Based on his experience at the oldest free-standing bioethics research institute in the world, Erik Parens proposes a habit of thinking, which he calls binocular. As our brains integrate slightly different information from our two eyes to achieve depth of visual perception, we need to try to integrate greatly different insights on the two sides of the debates about technologically shaping our selves-if depth of intellectual understanding is what we are after. Binocular thinking lets us benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the enthusiast, who emphasizes that using technology to creatively transform our selves will make us happier, and to benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the critic, who emphasizes that learning to let our selves be will make us happier. Parens observes that in debates as personal as these, we all-critics and enthusiasts alike-give reasons that we are partial to. In the throes of our passion to make our case, we exaggerate our insights and all-too-often fall into the conceptual traps that language sets for us. Foolishly, we make conceptual choices that no one who truly wanted understanding would accept: Are technologies value-free or value-laden? Are human beings by nature creators or creatures? Is disability a medical or a social phenomenon? Indeed, are we free or determined? Parens explains how participating in these debates for two decades helped him articulate the binocular habit of thinking that is better at benefiting from the insights in both poles of those binaries than was the habit of thinking he originally brought to the debates. Finally, Parens celebrates that bioethics doesn t aspire only to deeper thinking, but also to better acting. He embraces not only the intellectual aspiration to think deeply about meaning questions that don t admit of final answers, but also the ethical demand to give clear answers to practical questions. To show how to respect both that aspiration and that demand, the book culminates in the description of a process of truly informed consent, in the context of one specific form of using technology to shape our selves: families making decisions about appearance normalizing surgeries for children with atypical bodies. Nº de ref. de la librería AOP9780190211745

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc. Hardback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking, Erik Parens, When bioethicists debate the use of technologies like surgery and pharmacology to shape our selves, they are, ultimately, debating what it means for human beings to flourish. They are debating what makes animals like us truly happy, and whether the technologies at issue will bring us closer to or farther from such happiness. The positions that participants adopt in debates regarding such ancient and fundamental questions are often polarized, and cannot help but be deeply personal. It is no wonder that the debates are sometimes acrimonious. How, then, should critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-transformation move forward? Based on his experience at the oldest free-standing bioethics research institute in the world, Erik Parens proposes a habit of thinking, which he calls "binocular." As our brains integrate slightly different information from our two eyes to achieve depth of visual perception, we need to try to integrate greatly different insights on the two sides of the debates about technologically shaping our selves-if depth of intellectual understanding is what we are after. Binocular thinking lets us benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the enthusiast, who emphasizes that using technology to creatively transform our selves will make us happier, and to benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the critic, who emphasizes that learning to let our selves be will make us happier. Parens observes that in debates as personal as these, we all-critics and enthusiasts alike-give reasons that we are partial to. In the throes of our passion to make our case, we exaggerate our insights and all-too-often fall into the conceptual traps that language sets for us. Foolishly, we make conceptual choices that no one who truly wanted understanding would accept: Are technologies value-free or value-laden? Are human beings by nature creators or creatures? Is disability a medical or a social phenomenon? Indeed, are we free or determined? Parens explains how participating in these debates for two decades helped him articulate the binocular habit of thinking that is better at benefiting from the insights in both poles of those binaries than was the habit of thinking he originally brought to the debates. Finally, Parens celebrates that bioethics doesn't aspire only to deeper thinking, but also to better acting. He embraces not only the intellectual aspiration to think deeply about meaning questions that don't admit of final answers, but also the ethical demand to give clear answers to practical questions. To show how to respect both that aspiration and that demand, the book culminates in the description of a process of truly informed consent, in the context of one specific form of using technology to shape our selves: families making decisions about appearance normalizing surgeries for children with atypical bodies. Nº de ref. de la librería B9780190211745

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Descripción Oxford University Press, 2014. Estado de conservación: New. The bioethical debates between critics and enthusiasts about using technologies to shape our selves are sometimes acrimonious. Candidly drawing on his participation in these debates, Erik Parens offers a habit of thinking about the questions at their center, which benefits from, rather than denies, the insights on both sides. Num Pages: 216 pages. BIC Classification: MBDC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 147 x 213 x 20. Weight in Grams: 352. . 2014. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780190211745

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Descripción OUP USA, 2014. HRD. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería FU-9780190211745

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Descripción Oxford University Press. Estado de conservación: New. The bioethical debates between critics and enthusiasts about using technologies to shape our selves are sometimes acrimonious. Candidly drawing on his participation in these debates, Erik Parens offers a habit of thinking about the questions at their center, which benefits from, rather than denies, the insights on both sides. Num Pages: 216 pages. BIC Classification: MBDC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 147 x 213 x 20. Weight in Grams: 352. . 2014. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Nº de ref. de la librería V9780190211745

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