3TU Ethics Research Day

On April 13th, 2011, most (if not all) 3TU.Ethics staff members will gather in Utrecht. Like in the previous years, the purpose of this day is twofold. In the first place, we will look back at the previous year and discuss the future developments of the Centre. In the second place, staff members will do philosophy and present and discuss their current research.

Please click here to download the detailed program. The abstracts of the parallel sessions can be downloaded from here. We are excited to announce that Dr. Guy Kahane (Oxford University, Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics) has agreed to give a keynote lecture.
There is no registration fee for this event. But for catering purposes, it would be helpful if you could register by sending an email to the Coordinator, Martijn Blaauw (m.j.blaauw@tudelft.nl), before March 18, 2011.

Keynote lecture by Guy Kahane

FACING THE UNBIDDEN: SANDEL, RELIGION, AND HUMAN ENHANCEMENT

Abstract. Michael Sandel contends that we can grapple with the ethics of human enhancement only if we address neglected questions about our place in the world, questions that verge on theology but can be pursued independently of religion. He argues that the deepest objection to enhancement is that it expresses a Promethean drive to mastery which deprives us of openness to the unbidden and leaves us with nothing to affirm outside our own wills. Sandel’s argument against enhancement has been criticized, but his claims about mastery and the unbidden, and their relation to religion, have not yet received sufficient attention. I argue that Sandel misunderstands the notions of mastery and the unbidden, and their evaluative significance. Once these notions are properly understood, they have surprising implications. It turns out that the value of openness to the unbidden isn’t just independent of theism, as Sandel claims, but is in fact not even fully compatible with it. But in any case that value cannot support Sandel’s objection to enhancement. Ironically, it is not enhancement but opposition to it that is most likely to express fear of the unbidden, and a pernicious drive to mastery.