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Tom 5 (2014): Cywilizacje w perspektywie socjologicznej. Stan i kierunki badań nad cywilizacjami współczesnego świata

Biopolityka i eugenika jako wyzwania cywilizacyjne. Podstawowe rozróżnienia teoretyczne

  • Bartosz Płotka
31 grudnia 2014


Biopolitics and eugenics as civilizational challenges. The basic theoretical distinction

One of the most famous philosophers of modern civilization, Francis Fukuyama, notes that humanity stands on the edge of civilizational change connected with the issues of biotechnology and bioethics. The development of biological sciences causes far-reaching consequences not only for the multiple fields of medicine, but also for morality both individual and collective and a human condition in the modern world. Issues such as in vitro fertilization, abortion, euthanasia, prenatal diagnosis, neuroimaging diagnosis, etc., aff ect in a specific way this delicate matter, acting for its countless chances and risks. According to Fukuyama, these challenges must be subjected to political control in order to recognise the consequences of the use of biotechnological methods as good or wrong allowed or prohibited. Therefore, the central point of political considerations is a human life. This off set was predicted, approximately 50 years ago, by another prominent thinker, Michel Foucault, who claimed the oncoming of the new era of understanding what is political, giving rise to the non-traditional theory, biopolitics.
The particular area of interest for biopolitics is a debate on improving a human so called human enhancement, also bearing the name of liberal eugenics, i.e. the use of methods of prenatal diagnosis and genetic engineering to improve the cognitive and physical abilities of humans and also other interference in the biological spheres such as GMOs, the use of stem cells, cloning, plastic surgery, etc. The initial characterization of the debate was made by an American sociologist and bioethicist, James Hughes. He suggested the division of parties involved in the debate into bioluddists and transhumanists, thereby giving rise to a new direction of research and argumentation within the biopolitical discourse. The aim of this article is to approximate the debate — relating to the story of two anti-utopies from the Fukuyama’s most famous book — to introduce a new, gaining more and more popularity, area of the social sciences, biopolitics, which is the result of changes in the past half-century civilization, by taking into account the problem of the current understanding of the concept of eugenics.