Icarus 2.0: A Historian’s Perspective on Human Biological Enhancement


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project is on the ethical and social implications of new technologies for human biological enhancement: the reconfiguring and boosting of our physical and mental capabilities. These technologies are developing ever more rapidly, along three major fronts: pharmaceuticals, prosthetics/informatics, and genetics. This study charts the history of these technologies since World War II, with particular emphasis on the controversies that have surrounded their development, to explore the assumptions about human identity prevalent among those who have been addressing this emergent phenomenon, both inside and outside of academia. It also offers a clearer, more synthetic conceptual framework than is currently available for addressing the social implications of enhancement technologies.