Superhuman meaningful pastimes for the everyday cyborg

Reid, Julie
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Abstract In this report I argue that one of the ways in which it is possible for a person to be capable of more meaningful achievements and to engage in more meaningful activities is to become a cyborg. Cyborgs have enhanced abilities as a result of implants that connect the brain to mechanical prostheses or other additions such as synthetic muscles or skin. I argue that activities and achievements are meaningful in virtue of developing or expressing what is most admirably ‘human’ about us and that many cybernetic enhancements allow for the substantial development or expression of our valuably human capacities. Since I suspect that there would be considerable resistance to the idea that becoming a cyborg could contribute meaning to a life, I spend a substantial amount of space to responding to possible objections to my account. I argue that cybernetic enhancements need not threaten the development of virtues or other skills, or eliminate effort or suffering. They also need not make us other than what we are to such an extent that the meaningfulness they make possible is undermined. Furthermore, the meaningfulness enhancements can contribute to lives need not be undermined by ethical considerations, or by the common intuition that meaningfulness depends on how one responds within the circumstances presented to one, not the abilities that one has.