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The Posthuman
ENGL 165EC - Spring 2003,  Rita Raley
Thu, 5/8 'Our Inevitable Genetic Future'

Discussion Questions
  1. What is Fukuyama’s position on neuropharmacology? What is to be feared about a ‘Prozac nation’ or about the widespread prescription of Ritalin? How does androgyny figure in his remarks on the alteration of brain chemistry?
  2. What is Fukuyama’s position on cloning? How would you refute or support his position(s)? What does Fukuyama have to say about eugenics and designer babies? What is his position on human experimentation, or human biotechnology? (How would Orlan and Stelarc’s performance exercises in self-experimentation factor in here?)
  3. To what extent is his text informed by, or does it intersect with, the discourses on evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology? What are the advantages and limitations of this approach?
  4. What does Fukuyama mean by “human nature” – what exactly is it? Why is it under siege? How is it to be protected? Is this really the posthuman? What do you make of his use of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World?
  5. What is the ethical basis for his positions on genetic engineering? On what basis does he draw the ‘red line’ between therapy and enhancement? How would you characterize his ethics (or, is he presenting an ethical position at all)? To what systems of belief does he have recourse (religion, utilitarianism, political ideas)? Why, in his view, would we want to limit biotechnological developments?
  6. How does his comments on food politics – GMO debates and laws – relate to his comments on body politics? Are his positions consistent in both areas?
  7. What do you make of his “straightforward solution” – that “we use the power of the state to regulate” biotech (10+)? What are the advantages and limitations of the regulation model?

Reviews of Francis Fukuyama, Our Posthuman Future:


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