David Doat is associate professor in Philosophy at Lille Catholic University (France). He currently holds the"Ethics & Transhumanism" Chair (funded by the "Hauts de France” Region) and works on the conceptions of health, normality, the enhanced body, disability and vulnerability conveyed by trans- and posthumanist ideals and literature. More broadly, he addresses the philosophical and ethical questions raised by the development of transhumanism and posthumanism in contemporary culture. David Doat has published more than a dozen book chapters (with Springer, Routledge, Oxbow Books, Cerf, Lessius,…) and articles in national and international peer-reviewed scientific journals (Philosophiques, Alter: European Journal of Disability Research, International Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, Laval theologique et philosophique, Revue de théologie et de philosophie, etc.).
"Should People with Disabilities Embrace a Transhumanist Model of Disability?"
According to some disability activists such as Alan Pottinger or Kathryn Aegis, who was among the drafters of the first version of the World Transhumanist Declaration, a transhumanistic culture would contribute to remove political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to disabled people’s self-realization and augmentation since every human being has the right to ascension. On the opposite side, many disability studies scholars and activists are in total disagreement with the way in which transhumanists understand, both conceptually and experientially, what disability is. The purpose of my presentation will be on the one hand to present the inner debates in the disability studies regarding the depictions of disability in the transhumanist literature, and on the other hand to answer the two following questions: firstly, do transhumanist representations of disability reveal the emergence of a new model of disability, I mean a theory of disability that may differ in some way from those that have already been conceptualized in the disability studies? Secondly, under which conditions would a transhumanist culture make a real contribution to the enhancement of people with disabilities and their quality of life?