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Philosophy Unit 3&4;


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1 point

When we consider the development of technology and its effect on living a Good Life, we must first analyse the fundamental issues that often arise from this area of debate. I will first touch bases on the notion of ‘Living a Good Life’ and why we cannot adequately identify nor define it. I will then introduce the concept of technology and how it can relate to some form of a good life, before discussing Transhumanism. In order to effectively evaluate the influence of technology on some form of a ‘Good Life’, I will contrast Philosophers Fredrick Nietzsche and Peter Singer, as I feel that they best imply the effects of technology.

Many consider the ‘Good Life’ to be a product of our ambition, or of something we aspire to. Whilst this may be correct, it does not simplify the overall concept of a Good Life. On the contrary, it provides more vague terms such as ‘ambition’. Many Philosophers refrain from identifying the good life in a conventional sense and opt to outline how the Good Life functions. Thus we must accept that the definition of a ‘Good Life’ is essentially subjective and thus pointless in defining it in any objective sense as it connotes various unique things for each individual. The mere concept of a Good Life cannot be articulated, at least for now. Any attempt in defining it is futile. Thus the ‘Good Life’ is an ambiguous concept in-and-of itself. The mere view we can be sure about is that there are many forms, interpretations, etc. of the ‘Good Life’. However, let us hypothetically assert that Mankind uses technology as a means to achieve a ‘God-like’ status, and thus this would be considered to be a form of a ‘Good Life’. To elaborate, we typically assign traits to Godly figures, whether or not we believe in them, such as immortality, omniscience, opulence and wisdom. Though, what if technology would enable us to fulfil these ideals or epitomes?

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Already robotic limbs are being used to support amputees, and it can be argued that these limbs will override ‘natural’ human ones in terms of strength and lacking a nervous system. Furthermore, is this (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/3dprinted-electronic-glove-could-help-keep-your-heart-beating-for-ever-9166004.html) not suggesting the inevitable nature of immortality or living a pro-longed life, to say the least? And let us not discuss the revolutionary bionic eye. What if it is already possible for us to become immortal yet our progress is compromised by the two universal humanistic functions; fear and laziness?

Whilst some view Transhumanism as a means to alleviate suffering, they disregard the popularised notion of, ‘with the introduction of new technology comes new problems’. It is for this premise alone, which can be summarised as fear, which compromises our progressive abilities. This can be further explained as the impact of ‘Herd mentality’, as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proposed in his book, ‘Beyond Good and Evil’. Nietzsche asserted that in order to progress to a Good Life, the Herd, or general society, must be led by the Commander, or New Philosopher, via suffering on the Herd’s behalf. Whilst controversial, Nietzsche is valid in arguing that suffering may be a necessary and initial result in order for the herd to escape their entrapment. This argument can effectively be applied to the context of Trans-Humanism and how those who oppose it ought to be led to embrace it. In his book ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’, Peter Singer, on the contrary, may dismiss Transhumanism as it will not effectively alleviate the suffering of those living in unethical conditions, at least not in any time soon. Transhumanism, like most technology is predominantly used to accommodate for the needs of only one individual, not many. Singer would not condone this as he is a preference utilitarian and views that we have a moral obligation to help those in need without sacrificing of comparable moral significance. Thus, Transhumanism is a much divided ideology.

Furthermore, to briefly discuss the topic of Artificial Intelligence, (AI), and its impact on Living a Good Life, deep-thinkers and moguls, likewise, do not have a consensus on the strength of AI and how it will affect our world. Various informed takes include Kurzweillian Singularity worship, Stephen Hawking's misquoted fears about AI and Bill Gates' premonitions that robots will vaporize jobs at a tipping point in the not-too-distant future.

Thus, technology, although a concept that has evolved with man, will always evoke scepticism predominantly for the reason that it conflicts with some people’s views on human nature in-and-of itself. Although we have already exhibited a myriad of forms of Transhumanism, we are yet to embrace it.

References:

Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche

Famine, Affluence and Morality – Peter Singer

http://hplusmagazine.com/2015/03/12/transhumanism-beyond-good-evil-and-the-ubermensch/

http://hplusmagazine.com/2015/09/02/hacking-the-body-the-scientific-counter- culture-of-the-diybio-movement/

http://hplusmagazine.com/2015/09/01/genome-stability-leads-to-negligible-senescence/

- Enrique

1 point

Technology has its ups and downs. It can both enhance and undermine how we live a good life. For example, technology has allowed us to spread awareness of issues around the globe and urged people around the globe to think more openly and critically.

However technology has lead to loss of experiences of the world at large, real life interactions, higher rates of obesity and being overweight, loss of privacy and deprivation fitness.

It depends on how technology is used in order for it to enhance or undermine our ability to live a good life.

Callicle's would have supported the increasing use of technology because it demonstrates power and status. Technology helps us climb up the social latter in this day and age so from Callicle's viewpoint technology would enhance our ability to live a good life.

Socrates would believe technology undermines our ability to lead a good life if it distracts us from the most important things in life and the most important questions we must ask.

1 point

I believe that technology enhances our ability to live a good life according to Callicles because he believes that to live a good life, we must be self-indulgent and do the things that help to fulfill our desires. If one of your desires in life is to be happy, then technology can do this by allowing you to view, access and participate in things using technology.

Socrates would argue that technology would undermine our ability to live a good life because unless it involves giving back to the community then it would not be beneficial at all.

A counter argument would be that it can help the community by making any polls to vote for new leaders and it also gives knowledge/understanding of any issues in the media through the internet.

In the link posted below, the author believes that it would undermine the ability to live a good life because technology is consuming us.

Counter arguments could be that if we were being consumed by technology, then everyone wouldn't have any knowledge to do anything for themselves so we would pretty much be living our life being able to do nothing at all. This is false because with the inventions of the newer models of smart phones, a human being must have to develop the concept of the model.

Supporting Evidence: A serious bout of Affluenza (www.smh.com.au)
3 points

Technology is neutral addition to our lives, as it can be used for enhancing OR for undermining purposes towards living a good life, and also can be perceived both ways.

For example, the introduction of mobile phones meant that we were able to conveniently call somebody to ask for a desperate favour instead of travelling all the way to their location. This would be an enhancing purpose.

However, the undermining perspective of this would be that phones would also give us the inclination toward falling into convenient and lazy behaviour patterns such as calling someone that lives just down the street for a fairly trivial purpose. An alternative to this situation would be to walk down the street and visit them, because some might argue that to maintain direct social contact in our personal relationships is more necessary for the good life than calling them over the phone. If one was to fall into the lazy behaviour pattern, they may eventually become unfulfilled because of their lack of direct social contact, which may mean they are then living a "bad life".

The introduction of technology in our lives is neither a definite enhancement or a definite undermining of our ability to live a good life, as there are both enhancing and undermining purposes for the same piece of technology. This means that the living of the good life lies in the choice of the one using the technology. - Johnny

0 points

depending on what a persons viewpoint on what a good life is depends on their answer to this question. if a persons viewpoint was that you need to be happy in order to live a good life and technology was what made you happy, which is also basically what Callicles says, then of course technology would be the thing enhancing your ability to live a good life. Opposite to this, if you view a good life as being self-disciplined, like Socrates, then people who are addicted to technology cannot be living a good life, therefore meaning that technology is undermining their ability to live the good life.

1 point

I believe that it can both enhance and undermine the ability to live the good life, it all depends on how we use technology.

1 point

my homie callicles, or, as I call him, C-Dog, says it enhances the good life as he is a very egotistic man who is not necessarily ignorant of other people' interests, or "downsides", to him, but rather is interested in his own interests, or "the better". Therefore, i believe if there is a contentious question such as this, then Callicles would see the good side of it, the benefiting side.

-LEO

Callicles
4 points

I believe that technology enhances the ability of living the good life, but it does not enhance our ability to live the good life. We can live a good life without technology, in it's modernly accepted context, being mobile phones, televisions and computers.

-Leo

Technology enhances one's ability to live a good life, as it opens up avenues to expand profits, which in turn result in finances which can be used by an individual to further their happiness (and thus the good life) especially if following Callicles' beliefs. However, with technology constantly expanding, it is just a matter of time until technology will begin to undermine the experience of good life. Meaning that Socrates notion of self-restraint is still invalid, but has more relevance in terms of restraining technology.

-Rex



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