East Carolina University professor Calvin Mercer has been named co-editor of a new series, “Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and Its Successors.”
The series addresses human enhancement therapies and technologies, applying multiple disciplines to examine an intellectual and cultural movement that advocates the use of emerging technologies including genetic engineering, regenerative medicine, robotics and nanotechnology.
These emerging technologies may enhance desirable human mental and physical abilities while ameliorating human conditions deemed undesirable. Advocates suggest the developments could permit humans to take control of their own evolution and alter the human condition in fundamental ways. Economic, ethical, political, religious, social and other implications of such enhancements are increasingly being discussed.
Sharp disagreements over the social value, morality and feasibility of human enhancement have emerged in early conversations. Mercer said the series will not take an advocacy position. Rather, it will provide a forum for thoughtful debate.
Mercer is an ECU professor of religious studies and director of ECU’s religious studies program. He was the founding chair of the American Academy of Religion Transhumanism and Religion Group, now in its seventh year of successful programs at the annual national meetings. Mercer has co-edited three books and authored several articles on this topic.
His co-editor is Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.
“The questions and issues addressed in the series play critical roles in our welfare and our future,” Mercer said. “I anticipate that increasingly public policy experts, politicians and political think tanks will take up human enhancement technology. An established and reputable series will be well positioned to contribute to this expanded conversation.”