CFP: Human Enhancement and Human Rights (1/1/06; 5/26/06-5/28/06)

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"Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights"

May 26-28, 2006

Stanford University Law School, Stanford, California

Submit proposals via e-mail by January 1, 2006 to

Sponsored by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Center for
Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences
Much of the criticism of enhancement technologies has focused on the
potential for increased discrimination against women, people of color,
the poor, the differently enabled, or "unenhanced" humans. Some
bioethicists have proposed a global treaty to ban enhancement
technologies as "crimes against humanity."

Defenders of enhancement argue that the use of biotechnologies is a
fundamental human right, inseparable from the defense of bodily
autonomy, reproductive freedom, free expression and cognitive liberty.
While acknowledging real risks from genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive
enhancement, defenders of enhancement believe that bans on the
consensual use of new technologies would be an even greater threat to
human rights.

Health care, disability and reproductive rights activists have argued
that access to technology empowers full and equal participation in
society. On the same grounds a generalized right to "technological
empowerment" might connect defenders of enhancement technologies with
disability activists, reproductive rights activists with would-be
parents seeking fertility treatments, the transgendered with aesthetic
body modifiers, drug policy reformers and anti-aging researchers with
advocates for dignity in dying.
Yet what, if any, limits should be considered to human enhancement? On
what grounds can citizens be prevented from modifying their own genes or
brains? How far should reproductive rights be extended? Might
enhancement reduce the diversity of humanity in the name of optimal
health? Or, conversely, might enhancements inspire such an
unprecedented diversity of human beings that they strain the limits of
liberal tolerance and social solidarity? Can we exercise full freedom
of thought if we can't exercise control over our own brains using safe,
available technologies? Can we ensure that enhancement technologies are
safe and equitably distributed? When are regulatory efforts simply
covert, illiberal value judgments?

Between the ideological extremes of absolute prohibition and total
lassez-faire that dominate popular discussions of human enhancement
there are many competing agendas, hopes and fears. How can the language
of human rights guide us in framing the critical issues? How will
enhancement technologies transform the demands we make of human rights?

With the Human Enhancement and Human Rights conference we seek to begin
a conversation with the human rights community, bioethicists, legal
scholars, and political activists about the relationship of enhancement
technologies to human rights, cognitive liberty and bodily autonomy. It
is time to begin the defense of human rights in the era of human

Examples of topics that might be addressed:
Day One: Human Enhancement and Control of the Body

- How much morphological diversity can a polity sustain?
- Animal-human chimeric enhancement and animal rights
- Reproductive cloning: Irrelevant, futile or an important battle?
- Disability rights and cyborg assistive technology
- Life extension and the right to die: Two sides of the same coin?
- Germline engineering and the consent of future generations
- Procreative liberty and the genetic enhancement of children
- The medicalization of transgenderism
- Cosmetic surgery and future body modification

Day Two: Cognitive Enhancement Technology

For instance, papers might address:
- Enhancing capacities for citizenship
- Social equality and cognitive enhancement
- Freedom of thought as a basis for rights to use cognitive enhancement
- Pychoactive drug law reform
- Religious liberty and entheogens
- Regulating the risks of neural implants and brain machines
- The myth of the "authentic self"
- Challenges to human personhood and citizenship from cognitive
- Use of technologies of personality modification in criminal

Instructions for Submitting Presentations

Include all of the following information in a two-page proposal for your

- Title of presentation
- Type of presentation: paper, panel, poster, workshop
- Abstract (25-100 words) for inclusion in the conference program
- Media to be used and audiovisual equipment needed (if any).
- Designated contact person (only one per proposal)
- Complete name, title, organization, address, phone and fax numbers,
and e-mail address for each session presenter
- Brief biographical sketch of each presenter

Please submit your proposal electronically to the conference chair James
Hughes at

The presenters of accepted proposals will need to pre-register for the
conference by April 15, 2006 at the reduced rate of $100 in order to be
included in the program.

For more information please contact the conference chair James Hughes
Ph.D., Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Williams 229B, 300 Summit
St., Hartford CT 06106,, (860) 297-2376.

Timeline for Presenters

   Proposals due by: January 1, 2006

   Notification of acceptance: March 1, 2006

   Deadline for pre-registration by presenters: April 15, 2006

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Received on Tue Nov 08 2005 - 17:14:44 EST