Bioethics after Posthumanism

Natural Law, Communicative Action and the Problem of Self-Design


  • Elaine Graham University of Manchester



Fukuyama, Gregory Stock, Habermas, biotechnology, Peter Scott


Three recent books by prominent social and political theorists (Francis Fukuyama, Gregory Stock and Jürgen Habermas) have engaged with the impact of biotechnology on our very concepts of human nature, and the corresponding challenges to ethical discourse of the so-called ‘posthuman condition’.

All three writers raise important questions about the role of concepts of ‘human nature’ in moral discourse, and the paper will subject their claims to theological critique. I conclude by proposing, after Peter Scott (2003), that to consider humanity as ‘un/natural’ serves to affirm human interdependence with, rather than transcendence or dominion over, nature; but that similarly, talk of nature itself as ‘post/human’ restores to it a divinely-conferred integrity, liberated from the self-serving interests of technoscientific objectification.

Author Biography

Elaine Graham, University of Manchester

Samuel Ferguson Professor of Social and Pastoral Theology, University of Manchester.


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How to Cite

Graham, E. (2004). Bioethics after Posthumanism: Natural Law, Communicative Action and the Problem of Self-Design. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 9(2), 178–198.