Barański Jarosław
PDF Print Email
47(2011)3 - Science versus Utopia. Limits of Scientific Cognition

Jarosław Barański

The plastic body as an epistemological figure of biotechnological utopia

  • language: English


Summary

Underlying the scientific statements about the possibility of transformation of the human condition lies the rejection of the belief in the perfection of the human existence and the acceptance of beliefs about its biological incompleteness and imperfection, which is a cause of disease, old age, and finally, human mortality. This leads to the acceptance of such understanding of the human condition, where whatever pertains to the flesh is conceived of as an accidental feature.

In the utopian view of biotechnology, the body can be redeemed from bodily deficits, weaknesses, flaws and limitations. The biological nature of man becomes the subject of biotechnological transformation thanks to technologies optimizing the properties of the body, or becomes a technological artefact substituting the body.

This perspective entails a belief in the non–restrictive and unlimited plasticity of the body, which is defined by the equivalence and susceptibility to transformation optimizing its properties. A medical biotechnology project aims to reconstruct the human body, which, thanks to this particular technology, and under its influence, becomes more and more plastic. On the scientific and medical basis the biotechnological utopia is born; it is understood as a design of a perfect, imperishable body, and a body capable of regeneration and self–healing. It raises fundamental questions about human individual identity and its identity as a species.

 

 
PDF Print Email
46(2010)2 - Brain - psyche: contemporary philosophy of medicine

Jarosław Barański

Medicalization of social behaviour. On utopia of a happy soul

  • language: Polish


Summary

The possibilities of therapeutic control of the nervous system encourage the trend towards the medicalization of social behaviors. It involves an interpretation of the emotions and human behavior in medical terms and accepting a possibility to change them by pharmacological therapy. Emotional expressions or non typical behavior that do not comply with the generally accepted standards recognized by medical experts, are defined as a disease (illness), or psychiatric disorders.

The consequence of medical treatment of the mental disorders is an addiction to pharmacological agents that modify not only the behavior of the person but also their perception of themselves, and others, and their experience of the world. Compliance with social norms of behavior leads to the recognition of pharmacologically derived agitation or restraining, as normal and desirable. Moreover, a result of medicalization of social behavior is the belief that through chemical control of the central nervous system mental transformation can be achieved. Therefore, a manifestation of joy and openness, lack of sadness, fear, and grief, as well as resistance to stress is a social norm. Behind this norm there is the concept of health which is mental welfare obtained irrespective of the social environment in which somebody lives. This is a project of a happy soul, which seeks to ensure happiness of those who have lost it, peace to those who, because of others hitherto untreated, were restless.