The Info-Computational Turn in Bioethics

In Emilian Mihailov, Tenzin Wangmo, Victoria Federiuc & Bernice Elger (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Bioethics: European Perspectives. De Gruyter Open. pp. 108-120 (2019)
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Our technological lifeworld has become an info-computational media populated by data and algorithms, an artificial environment for life and shared experiences. In this chapter, I tried to sketch three new assumptions for bioethics – it is hardly possible to substantiate ethical guidelines or an idea of normativity in an aprioristic manner; moral status is a function of data entities, not something solely human; agency is plural and thus is shared or sometimes delegated – in order to chart a proposal for a posthuman bioethics. Posthuman is perhaps not the best expression available, but it covers the idea of a shift from a world centered on self-contained and exclusively human agency to a more comprehensive and relational way of thinking. The “posthuman” label should be understood as a rebuttal of biocentrism and anthropocentrism by moving closer to conceptions we encounter in population ethics or in discourse about biosocial and technical systems. Posthuman bioethics is “environmentalist” without losing the humanistic stance. The question regarding how suitable an infocentric bioethics is in practice remains to be settled. The moral principles in bioethics could be reconceived as relying on these new assumptions, in a postindividualistic manner that accepts formal primacy of causal digital artifacts in affording actions in a world of ambient algorithmic intelligence.

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Constantin Vica
University of Bucharest


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