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Prophets of the Posthuman
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summary
Prophets of the Posthuman provides a fresh and original reading of fictional narratives that raise the question of what it means to be human in the face of rapidly developing bioenhancement technologies. Christina Bieber Lake argues that works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, Marilynne Robinson, Raymond Carver, James Tiptree, Jr., and Margaret Atwood must be reevaluated in light of their contributions to larger ethical questions. Drawing on a wide range of sources in philosophical and theological ethics, Lake argues that these writers share a commitment to maintaining a category of personhood more meaningful than that allowed by utilitarian ethics. Prophets of the Posthuman insists that because technology can never ask whether we should do something that we have the power to do, literature must step into that role.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-11
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xix
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  1. Introduction. Learning to Love in a Posthuman World
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. Part I: Posthuman Vision
  2. pp. 25-47
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  1. Chapter 1: The Moral Imagination in Exile. Flannery O’Connor and Lee Silver at the Circus
  2. pp. 27-42
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  1. Chapter 2: Aylmer’s Moral Infancy. Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Quest for Human Perfection
  2. pp. 43-59
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  1. Part II: Posthuman Bodies
  2. pp. 61-83
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  1. Chapter 3: The Faces of Others. George Saunders, James Tiptree Jr., and the Body for Sale
  2. pp. 63-84
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  1. Chapter 4: The Scorned People of the Earth. Reprogenetics and The Bluest Eye
  2. pp. 85-105
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  1. Part III: Posthuman Language
  2. pp. 107-129
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  1. Chapter 5: What Makes a Crake? The Reign of Technique and the Degradation of Language in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake
  2. pp. 109-130
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  1. Chapter 6: I Love Humanity, but I Don’t Like You. Walker Percy’s The Thanatos Syndrome and the Soul of Scientism
  2. pp. 131-149
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  1. Part IV: From Posthuman Individuals to Human Persons
  2. pp. 151-173
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  1. Chapter 7: Technology, Contingency, and Grace. Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing”
  2. pp. 153-167
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  1. Chapter 8: The Lure of Transhumanism versus the Balm in Gilead. Marilynne Robinson’s Redemptive Alternative
  2. pp. 168-189
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 190-221
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 222-232
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 233-243
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