James Hughes (sociologist)

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James J. Hughes
James Hughes.jpg
In San Francisco 2012
Born May 27
Columbus, Ohio
Residence Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Nationality American
Education Ph.D., M.A. (Univ. of Chicago), B.A. (Oberlin College)
Occupation Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies,[1]
Known for Work in Sociology, Executive Director at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), Director of Institutional Research & Planning at Trinity College
Notable work Wrote Citizen Cyborg
Spouse(s) Monica Bock
Website http://ieet.org

James J. Hughes Ph.D. is an American sociologist and bioethicist. He teaches health policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in the United States.[2][3]


Hughes holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he served as the assistant director of research for the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.[3] Before graduate school he was temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1984 while working as a volunteer in Sri Lanka for the development organization Sarvodaya from 1983 to 1985.

Hughes served as the executive director of the World Transhumanist Association (which has since changed its name to Humanity+) from 2004 to 2006, and currently serves as the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, which he founded with Nick Bostrom. He also produces the syndicated weekly public affairs radio talk show program Changesurfer Radio and contributed to the Cyborg Democracy blog.[4][5] Hughes' book Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future was published by Westview Press in November 2004.[6]

Rejecting bioconservatism and libertarian transhumanism, Hughes argues for a third way, "democratic transhumanism," a radical form of techno-progressivism which asserts that the best possible "posthuman future" is achievable only by ensuring that human enhancement technologies are safe, made available to everyone, and respect the right of individuals to control their own bodies.[7]

Citizen Cyborg

James Hughes wrote Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future in 2004, which articulates democratic transhumanism as a socio-political ideology and program.[6]

The editors of the popular science magazine Scientific American recommended Citizen Cyborg in their April 2005 issue.[8]


The emergence of biotechnological controversies, however, is giving rise to a new axis, not entirely orthogonal to the previous dimensions but certainly distinct and independent of them. I call this new axis biopolitics, and the ends of its spectrum are transhumanists (the progressives) and, at the other end, the bio-Luddites or bio-fundamentalists. Transhumanists welcome the new biotechnologies, and the choices and challenges they offer, believing the benefits can outweigh the costs. In particular, they believe that human beings can and should take control of their own biological destiny, individually and collectively enhancing our abilities and expanding the diversity of intelligent life. Bio-fundamentalists, however, reject genetic choice technologies and “designer babies,” “unnatural” extensions of the life span, genetically modified animals and food, and other forms of hubristic violations of the natural order. While transhumanists assert that all intelligent “persons” are deserving of rights, whether they are human or not, the biofundamentalists insist that only “humanness,” the possession of human DNA and a beating heart, is a marker of citizenship and rights.

— James Hughes, Democratic Transhumanism 2.0, 2002


James Hughes, Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

*Hughes, James (1996). "Embracing Change with All Four Arms: A Post-Humanist Defense of Genetic Engineering". Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 6(4), 94-101


James Hughes or one of his works is mentioned/cited in the following articles:


  1. SRF Home | Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Ieet.org. Retrieved on 28 November 2014.
  2. Ford, Alyssa (May–June 2005). "Humanity: The Remix". Utne Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sirius, R. U. (2005). "NeoFiles, Vol. 1, No. 9: Transhumanism's Left Hand Man". Retrieved 2006-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Archived October 15, 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Changesurfer Radio with Dr. J".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Cyborg Democracy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hughes, James (2004). Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-4198-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Hughes_2004" defined multiple times with different content
  7. Hughes, James (2002). "Democratic Transhumanism 2.0". Retrieved 2006-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Hall, Brian K. (2005). "Evo Devo is the New Buzzword: For the 200-year-old search for links between embryos and evolution" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links