Рус Eng Cn Перевести страницу на:  
Please select your language to translate the article

You can just close the window to don't translate
ваш профиль

Вернуться к содержанию

Philosophical Thought

Definition of essential attributes of a person through criticism of positive eugenics

Mamarasulov Andrei Ravkhatovich

PhD in Philosophy

Associate Professor, Far Eastern Federal University

690002, Russia, Primorskii krai, g. Vladivostok, pr. Krasngogo Znameni, 51, kv. 636
Other publications by this author








Abstract: The purpose of the work is to identify and comprehend the essential attributes of human existence, which are found to be conceptually opposite in relation to the eugenic doctrine of the foundation. The subject of the study are such attributes of human existence as universality, stability, self-existence, self-identity. The arguments put forward by eugenics as a positivist concept, on the contrary, are based on the idea of human nature as a biologically strictly determined and changeable material for the implementation of artificial transformation. The criticism of this premise undertaken in the work, as well as the criticism of the likely consequences of the use of positive eugenics, reveals the destructiveness of the eugenic doctrine. Applying the method of critical analysis, the author raises the question: "Is positive eugenics possible at all?" - and within the framework of philosophical anthropology answers it. The author comes to the conclusion that the implementation of the doctrine of positive eugenics threatens with distortions incompatible with the existence of man. The main conclusion of the study is: the essential moment of human existence is the fundamental basis that establishes the anthropological prohibition on the implementation of eugenic transformations. As a result, the attributes of a person's essential being - universality, stability, self-existence, self-identity - are revealed as quite effective conditions for human existence, which gives these attributes an additional degree of conceptual significance and cognitively concretizes their being. The results of the study of the causes of the failure of positive eugenics can be applied in the field of anthropology, ethics, bioethics, axiology.


versatility, identity, self - existence, atibut, entity, the being of man, eugenics, anthropology, the essence of man, ethics

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.


The historical direction of anthropology, which develops the issue of improving the biological nature of man, is the doctrine of "positive" or "humanistic" eugenics. The goal of positive eugenics is to breed a new, more "expedient" human "breed" by artificial selection. The fundamental difference between positive eugenics and "negative" is the inadmissibility of discrimination on any basis or quality, since positive eugenics does not exceed the limits of humanistic values [1, 13-14]. Offering a method of breeding (although it can be supplemented by genetic engineering [2]), eugenics seems to be a simple, "eco-friendly" way of transforming the biological nature of man, tested on plants and animals for thousands of years [3]. Therefore, from the purely technical side, the claim of eugenics to create a "new person" is a completely feasible process, similar in effectiveness to the use of artificial selection in relation to domesticated species, where selection leads to rapid and qualitative results [4].

 Inconsistency of the basic premises of the doctrine of positive eugenics

 Why do we raise the topic of positive eugenics in relation to modern culture? The first reason is vital. In a humanistically oriented society, the attitude to the doctrine of positive eugenics can be characterized as contradictory [5]. On the one hand, positive eugenics is condemned as ethically very ambiguous. On the other hand, if the external conditions of human existence (say, during a global environmental catastrophe) change dramatically, then it is acceptable that humanity will be forced to modify its biological nature. These positions "for" and "against", which are mainly in the field of ethics, should be tested by philosophical anthropology.

The second reason is teleological. Civilization has such an intensively developing scientific potential for improving the human body (biology, genetics, medicine, cybernetics, etc.) [6] that the question arises about the goal: why improve the human body? Humanism has an elementary answer: for human life. But, as in the first case, this answer is only in the ethical dimension and should be checked from the standpoint of philosophical anthropology, namely: if the principle of humanism is the unity of the universal human essence of a person and the welfare of an individual [7], then is this unity of essence and phenomenon not lost here? What is the purpose of human biological transformation in general? Or from the opposite: if the transformation of human nature is deemed expedient, then what is the insufficiency of the latter?

The third reason is axiological, or the problem of qualities. Throughout the prehistoric genesis of man as a species, there was a natural selection of certain physical qualities. The epoch of cultural genesis supplemented them with the selection of mental qualities. In both cases, the human body and psyche experienced serious environmental pressure, being forced to acquire the qualitative form on the basis of which selection took place in the natural environment, and then in culture. However, it would not be an exaggeration to say that at the present stage of civilization, characterized as a "consumer society", human qualities, in fact, any – creative, volitional, intellectual, physical, etc. – are relatively devalued [8] and reveal a tendency to amorphization. Figuratively speaking, spiritual and mental qualities lose their shape in the same way as the body with excessive nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. This problem of weakening qualities, which calls into question the future of atropogenesis, brings to life the doctrine of eugenics as a spontaneous reaction to this problem. This means that both this "new eugenics" itself and the ethical objections to it must be tested by philosophical anthropology. Is it even possible to transform human nature for the sake of preserving and developing human qualities as a value?

Thus, the situation with the doctrine of positive eugenics is seen as very contradictory [9]. On the one hand, humanistic ethics does not allow putting the principle of biological hierarchy on any basis above the principle of the essential equality of people. On the other hand, this ethics itself allows for the possibility of applying eugenics in the three cases mentioned above, when humanity, the very existence of man is in danger. Such a situation of uncertainty regarding the question of the transformation of human biology (that is, in the extremely responsible question of the transformation of our very being) obliges us to think: is positive eugenics possible from the standpoint of philosophical anthropology in general? Is it not in contradiction with the essential conditions of human existence?

  The vital premise of positive eugenics and the essential attribute of human self-existence

 The first position with which the eugenic doctrine must inevitably come into conflict is the principle of human self-existence. Philosophy always preserves as an integral condition of human existence the question of freedom and essential autonomy – self-existence. Metaphysics connected with the solution of this question speaks of spirit and freedom as fundamental attributes of anthropology [10]. Freedom by an invisible boundary separates a person from the dictates of natural and cultural necessities, from which it is impossible to explain a person, personality, mind in the form of a system excluding freedom. However, let's imagine that the selection of the human species has become technically possible and has been realized due to a situation rigidly dictated by nature or culture. What will happen in this case?

If eugenics is implemented practically, then there will be a reason for the morphology of this "new" person, who will automatically fall into a vital and existential dependence on culture as a fact determining his existence, becoming like a disabled person who is vitally dependent on a prosthesis. After all, positive eugenics is in itself an appeal to the helplessness or functional inferiority of natural human nature in the context of some fundamental threats or requests. Will the self-consciousness of a person as a person change in this case? Definitely. He will lose his freedom. Man will be existentially subordinated to this eugenic cause as a vital necessity and attribute of his existence, because being and consciousness do not now belong to him completely, which logically will lead to the alienation of man from his own forces and, apparently, from himself in general. "It's not me like that, I was made like that." (In particular, "utilitarian eugenics" – the genetic selection of qualities before the birth of a child – automatically assumes such a character of identification and self-identification) [11, 113-114]. Freedom is such a subtle metaphysical moment that we almost do not feel the fundamental significance of the idea that in essence nothing has the right to control us, because this destroys the functional identity of I =I, "I belong to myself" (self-existence).

Outside of the supposed eugenic transformation, the causality of human existence is not set, because the cause of man here is everything (all nature) and at the same time nothing concrete. When, at a certain stage of anthropogenesis, the mind begins to form itself, it further distances itself from the need for a specific external cause. In addition, there is nothing in the world that is homogeneous to us in quality (similar to God), which could be the cause of man, reason, culture, personality, therefore remaining self-sufficient and left to himself self-existence. The causelessness of self–existence – freedom - distinguishes a person from any phenomenon entirely conditioned by the law of causality. This is the highest known scale of self-awareness. And since such a scale is beyond any measure, it can neither be overestimated nor underestimated, but it can be easily reduced. To represent the latter, it is enough to point out cases of physical and mental dependence on an external cause, such as, for example, the behavior of a drug addict or the consciousness of a politically depressed and broken person. Such images of a person are very depressing due to the complete subordination of causality and the deprivation of natural freedom as a breath. 

Imagine that eugenics transforms human biology itself in relation to a changing environment, for example, transforms the genome so that a person can eat plastic (as one very popular anthropologist seriously suggests). The recognition of the fact of subordination to the environment as a reason for the physical transformation of the human body leads to a change in self-consciousness, shrinking from "I remain essentially free, no matter how circumstances prevent it" to "I remain essentially unfree, no matter what measures of liberation I resort to", which threatens to completely distort the principle of human self-existence. It is not difficult to imagine how much self-consciousness, self-esteem, ethics, aesthetics of humanity degrades at the same time, consciously condemning itself to transform itself in such a way that it is quite natural to eat not only plastic, but also on equal grounds and waste of the physiological activity of organisms. Thus, even when positive eugenics is presented as a saving means for the survival of the species, it cannot be called positive in any way, because there are the strongest distortions of one of the anthropological conditions of human existence – the idea of freedom and self-existence.

  The teleological premise of positive eugenics and the attribute of stability of human essence

 Another aspect of positive eugenics that requires analysis is related to the idea that there is a potential for development in the biological nature of man and, accordingly, with the recognition of the current imperfection of man [12, 276]. In this case, it is necessary to find out what this "imperfection" is, whether it is actually a kind of human insufficiency or a flaw in biological evolution.

A biological species is specialized for specific environmental conditions; a human being is not just a species, but a new meaning, a previously unprecedented form of living being that overcomes the limits of the body with technology. This "liberation from the coercion of the species" [13, 476], which led to the species overachievement of homo sapiens, rests on evolutionary processes – natural selection and, as part of it, sexual. Due to the incredible brevity, by the standards of evolution, of the impact on the anthropogenesis of culture, its influence after the formation of the modern brain did not make any significant "amendments" to the biology of our species [14, 216-217]. Therefore, and also taking into account the factor of protection from the natural environment on the part of culture, it is impossible to judge in which direction selection is moving in the era of cultural genesis. However, having traced natural selection in the manifestations of sexual selection (as a biological process), it is possible to notice certain trends and in this way, albeit indirectly, delineating the line of direction of sexual selection, to determine the "imperfection" of human nature, against which, presumably, selection is taking place, which would justify positive eugenics.

Sexual selection in animals is "discrete": "either plus or minus", in the process of survival "it's no joke", therefore, the selected signs in the animal environment are obvious and clearly defined. This is due to the fact that animal existence does not act as stable, but, on the contrary, biologically plastic, changeable, adaptive. If sexual selection in animals is logical and predictable (for example, simply by the mass of an individual), then sexual selection in humans is more like a confusion associated with the need to look for two heterogeneous and often mutually exclusive creatures in one partner – an "animal" (for gene transfer, physical attraction) and a "human" (for long-term joint upbringing of culturally acceptable offspring). In comparison with the discrete clarity of selection in the animal environment, sexual selection for humans – "sexual love" – is either ambivalent confusion, or metaphysics [15], or randomness ("Almost always we see that males and females <human – A.M> get closer due to some random meeting, without showing special intelligibility") [16, 323], or a strong and, as a rule, fruitless passion [17, 240-242]. Turning through culture into a fleur of transcendental goals, and in psychology (libido theory), on the contrary, into an immanent energy means for culture, sexual selection in humans speaks for itself that it is not a clear structurally conditioned process, but something abstract-indefinite and from the subjective side spontaneous-chaotic.

Such a clear contrast with animals suggests that sexual selection in humans is either determined in a very special way, or makes us doubt the need for sexual selection as an instrument of adaptability of our species in the era of cultural genesis. And the fact that throughout almost the entire history of culture, marriages of both lower and higher classes were almost everywhere carried out "by calculation", and not naturally (instinct, attraction) or by selection, speaks in favor of the fact that the stability of human nature achieved before – in the process of evolution – does not lead to degradation of the species. This is directly confirmed by the fact of the success of man as a species. At the same time, for the universality of our biology that has already been achieved by evolution, a person has to "pay" either by liberation from natural determinism on the part of sexual selection, or by very strong irrationalism in this sphere of life.

In fact, the determination of sexual instincts, on the one hand, is violated by culture, and on the other hand, culture itself in sexual selection is in no way aimed at reasonable selection of the species (as it is assumed by eugenics). And since there is no sexual selection (natural or artificial) as a stable, expedient process in human existence (despite the fact that culture is progressing), this probably means that sexual selection is simply not needed by man as a species. Human nature was formed evolutionarily before cultural genesis and represents the stability of the universal essence.

The absence of any clear signs of necessity in human sexual selection, the anthropological freedom from this necessity as a clear determination of life by sexual selection is evidence in favor of the fact that the essence of man has already been formed, and, consequently, the eugenic promise for further biological transformation of the species has no grounds. Let us explain this by analogy: the species certainty of a dog is formed by a person as a given, while the increase in the diversity of dog breeds, expanding the range of functionality from decorative to service, is proof of the universality of this species certainty, while the very reality of the latter does not need any transformation, but, on the contrary, should be exceptionally stable.

Essence by definition is something universal [18]. The concept of the "universal essence of man" implies the idea that it is a formed and sufficient given and at the same time a universal given, capable of practically and theoretically embracing all existing being. Such a statement may seem too strong, but the practical dominance of man on the planet, his existing knowledge about the ultimate, for example, about the origin, no less, of the universe itself, does not it speak of the ability and sufficiency of the human essence in order to encompass all existing existence? This all-encompassing property of the human essence is due in fact to its stability, which provides the basis for the emergence of new modifications of human activity.

The question is: what and why is it required to improve eugenically in human biology, if this morphology already fully corresponds to its essence – complete, universal, stable and directed to the future? Obviously, human biology represents the optimum of that essential state, which we call the concept of "man". Even using all the imagination and excluding utopias, it is difficult to imagine something fundamentally better, qualitatively different, that could be achieved by humanity under given conditions of existence. In addition, there is a cardinal difference between all living things and humans in the basic characteristics of the method of survival. Biological nature is evolutionarily adaptable – plastic and changeable. Human nature, on the contrary, is stable, essentially unchangeable and, therefore, adapts not itself, but nature.

It turns out that the question "why and what needs to be eugenically improved in human biology?" is easier to answer "there is nothing and nothing" than to try to come up with some intelligible, positive answer (excluding fiction like eternal youth and immortality). The biological nature of man probably does not contain any fundamental "flaws" or shortcomings that make its transformation desirable. Accordingly, in the teleological aspect, eugenics, at least, is devoid of a conscious conceptual goal – its declaration on the improvement of man is aimless and makes no sense. Consequently, even here positive eugenics cannot be called positive in the sense of a rationally constructive concept.

 The axiological premise of positive eugenics and the attributes of universality and identity of the essence of man

 The third aspect of positive eugenics – axiological, associated with the alleged tendency to the degradation of human qualities in consumer society and appealing to the replenishment of the "anthropological form" by artificial means – eugenic selection – has, perhaps, the most obvious counter-argument. Human qualities have immediate significance, but they cannot be self–worth - such self-worth is only the universal essence of man, the expression of which the former are. Let us explain this by examples of those qualities that seem very vulnerable in the situation of modern culture, in any case, the temptation to use eugenics in their relation is most noticeable, namely: an abundance of psychological stress and neuroticism, degradation of intellectual life, the problem of loss of physical form. Let's imagine three situations in which such qualities are modified in the direction of a significant increase, as: in the psychological field – stress resistance, in the mental – intellectual capabilities, in the physical – external attractiveness in the form of some symbolic expression of physical form.

In the case of stress tolerance, having received by eugenic means an individual who is phlegmatic about any neuroticism, perfectly balanced in stressful states, we will see something whose life is in terms of understanding other people's and one's own emotions, sensory perception of reality, the subtleties of art, the ability to humor, etc., that is, everything that requires mental reflection of a certain emotional range, it automatically turns out to be suppressed at the very base. Naturally, such an "improvement" leads to a sharp alienation of the individual from the communicative life, and hypertrophied stress resistance turns out to be not a virtue, but a distortion akin to a pathological one. That is, the strengthening of the selected quality in favor of specialization leads to its hypertrophy and, as a result, to ugliness with all the destructive consequences for society and the personality itself.

The same thing occurs in the situation with eugenic selection based on intelligence. Let's imagine an individual whose intelligence has undergone a significant eugenic enhancement relative to a certain marginal norm. Historically, it is well known that genius already borders on insanity, respectively, further strengthening of intelligence leads only to hypertrophy and ugliness, because such an "improved person" will completely and in all senses fall out of life under the anthropologically unnatural burden of the intelligence given by eugenics. A similar situation arises in the case of eugenic selection on the basis of external attractiveness. By virtue of the dominant of this hypertrophied quality – which applies, for an understandable reason, primarily to a woman – complete identification of oneself only with a sexual object will impose strong distortions on the adequacy of the mental, moral, intellectual and even physiological state of such a eugenically derived doll-man and, accordingly, will cause an attitude towards him as an obvious distortion of human essence.

It follows from the above examples that the hypertrophied development of a particular quality and its dominance over others transforms a person from a universal being into a special one. But eugenics cannot act otherwise, because it is no different from conventional breeding, where something special is always required in the form of some individual qualities (the amount of fructose in strawberries, the elongated body of a dachshund, etc.). However, all this is unacceptable in relation to a person. And not in terms of preserving a certain "balance of qualities", which is just not set, being the subject of free individual development and social choice, but in principle – in the universality of human nature, which sets the very order of diversity and unity of qualities. Our qualities are manifestations of the universal essence of man, in which they interact and develop. Therefore, in the axiological aspect, eugenics does not allow to achieve positivity and, therefore, cannot be recognized as positive: the ugliness of the hypertrophied specialization of qualities is purely negative.

 Perhaps there remains an option in which eugenic selection will be carried out towards the development of universality? However, universality is not some kind of phenomenal quality subject to selection, like mathematical abilities or musical hearing. She is a universal – the possibility of everything. No matter how versatile an individual may be, he does not come close to the all-encompassing universality of all possible manifestations of man. An individual can be considered only as a symbol, more relevant than others expressing the idea of the universality of the human being - the essence. The same is the case with humanity, limited by the framework of the present time or history, within which universality is realized as its fragments, and it itself remains something similar to Hegel's self-revealing "absolute idea". Meanwhile, being an essential attribute, universality is most beautifully instilled as an idea that is determined not biologically at all, but from the side of culture, as, say, it took place in ancient Greek culture, focused on the idea of a universally developed person.

From the understanding of man in the form of being essential – universal and stable – in radical opposition to positive eugenics, which reduces man to adaptability and variability (that is, as shown above, to the properties of flora and fauna), a form of substantiality follows, which adds self-identity to the attributes of universality and immutability. "Substance is that which appears through itself" [19]. Let us illustrate this definition of Spinoza as follows: our individual "I" can be represented only by being it – "by itself". The "I" remains unchanged – absolutely stable, regardless of all changes in external and internal being. It is the only thing in us that is always identical with itself. If we expand the "I" of an individual to the scale of the "I" of the universal, when each individual can answer the question "who am I?" with "man", then the same attribute of identity "man" will take place here, as in the case of the "I" individual. Now imagine that eugenics modifies an individual in the direction of one or another "improvement". As a result, an extremely strange situation will arise when a eugenically modified individual loses his identity with the concept of "man", and, accordingly, his entire reality is no longer the reality of a person, but of someone else, since the substitution of a substance with a concept makes the concept of "man" relative.

The substantiality of human existence ensures the identity of a person with another, just as logic is provided by the position A = A. Eugenics leads to variability, and hence to the elimination of universal identity. The judgment about the essence of "the other is a person like myself" (A = A) is the first thing to read, despite all the phenomenal differences, trust in the other, and at the same time it is the last thing that does not allow you to leave the possibility of understanding the other despite the contradiction with him and his rejection is relevant. It's not even about the general principle of humanism, but about the simplest anthropological communication. It is impossible to imagine the extreme degree of disorder and disharmony that the biological elimination of the substantial identity "man is man" will lead to. All practical interactions between people, the unity of the principles of emotional and verbal communication, value forms of perception, sensuality and sensitivity, logic, etc., etc., based on the ability to represent the substance, i.e. "man", through himself, will be reduced to chaos and absurdity. How can I objectively understand the logic of the other person's thought structure, his emotional reaction, say, the cause of tears or laughter, if in principle I cannot find a match for this in myself, because he is no longer phenomenally different, but by nature due to a eugenic change? If we take into account the already colossal psychological nonlinearity of the consciousness of any individual and its quality as a microcosm, and also take into account that every eugenically altered person can be changed in some specific way (even representing not an individual variation of feelings, will and thought, but also their complete "logic in itself"), then obviously, mutual understanding will be (due to the "accumulation of error" and the lack of essential trust) impossible in principle. That is, it is extremely difficult to expect anything other than a complete social collapse here.

In addition, the elimination of the substantial basis leads both to the nihilation of the dignity of a natural person in the meaning of "genuine, real person", and, conversely, to the nihilation of the dignity of an artificially created person in the meaning of "a fake for a person". Both will cause chaos of self-identification and self-esteem and, accordingly, will open the way to arbitrariness in terms of the nihilation of the concept of human dignity in general. Who is a "real person", and who is a "fake person", natural or artificially created, "improved"? For the value-measuring being of humanity, this question will remain beyond the scope of the answer due to the complete absence of an opponent in the ethical dialogue. The "answer" under these conditions can be obtained only through the relation of the power of one over the other, since, logically speaking, if 2A is not equal to A, then 2A is superior to A. Moreover, without absolute stability of the substance ("man is man"), eugenics will create such absolute variability when the human "who am I?" it turns into "what am I?", the subject into an object (an abstract derivative of technical qualities). And this means the destruction of the individual "I", which, of course, is completely opposite not only to any ethical intentions, but, of course, to the value nihilation of human existence itself.


Thus, in the axiological aspect, eugenic transformation does not lead to the strengthening of human qualities, but to the opposite – to the complete amorphization not only of the qualities themselves, but of human existence in general. The body of an individual, losing the universality replaced by specialization, is deformed. The natural unity of a person's biosocial being is torn apart by the priority of the biological principle, which leads to the collapse of the social. The individuality remaining outside the social principle, based on the "improved" physical qualities of the object ("what") in contrast to the substantial form of the subject "who", becomes depersonalized, loses self-identification and ceases to be a source of ethics and values. That is, here, as elsewhere, positive eugenics does not achieve anything positive by inverting its ideals into their radical opposite. But for what reason is this happening?

Here it is necessary to answer a very broad philosophical question, since particular arguments against positive eugenics should have a basis in a general principle [20]. Why does anthropology hinder eugenics, despite the humanistic will of the latter for a better life for man, as well as the significant technical potential of civilization? We have the right to ask: on what basis are we prohibited from eugenically creating ourselves independently, because at the same time we use the "legal" mechanisms of nature itself? Obviously, nothing forbids us to do this, just as nothing forbids humanity to unleash a suicidal nuclear war, arrange an ecological collapse, or simply nothing deprives us of the freedom to act irreversibly irrationally, that is, insanely.

So is it really only the desire to live – vitality – that sets the limit to eugenics? What, then, distinguishes us from an innumerable number of biological species that tried to adapt by changing their bodies, and disappeared or, due to permanent variability, were initially forced to disappear in the evolutionary process? Obviously, what distinguishes us from them is that we don't have to change our body. The present existence of a person is essentially universal, stable, free, self–identical, and is a sufficient basis for actual and potential human activity. On the contrary, the violation of these attributes by eugenics reduces man to the priority of biological vitality and suggests that man as a species is doomed in advance to share the impersonally changeable, fluid, like water in a Heraclitic river, the fate of other species. And if the essential being determines at least the difference from the vital existence, and at most ensures the existence of our species, then the very idea of the essential being of man is the answer to the question of why it is an insurmountable obstacle to the logic of positive eugenics, which, as a concept of the philosophy of positivism, does not possess this idea of the essential being of man.



First Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The reviewed article aims to analyze the attitude of modern culture to the concept of "positive eugenics", in which, unlike the "negative" one, there is no "discrimination on any basis or quality", as a result of which, allegedly, there is an orientation towards "breeding by artificial selection of a new, more "appropriate" human "breed"""does not exceed the limits of humanistic values." The author argues that so far discussions on this topic have taken place only "in an ethical dimension," meanwhile, the "goals" of the actions proposed in this regard should be verified "anthropologically," "from the side of philosophical anthropology." Actually, two main problematic points have already been outlined here: first, the worldview-laden concept is the original concept of the theory under consideration, "artificial selection". What consequences should follow from this concept for human freedom? Secondly, how "from the side of philosophical anthropology" can one "verify" the validity of certain attitudes of participants in discussions on moral issues? In the reviewer's opinion, the answer to the first question can only be very simple: "artificial selection" is incompatible with freedom, and therefore with humanity itself, therefore the opinion that "positive eugenics" does not violate humanistically motivated prohibitions is only an illusion. On the second issue, the author complements his position by calling into question the "future of atropogenesis" in the modern "consumer society", which, in fact, according to the proponents of "positive eugenics", and "brings to life" their doctrine as a "spontaneous reaction to this problem". Considering the different approaches, the author summarizes them in the question: "Is it even possible to transform human nature for the sake of preserving and developing human qualities as a value?" Well, the answer lies on the surface again: it is possible (that is, in fact "permissible") if "human qualities" turn out to be more valuable than the person himself for those who will make socially significant decisions in this area. Is it necessary to define this type of society? I don't think so. The author, analyzing in the following exposition the most significant pros and cons of "positive eugenics", also moves towards exposing its imaginary compatibility with humanistic values. Obviously, he concludes, "we are different from them (other biological species, - reviewer) just that we shouldn't change our body." Let's add: because the "essence of a person" is determined not by his body, but by a substantially understood personal principle realized in social and spiritual existence. It seems that the reviewed article is able to attract the attention of a wide range of readers by the acute formulation of the problem, the erudition of the author and his conviction of the importance of the topic under discussion. Nevertheless, there are many fragments left in the text that need correction and additions. First of all, the article needs to be structured; it cannot be said that it is written in an accessible way, and adding subheadings will help the reader better navigate complex material. Further, there are many errors left in the text, in some cases there are obvious typos ("a biological species is a successful specialist only in specific conditions", "it is universal – the possibility of everything ..."), in some cases there are stylistic and punctuation errors ("hence the question ...", "however, universality is not some kind of subject ..." (a dash is necessary), "no matter how comprehensively developed ..." (would be), "as well as significant technical potential" ("also" in this case should be written together), etc.). Of course, all such errors should be eliminated before publication. Despite the relevance of the topic chosen by the author and the interesting content of the article, the abundance of typos and errors, as well as the need to structure the text, determine the decision to recommend sending the article for revision.

Second Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

Review of the article Definition of essential human attributes through criticism of positive eugenics The scientific article "Definition of essential human attributes through criticism of positive eugenics", submitted by the author to the journal Philosophical Thought, reveals issues affecting several important layers of philosophical analysis of human nature. The topic of human transformation based on scientific discoveries (especially with regard to successes in the field of genetic engineering and biotechnology in general) is undoubtedly relevant for modern society. Humanity, thanks to advanced technologies and a kind of pragmatism, has come closer than ever to discoveries that can significantly transform the world and human nature itself. However, the price of this intervention is a philosophical problem that affects not only the creation of a new being (superman), but also the future social structure, the change of the entire value system, interpersonal relationships, relationship with nature, etc. The proposed research focuses on the topic of the inconsistency of the basic premises of the doctrine of positive eugenics and its special significance within the framework of modern culture. At the same time, the author points out a number of reasons that, from his point of view, explain why this idea should be addressed in modern culture. Within the framework of a critical analysis of the main ideas of eugenics, the author identifies three main reasons. The first is vital (the doctrine of positive eugenics is interpreted inconsistently and ethically ambiguously). Therefore, he believes, it is quite fair in this case to give a detailed analysis from the perspective of philosophical anthropology. The second reason is teleological (what is the purpose of human biological transformation?). The third reason is axiological (the problem of weakening qualities, calling into question the future of atropogenesis). Here the author touches upon the most important question, in my opinion, about the possibility of transforming human nature for the sake of preserving and developing human qualities as a value. Although the subject of the study is not specifically highlighted by the author, it is quite obvious that within the framework of philosophical and anthropological analysis and with the help of a critical understanding of a number of provisions of positive eugenics, it is associated with the identification of stable, essential attributes of human existence. Of particular interest and relevance, in my opinion, is the question raised by the author about responsibility for the consequences of including uncertainty in the very essence of human nature, for the "transformation of our very being." The author of the article points out that this "obliges us to think: is positive eugenics possible from the standpoint of philosophical anthropology in general? Does it conflict with the essential conditions of human existence?" Since the modified individual loses his identity with the concept of "man", and this makes the concept of "man" relative, that is, there is a "fake for a person". As a result, the article notes, we may encounter "the extreme degree of disorder and disharmony that the biological elimination of the substantial identity of "man is man" will lead to." Another important issue raised by the author in the article is related to the problem arising from the destruction of identity – this is the "chaos of self-identification and self-esteem" or the question of "human dignity in general". This topic, it seems to me, will be the most promising in the near future. The history of the analysis of the problem under consideration is quite diverse and requires a serious interdisciplinary knowledge base in the field of modern bioethics, genetics, anthropology, etc. Therefore, in my opinion, it is so difficult to maintain the bar of a broad scientific and philosophical approach, which was, for example, N.N. Moiseev. In general, the author manages to interest and at the same time preserve the scientific style of presentation. Periodically, disputes arise in the intellectual environment about "human design" (concepts such as "human fabrication", "human design", etc. are also used). In this regard, the article by Professor E.N. Shulga "The Philosophy of Eugenics: gains and losses" is interesting, which presents "the conceptual provisions of eugenics, criticizes its weaknesses, and indicates the prospects relevant in connection with the development of medical genetics, sociobiology, biopolitics, and evolutionary epistemology." Unfortunately, the author does not refer to this work, although there are interesting parallels in the articles. The methodology of the research in the article is not specifically indicated by the author, but he consistently develops a philosophical analysis, as a result of which he manages to reduce a number of key ideas and, as a result, clearly formulate the main conclusions. The novelty in the work, in my opinion, is present and it is associated with the author's special view on the nature of the so-called positive eugenics, which as a result is considered by him through correlation with the concept of humanism, which leads to even greater semantic ambivalence in the presentation of this doctrine. The title of the article, in my opinion, corresponds to the content. The stated analysis is present in the content of the text. The tasks set by the author within the framework of this article have been completed. The nature and style of presentation of the material meet the basic requirements for scientific publications of this kind. The article is logically structured, stylistically sustained. The necessary links have been made in the text. The text of the scientific article is structured, the allocation of subheadings is quite justified, they fully correspond to the content. The bibliography generally reflects the research material, but it is necessary to work on the list of references, there are different designs in the list of sources. Unfortunately, the article clearly lacks at least a brief overview of modern research (both domestic and foreign) on this topic. Perhaps this would enrich the article. In my opinion, this topic has good prospects and may be of interest to a wide range of audiences. As a result, acquaintance with the article left a good impression, since the presented work provokes scientific discussion and arouses scientific interest. Thus, the article "Definition of essential human attributes through criticism of positive eugenics", in my opinion, is relevant and can be recommended for publication.