Theme 4: Body As Machine

This Theme represents the view that with medical and pharmaceutical advances that characterise today’s enhancement society, the body can be changed. Thus the body we are born with is no longer a constraint but an opportunity. Whilst the Session content acknowledges the possibility of such advancements, it also challenges the notion that fixed human capacities can be expanded indefinitely and argues that whilst body-modification with pharmaceutical aids is certainly more possible than it was a century ago, it is not limitless. For example, the outcome of hard training – with or without PAES use – is partly determined by the individual’s genetic makeup (e.g., body composition, body type, reaction to training and PAES).

With a carefully facilitated, dynamic debate around this controversial view, self-efficacy to make informed, evidence-based and holistic choices about PAES is augmented via enforcing personal value systems and disciplines in relation to employing PAES to reach the ‘ideal’ body. By recognising, being thoughtful of and personally evaluating different points of views about the human body and the risks associated with these views, learners will be better equipped to comprehend a realistic model of the human body and understand to what extent one can intervene and modify his/her own body – leading to increased critical health literacy.