The scientific and ethical elements of human enhancement The second important development involves the powerful new gene editing technology known as CRISPR.
Steve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, C. Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal eds. The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate Published: Understanding the Debate, Oxford University Press,pp.
Reviewed by Stephen M. Campbell, Bentley University, and Sven Nyholm, Eindhoven University of Technology Humanity is rapidly developing technologies that hold the promise or peril depending on your perspective of reshaping what it means to be a human being.
Should we embrace human enhancement technologies, or should we resist them? This is the primary question underlying the human enhancement debate.
So-called "bioliberals" and "transhumanists" tend to optimistically welcome the arrival of human enhancement. Others -- who are less easily labeled -- take a more moderate position, which often involves having different reactions to different types of enhancement. This collection offers an overview and assessment of various facets of the human enhancement debate.
According to the editors, this debate has reached an impasse, and there is a need for new arguments and explanations. The two chief aims of this book are to help readers understand the existing debate and to move the debate forward. It consists of an introductory chapter by Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal which lays out some prominent bioconservative objections to enhancementeight essays grouped under the theme of "Understanding the Debate" Section Iand eight devoted to "Advancing the Debate" Section II.
In what follows, we offer brief summaries of each essay and ask whether the book successfully advances the debate. Section I opens with three essays that are more directly concerned with moral psychology than the ethics of human enhancement.
Coady's "Reason, Emotion, and Morality" reviews aspects of the history of philosophy and psychology, contemporary neuroscience, and the philosophy of emotion for the purpose of highlighting various ways in which our emotional and cognitive abilities are intertwined.
The other essays offer a fascinating multi-layered critique of Leon Kass' controversial suggestion that there is some moral wisdom in our reactions of repugnance and disgust.
Joshua May's "Repugnance as Performance Error" argues that our disgust reactions are not actually a source of our moral judgments and that "repugnance is best treated as an exogenous variable that yields 'performance errors'" in much the way that fatigue does In "Reasons, Reflection, and Repugnance," Doug McConnell and Jeanette Kennett raise various objections to Kass' view, appealing to cross-cultural and -temporal variation in disgust reactions and to cases where morally irrelevant factors trigger disgust.
They then draw upon work by Karen Jones on reason-responsiveness and Valerie Tiberius and Jason Swartwood on wisdom to cast doubt on Kass' claim about the normative authority of deep repugnance.
Opponents of Enhancement and the Social Model of Disability" shifts attention to the ethics of procreation. The essay is framed as an exploration of how much opponents of enhancement and disability advocates have in common, though it is perhaps more naturally seen as a critique of the view that parents should not seek to alter genetic or biological features of their children.
Barclay begins with the enhancement critic Michael Sandel, who rejects human enhancement though he seems open to therapeutic interventions to eliminate disease and disability. She then turns to the more sophisticated views of disability advocates, who are generally critical of prenatal selection against disability and will surely also resist the push for enhancement.
Barclay thinks that disability advocates lack a convincing story as to why it's wrong to cause disability and devotes almost half of the essay to critiquing Elizabeth Barnes' attempt to provide such a story.
Although this essay deals more with disability than enhancement, Barclay's discussion particularly in her concluding section is very insightful and has the worthwhile goal of bringing disability studies into conversation with the enhancement debate.
The next two essays analyze specific dimensions of the bioconservative critique of enhancement. John Weckert's "Playing God: What Is the Problem? Drawing on the work of G. Cohen and comparisons with midth-century Christian objections to artificial insemination, John McMillan's "Conservative and Critical Morality in Debate about Reproductive Technologies" interprets conservative objections to reproductive enhancement technologies as being about the values or value-institutions that are threatened by these practices.
In an attempt to understand the human enhancement debate at a more fundamental level, Chris Gyngell and Michael J.
Conceptual Clarity and Moral Significance" offers a much-needed systematic analysis of the various ways that the term "enhancement" has been used in the literature. In the first portion of their essay, they provide an excellent review of seven distinct accounts of enhancement, highlighting some of their implications, advantages, and drawbacks.
The second portion of the essay seeks to establish that the enhancement concept is "useful in moral and policy debates. After reviewing some well-trodden terrain regarding the interests of the child and the parents, Sparrow offers some novel insights about how the interests of "the world" i.
While, in our view, well-being is hardly the only consideration relevant to the ethics of modifying children,  it is undoubtedly a weighty one and Sparrow offers a helpful treatment of the topic.
They then consider whether and how bioconservatives might object to enhancements aimed at promoting the very sorts of values that bioconservatives cherish. They anticipate and respond to two objections that bioconservatives might raise:Human enhancement has emerged in recent years as a blossoming topic in applied ethics.
With continuing advances in science and technology, people are beginning to realize that some of the basic parameters of the human condition might be . Ethics of Human Enhancement December 9, — Originally published: August 20, LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: Ray Kurzweil may not be a household name, but the blind know who he is.
Supporters of human enhancement say the goal is not to create a race of superhumans but to use technological tools to improve humanity and the human condition. Indeed, they say, it is an extension of what humans have been doing for . Ethics of Human Enhancement December 9, — Originally published: August 20, LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: Ray Kurzweil may not be a household name, but the blind know who he is.
We will be able to enhance many more of our abilities in more ways in the near future. Some commentators have welcomed the prospect of wide use of human enhancement technologies, while others have viewed it with alarm, and have made clear that .
Posted in Emerging Technologies, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, News, Transhumanism September 6, The Stimulant Is Banned in Sports But Found in Dietary Supplements.