Is Human Enhancement also a Personal Matter?

TitleIs Human Enhancement also a Personal Matter?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMenuz, V, Hurlimann, T, Godard, B
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Pagination161 - 177
Date Published3/2013
ISSN Number1471-5546
KeywordsBIOENGINEERING , emerging , Emerging Technologies , Genetic , GENETICS , Human , Human Enhancement
AbstractEmerging technologies are increasingly used in an attempt to 'enhance the human body and/or mind' beyond the contemporary standards that characterize human beings. Yet, such standards are deeply controversial and it is not an easy task to determine whether the application of a given technology to an individual and its outcome can be defined as a human enhancement or not. Despite much debate on its potential or actual ethical and social impacts, human enhancement is not subject to any consensual definition. This paper proposes a timely and much needed examination of the various definitions found in the literature. We classify these definitions into four main categories: the implicit approach, the therapy-enhancement distinction, the improvement of general human capacities and the increase of well-being. After commenting on these different approaches and their limitations, we propose a definition of human enhancement that focuses on individual perceptions. While acknowledging that a definition that mainly depends on personal and subjective individual perceptions raises many challenges, we suggest that a comprehensive approach to define human enhancement could constitute a useful premise to appropriately address the complexity of the ethical and social issues it generates.
Short TitleSci Eng Ethics
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