Monday, December 2, 2013.
• Objections to human enhancement
o Distributionhow do you decide who gets enhanced?
• Biotechnical Enhancement violates core characteristics
• Biotechnical enhancement is inauthentic
• [Biotechnical enhancement] risks ‘turning us into someone else’ confounding the
identity we have acquired through natural gift and genuinely live experiences
Enhancement vs. Treatment
• What is the difference between medical treatment and medical enhancement?
o The difference seems to turn on a conception of normalcy
• Are there any problems with using normalcy to distinguish treatment from
o What is normal?
o Is there such a thing as normal?
o Graduated conception of normalcy?
Natural vs. Biotechnical Enhancement
• Natural Enhancement: Developing natural faculties through own effort
• Biotechnical Enhancement: Developing or altering faculties through genetic,
pharmacological, cybernetic or surgical means
• Natural enhancement is typically praiseworthy
• Biotechnical enhancements is often though to be objectionable or disturbing
• Michael Sandel (1953)
The Case Against Perfection
• We typically resolve biomedical issues by appealing to autonomy, justice,
beneficence or nonmaleficence
• These standards do not work very well when it comes to human enhancement
• There really is something wrong with human enhancement
• It destroys our appreciation of the gifted character of human power and achievement Traditional Objections to Enhancement
• Unfair to individuals
• Creates an underclass of citizens
Biotechnical Enhancement is Unfair
• Enhanced individuals have an unfair advantage over those who are not
o This criticism is particularly obvious to those who play sports
Schwarzenegger Mice (Muscle Enhancement)
• Should biotechnical methods of muscle enhancement be permitted in professional
• No: It is unfair
o The problem with this objection is that we already allow genetic advantage in
Biotechnical Enhancement will Create Social Underclass
• B.E has the potential to create a genuine biological basis for social inequality
Cognitive (Memory) Enhancement
• Should biotechnologies that enhance a person’s cognitive abilities beyond what is
normal be permitted?
• No: It could create 2 classes in our society
o This objection misses the point
o If the technology was made available to everyone, would it be o