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Human Enhancement.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHILOS 2D03
Professor
Stefan Rodde
Semester
Fall

Description
Monday, December 2, 2013. Human Enhancement • Objections to human enhancement o Distribution­how do you decide who gets enhanced? o Consequentialist o Social/Political o Identity­based Identity­Based Objections • 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  enhancement? 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 o Why?  Newness?  Shortcut?  Something else? • 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 • Self­defeating • Discriminatory 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  sports? • No: It is unfair o The problem with this objection is that we already allow genetic advantage in  sports 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
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