Enhancement – Listening (1)
Modes vs. types
Types - any human capacity that is amenable to enhancement
Modes – things like germ-line enhancement, somatic gene therapy, etc.
Sometimes its hard to distinguish between enhancement and treatment, because
enhancement usually starts as treatment.
Economic development is a type of non-biomedical cognitive enhancement. Things like
literacy which does in fact change the brain, the development of agriculture has enhanced
food security etc. Still enhances us indirectly.
There are no radically new moral issues when it comes to historical enhancement.
Notion of human nature is hard to define and treat as the standard because we don’t really
know the fine lines of human therapy.
Enhancements originally only affordable by the rich could easily diffuse to the rest of the
population, the way cell phones and generic drugs do.
Ambiguity in enhancement – something can be an enhancement, but still may not be an
improvement in even the individual. Enhancement doesn’t necessarily mean an increase
in net gain. It may maximize our abilities but not improve our life or make us happy. In
the particular areas of where enhancements are emerging, we must develop specific and
relevant guidelines. Network effect – the benefit of my having an enhancement may
increase as others gain an advantage. Enhancement doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.
Ex. the value of my being literate is enhanced by others being literate. Enhancement
could possibly boost the intelligence of the disadvantaged and reduce inequalities,
however it could also exacerbate inequalities.
Genetic Enhancement in Sports – Michael Sandel
Criticizes the non-medical use of genetic technology for enhancement. Cure and non-
medical enhancement requires a normative ideal of health. (1) Steroids have long-term
medical risks. (2) Fairness, but the use of it by some, puts others at a disadvantage.
Genetic enhancement in sports, moves us away from the cultivation and display of
natural gifts. It would create an amazing spectacle, but we wouldn’t be watching a sport.
It wouldn’t be athletic achievement. It would make us think of ourselves as wholly self-
sufficient which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Health Allocation – John Broome
How do you evaluate and weigh lives? Is it better to live longer lives or shorter more
flourishing ones? Evaluating good things that have already happened in life versus the
good things that could still happen in life. However there is no certainty in future
goodness. Decision theory – evaluate the possible things that might happen, and attach a
probability to it which gives us the expected value, the average goodness if we do one
thing versus another. QALYS – calculation of life quality. Often we disadvantage people
that are already disadvantaged. It means the unequal distribution of good. Fairness
requires that we receive the good that reflects our need. You can’t always provide
resources fairly especially if they’re limited, but you can always allow fair and equal
access to it.
Use of Animals as Samples of Research and Food Jeff McMahon – Vegetarianism
- the good experiences that animals have matters morally. The gains that people
derive from eating animals don’t outweigh the harm that animals must experience
(all the good that the animal can have from living a longer life). Rearing a
sentient being into existence gives you moral responsibility for that sentient
being’s wellbeing. Bring animals into existence doesn’t mean you can kill it.
There is a hierarchy of value and neurological activity. The produce of animals
itself has no moral status, it is the treatment of the animals who create the produce
that matters. It is important to show respect for the dead human bodies. Organ
transplantation is a type of the consumption of dead human bodies. We would
become cannibals if there was necessary medical benefit from eating human flesh.
The argument is about suffering. Animal suffering matters. Physical suffering
between higher animals and human beings may be very similar, although humans
experience higher psychological status. Unlike other victimized populations,
animals can’t protest. By reinforcing each other’s behaviour, we continue to
perpetuate eating meat even if we are aware it may be wrong.
Peter Singer- Animal Suffering, author of Animal Liberation
- most human beings are persons but we were not born as persons, and some are no
longer persons. Strict utilitarian – maximizing the interests of all sentient beings.
The killing of animals is not the wrongness, but the fact that animals can suffer.
When we’re producing them for food, we are putting them through suffering for
their entire lives - factory farming – all so we can produce food a little more
cheaply. Eating game is more morally permissible than factory farming or free
range meat because being a good shot is short and sweet, and limits suffering.
Speciesism – the point is that we give less weight to the interests of