The enhancement debate continues

Human enhancement has been a hot-topic in bioethics for a number of years. The latest edition of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics takes stock of the field.

Several significant figures in the enhancement debate, such as the Nicholas Agar, Rob Sparrow and Anders Sandberg, contribute to the volume, engaging at length with the morality of using biotechnology to promote moral behavior and augment the capacities of human beings.

Several contributions address the question of whether, if we were able to enhance ourselves and others, such enhancements would be desirable. A significant proportion of the discussion also focuses on terminological debates about the scope of the concept of “moral enhancement”, and whether or not it pertains to already existing technologies and practices in society.

In his paper “Moral bioenhancement and free will: continuing the debate”, Vojin Raki challenges Savulescu and Persson’s defence of compulsory moral enhancement. According to Raki, a state-sanctioned enhancement initiative could undermine the very aims of moral enhancement, among other reasons by replacing local injustices with broader political repression.

Some commentators are sceptical about the possibility of moral enhancement. Yet according to Raki, “this special section is one more indication that the interest in moral bioenhancement and other sorts of bioenhancements is continuing to increase”.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | enhancement, free will, human enhancement, moral bioenhancement, transhumanism

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