Human Enhancement

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To what extent should we use technology to try to make better human beings? Because of the remarkable advances in biomedical science, we must now find an answer to this question.

Human enhancement aims to increase human capacities above normal levels. Many forms of human enhancement are already in use. Many students and academics take cognition enhancing drugs to get a competitive edge. Some top athletes boost their performance with legal and illegal substances. Many an office worker begins each day with a dose of caffeine. This is only the beginning. As science and technology advance further, it will become increasingly possible to enhance basic human capacities to increase or modulate cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and to control the biological processes underlying normal aging. Some have suggested that such advances would take us beyond the bounds of human nature.

These trends, and these dramatic prospects, raise profound ethical questions. They have generated intense public debate and have become a central topic of discussion within practical ethics. Should we side with bioconservatives, and forgo the use of any biomedical interventions aimed at enhancing human capacities? Should we side with transhumanists and embrace the new opportunities? Or should we perhaps plot some middle course?

Human Enhancement presents the latest moves in this crucial debate: original contributions from many of the world's leading ethicists and moral thinkers, representing a wide range of perspectives, advocates and sceptics, enthusiasts and moderates. These are the arguments that will determine how humanity develops in the near future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"As an anthology Human Enhancement is bound to be indispensable for anyone is interested in the subject. This collection of essays could be a beginner's first reference guide to the subject, since all essays are brief, engaging, and focused. At the same time, both advanced students and instructors will find the volume intellectually challenging and rewarding, since the essays reveal the complexity of each angle of enhancement and address these numerous angles in depth. In short, Human Enhancement is a must for anyone who is thinking about the moral status of bioengineering, and bioethics in general." --Metapsychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199594962
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,368,703
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Julian Savulescu is Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics, Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and Director of the Program on Ethics and the New Biosciences in the 21st Century School, University of Oxford

Nick Bostrom is Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. He previously taught at Yale University in the Department of Philosophy and in the Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Human Enhancement Ethics: The State of the Debate, Nick Bostrom and Julian Savulescu
Part I - Human Enhancement in General
1. Can anyone really be talking about ethically modifying human nature?, Norman Daniels
2. "Alter-ing" Human Nature? Misplaced Essentialism in Science Policy, Eric Jeungst
3. Should We Improve Human Nature? An Interrogation from an Asian Perspective, Ryuichi Ida
4. The Case Against Perfection: What's wrong with designer children, bionic athletes, and genetic engineering, Michael Sandel
5. What Is And Is Not Wrong With Enhancement?, Frances Kamm
6. Enhancements Are A Moral Obligation, John Harris
7. Playing God, C.A.J. Coady
8. Toward a More Fruitful Debate about Enhancement, Erik Parens
9. Good, Better, or Best?, Arthur L. Caplan
10. The Human Prejudice and the Moral Status of Enhanced Beings: What Do We Owe the Gods?, Julian Savulescu
Part II Specific Enhancements
11. Is Selection of Children Wrong?, Dan W. Brock
12. Parental Choice and Human Improvement, Peter Singer
13. Reasons Against the Selection of Life: From Japan's Experience of Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis, Susumu Shimazono
14. Medical Enhancement and the Ethos of Elite Sport, Torbjorn Tannsjo
15. Life Enhancement Technologies And the Significance of Social Category Membership, Christine Overall
16. Paternalism in the Age of Cognitive Enhancement: Do Civil Liberties Presuppose Roughly Equal Mental Ability?, Daniel Wikler
17. Enhancing Our Truth Orientation, Robin Hanson
Part III- Enhancement as a Practical Challenge
18. The Wisdom of Nature: An Evolutionary Heuristic for Human Enhancement, Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg

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