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The Ethics of Human EnhancementUnderstanding the Debate$
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Steve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, Tony Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.001.0001

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Partiality for Humanity and Enhancement

Partiality for Humanity and Enhancement

(p.170) 12 Partiality for Humanity and Enhancement
The Ethics of Human Enhancement

Jonathan Pugh

Guy Kahane

Julian Savulescu

Oxford University Press

Bioconservative opposition to enhancement often appeals to the value of preserving human nature as it is. But if human nature is the product of blind natural processes rather than divinely given, why shouldn’t we radically change it in beneficial ways? This chapter explores a different strategy for opposing enhancement: the thought that we should preserve human nature simply because it is our nature. A theoretical basis for this strategy can be found in Bernard Williams’ defence of what he calls the ‘human prejudice’ and Jerry Cohen’s defence of a ‘conservative bias’. Having identified some problems with their respective arguments, the chapter briefly sketches a potentially better approach that appeals to the idea of reasonable partiality. It suggests that reasonable partiality for humanity can ground an interesting—if limited—objection to enhancement that is in keeping with themes found in the work of Williams and Cohen.

Keywords:   enhancement, bioconservatism, human nature, Bernard Williams, Jerry Cohen, human prejudice, conservative bias, partiality

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