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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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Human Enhancement: Conceptual Clarity and Moral Significance

Human Enhancement: Conceptual Clarity and Moral Significance

Chapter:
(p.111) 8 Human Enhancement: Conceptual Clarity and Moral Significance
Source:
The Ethics of Human Enhancement
Author(s):

Chris Gyngell

Michael J. Selgelid

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.003.0008

Debates about human enhancement and capacity-altering biotechnologies are often impeded by a lack of clarity about the concept of enhancement. This chapter identifies seven different accounts of enhancement that have been described in the literature. It argues that there is no need to abandon the term ‘enhancement’, as has been suggested by some theorists. One way in which the term is useful is by drawing our attention to morally relevant spectra. For example, if we understand interventions to be enhancements to the degree that they involve improvement over a (relatively) high level of functioning, and interventions to be treatments to the degree that they involve improvement over a (relatively) low level of functioning, then the concept of enhancement will be morally relevant. This is because interventions at the treatment end of the spectrum will tend to be equality-promoting, and those at the enhancement end will tend to increase inequality.

Keywords:   human enhancement, functioning, equality, morally relevant spectra, capacity-altering biotechnologies

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