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Human nature and enhancement

Bioethics 23 (3):141-150 (2009)

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  1. The Case for Biotechnological Exceptionalism.Jan-Hendrik Heinrichs - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (4):659-666.
    Do biomedical interventions raise special moral concerns? A rising number of prominent authors claim that at least in the case of biomedical enhancement they do not. Treating biomedical enhancements different from non-biomedical ones, they claim, amounts to unjustified biomedical exceptionalism. This article vindicates the familiar thesis that biomedical enhancement raises specific concerns. Taking a close look at the argumentative strategy against biomedical exceptionalism and provides counterexamples showing that the biomedical mode of interventions raises concerns not relevant otherwise. In particular, biomedical (...)
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  • Human Freedom and Enhancement.Jan-Christoph Heilinger & Katja Crone - 2014 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (1):13-21.
    Ideas about freedom and related concepts like autonomy and self-determination play a prominent role in the moral debate about human enhancement interventions. However, there is not a single understanding of freedom available, and arguments referring to freedom are simultaneously used to argue both for and against enhancement interventions. This gives rise to misunderstandings and polemical arguments. The paper attempts to disentangle the different distinguishable concepts, classifies them and shows how they relate to one another in order to allow for a (...)
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  • A Duty to Explore African Ethics?Christopher Wareham - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):857-872.
    It has become increasingly common to point out that African morality is under-represented in ethical theorizing. However, it is less common to find arguments that this under-representation is unjustified. This latter claim tends to be simply assumed. In this paper I draw together arguments for this claim. In doing so, I make the case that the relative lack of attention paid to African moral ideas conflicts with epistemic and ethical values. In order to correct these shortcomings, moral theorists, broadly construed (...)
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  • Minimally Conscious State and Human Dignity.Jukka Varelius - 2009 - Neuroethics 2 (1):35-50.
    Recent progress in neurosciences has improved our understanding of chronic disorders of consciousness. One example of this advancement is the emergence of the new diagnostic category of minimally conscious state (MCS). The central characteristic of MCS is impaired consciousness. Though the phenomenon now referred to as MCS pre-existed its inclusion in diagnostic classifications, the current medical ethical concepts mainly apply to patients with normal consciousness and to non-conscious patients. Accordingly, how we morally should stand with persons in minimally conscious state (...)
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  • Concerns Beyond the Family.Joseph Chan - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (4):82 – 84.
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  • What Would Some Confucians Think About Genetic Enhancement From the Perspective of “Human Nature”?Kevin Chien-Chang Wu - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (4):80-82.
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  • Human Nature: The Very Idea.Tim Lewens - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):459-474.
    Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...)
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  • Artificial Intelligence and African Conceptions of Personhood.C. S. Wareham - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (2):127-136.
    Under what circumstances if ever ought we to grant that Artificial Intelligences are persons? The question of whether AI could have the high degree of moral status that is attributed to human persons has received little attention. What little work there is employs western conceptions of personhood, while non-western approaches are neglected. In this article, I discuss African conceptions of personhood and their implications for the possibility of AI persons. I focus on an African account of personhood that is prima (...)
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  • A Not‐So‐New Eugenics.Robert Sparrow - 2011 - Hastings Center Report 41 (1):32-42.
    In Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People (2007), John Harris argues that a proper concern for the welfare of future human beings implies that we are morally obligated to pursue enhancements. Similarly, in “Procreative Beneficience: Why We Should Select The Best Children” (2001) and in a number of subsequent publications, Julian Savulescu has suggested that we are morally obligated to use genetic (and other) technologies to produce the best children possible. In this paper I argue that if (...)
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  • Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.
    After describing the disorder of psychopathy, I examine the theories and the evidence concerning the psychopaths’ deficient moral capacities. I first examine whether or not psychopaths can pass tests of moral knowledge. Most of the evidence suggests that they can. If there is a lack of moral understanding, then it has to be due to an incapacity that affects not their declarative knowledge of moral norms, but their deeper understanding of them. I then examine two suggestions: it is their deficient (...)
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  • A Thomistic Appraisal of Human Enhancement Technologies.Jason T. Eberl - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (4):289-310.
    Debate concerning human enhancement often revolves around the question of whether there is a common “nature” that all human beings share and which is unwarrantedly violated by enhancing one’s capabilities beyond the “species-typical” norm. I explicate Thomas Aquinas’s influential theory of human nature, noting certain key traits commonly shared among human beings that define each as a “person” who possesses inviolable moral status. Understanding the specific qualities that define the nature of human persons, which includes self-conscious awareness, capacity for intellective (...)
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  • 초인본주의의 도덕적 향상에 관한 신경윤리학적 성찰과 도덕교육적 함의. 추병완 - 2015 - Journal of Ethics: The Korean Association of Ethics 1 (100):33-62.
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  • On the Moral Status of Hominins.C. S. Wareham - 2019 - Monash Bioethics Review 38 (2):205-218.
    This article evaluates the moral status of hominins, and obligations we may have towards them. In exploring these ethical considerations, I consider one of the most recent hominin finds: the ‘graveyard’ of Homo naledi in the Dinaledi caves at the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa. I argue that findings about H. naledi establish a pro tanto duty not to excavate their remains.
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  • Limits to human enhancement: nature, disease, therapy or betterment?Bjørn Hofmann - 2017 - BMC Medical Ethics 18 (1):56.
    New technologies facilitate the enhancement of a wide range of human dispositions, capacities, or abilities. While it is argued that we need to set limits to human enhancement, it is unclear where we should find resources to set such limits. Traditional routes for setting limits, such as referring to nature, the therapy-enhancement distinction, and the health-disease distinction, turn out to have some shortcomings. However, upon closer scrutiny the concept of enhancement is based on vague conceptions of what is to be (...)
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  • Applied Ethics Series (Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy).Jacob Blair - 2011
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  • Authenticity, Autonomy, and Enhancement.Pei-hua Huang - 2015 - Dilemata 19.
    This paper aims to provide a clarification of the long debate on whether enhancement will or will not diminish authenticity. It focuses particularly on accounts provided by Carl Elliott and David DeGrazia. Three clarifications will be presented here. First, most discussants only criticise Elliott’s identity argument and neglect that his conservative position in the use of enhancement can be understood as a concern over social coercion. Second, Elliott’s and DeGrazia’s views can, not only co-exist, but even converge together as an (...)
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  • Bioconservatism, Partiality, and the Human-Nature Objection to Enhancement.Pugh Jonathan, Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu - 2016 - The Monist 99 (4):406-422.
    “Bioconservatives” in the human enhancement debate endorse the conservative claim that we should reject the use of biotechnologies that enhance natural human capacities. However, they often ground their objections to enhancement with contestable claims about human nature that are also in tension with other common tenets of conservatism. We argue that bioconservatives could raise a more plausible objection to enhancement by invoking a strain of conservative thought developed by G.A. Cohen. Although Cohen’s conservatism is not sufficient to fully revive the (...)
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  • La mejora del carácter moral en la evaluación de las técnicas de mejora biológica.Olga Campos - 2010 - Dilemata 3.
    Deberíamos usar las nuevas técnicas biomédicas para mejorar a los individuos? Si sabemos que la naturaleza humana contiene también características que podemos considerar no deseables entonces parece que no habría nada en sí mismo erróneo a la hora de alterarla. Algunos autores interesados en este tema hacen referencia a los daños que ello podría ocasionar a otros. Pero entonces, ¿la mejora moral podría funcionar como un contraejemplo a la idea de que la mejora biomédica es siempre moralmente impermisible? Puede que (...)
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  • ¿Igualdad Para Los Animales? Mejora Cognitiva Más Allá de Los Seres Humanos.Olga Campos Serena - 2018 - Télos 21 (2):85-98.
    I will take a famous paragraph from J S. Mill as a starting point for defending the idea that moral philosophy has to take charge definitively of those who have been less fortunate in the natural lottery. This means that we must to take seriously the possibility of increasing the capacity for the well-being of nonhuman animals. The aim of the text is to show the relevance of the current ethical debate on enhancement also in the context of reflection on (...)
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  • Selecting Children: The Ethics of Reproductive Genetic Engineering.S. Matthew Liao - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (5):973-991.
    Advances in reproductive genetic engineering have the potential to transform human lives. Not only do they promise to allow us to select children free of diseases, they can also enable us to select children with desirable traits. In this paper, I consider two clusters of arguments for the moral permissibility of reproductive genetic engineering, what I call the Perfectionist View and the Libertarian View; and two clusters of arguments against reproductive genetic engineering, what I call the Human Nature View and (...)
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  • Anthropological Arguments in the Ethical Debate About Human Enhancement.Jan-Christoph Heilinger - 2014 - Humana Mente 7 (26):95–116.
    The paper discusses the role of anthropological arguments in contemporary ethics as exemplified in the current debate about biotechnological human enhancement interventions. Anthropological arguments refer to a normative conception of what it means to be a human being and are highly contested in contemporary moral philosophy. Most often they are promoted to constrain the ethically acceptable use of enhancement technologies. I argue that anthropological arguments can play a fundamental and important role in assessing the moral qualities of enhancement interventions, but (...)
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  • How Human Nature Can Inform Human Enhancement: A Commentary on Tim Lewens's Human Nature: The Very Idea.Grant Ramsey - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):479-483.
    In this commentary on Lewens, I argue that although his criticisms of Machery's conception of human nature are sound, I disagree with his conclusion that human nature cannot inform us regarding issues of human enhancement. I introduce a framework for understanding human nature, the “life history trait cluster account,” which aligns the concept of human nature with the human sciences and allows human nature to inform questions of human enhancement.
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  • What Demarks the Metamorphosis of Human Individuals to Posthuman Entities?Michal Pruski - 2019 - The New Bioethics 25 (1):3-23.
    Humans often seek to improve themselves, whether through self-discipline or through the use of science and technology. At some point in the future, techniques might become available that will change humans to such a degree that they might have to be regarded as something other than human: posthuman. This essay tries to define the point at which such a human-to-posthuman metamorphosis may occur. This is achieved by discerning what is it that makes human substance distinct, i.e. what is the human (...)
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  • Parental Wisdom, Empirical Blindness, and Normative Evaluation of Prenatal Genetic Enhancement.R. Tonkens - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (3):274-295.
    The purpose of this paper is to unveil one problem that surrounds the debate over the moral standing of prenatal genetic enhancement (PGE) and to outline a solution to it. The problem is that we have no way to test our speculations about the consequences of prenatal enhancement without begging the question about the moral permissibility of enhancing unborn children. The only way to empirically support our speculations about the consequences of prenatal enhancement is to resort to ethically worrisome (and (...)
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  • Humility Pills: Building an Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement.Rob Goodman - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (3):258-278.
    The use of cognition-enhancing drugs (CEDs) appears to be increasingly common in both academic and workplace settings. But many universities and businesses have not yet engaged with the ethical challenges raised by CED use. This paper considers criticisms of CED use with a particular focus on the Accomplishment Argument: an influential set of claims holding that enhanced work is less dignified, valuable, or authentic, and that cognitive enhancement damages our characters. While the Accomplishment Argument assumes a view of authorship based (...)
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  • An Empirically Informed Critique of Habermas’ Argument From Human Nature.Nicolae Morar - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (1):95-113.
    In a near-future world of bionics and biotechnology, the main ethical and political issue will be the definition of who we are. Could biomedical enhancements transform us to such an extent that we would be other than human? Habermas argues that any genetic enhancement intervention that could potentially alter ‘human nature’ should be morally prohibited since it alters the child’s nature or the very essence that makes the child who he is. This practice also commits the child to a specific (...)
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  • In Genes We Trust: Germline Engineering, Eugenics, and the Future of the Human Genome.Russell Powell - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (6):669-695.
    Liberal proponents of genetic engineering maintain that developing human germline modification technologies is morally desirable because it will result in a net improvement in human health and well-being. Skeptics of germline modification, in contrast, fear evolutionary harms that could flow from intervening in the human germline, and worry that such programs, even if well intentioned, could lead to a recapitulation of the scientifically and morally discredited projects of the old eugenics. Some bioconservatives have appealed as well to the value of (...)
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  • Breaking Evolution's Chains: The Prospect of Deliberate Genetic Modification in Humans.Russell Powell & Allen Buchanan - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (1):6-27.
    Many philosophers invoke the "wisdom of nature" in arguing for varying degrees of caution in the development and use of genetic enhancement technologies. Because they view natural selection as akin to a master engineer that creates functionally and morally optimal design, these authors tend to regard genetic intervention with suspicion. In Part II, we examine and ultimately reject the evolutionary assumptions that underlie the master engineer analogy (MEA). By highlighting the constraints on ordinary unassisted evolution, we show how intentional genetic (...)
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