Enhancement and the ethics of development

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (1):pp. 1-34 (2008)
Much of the debate about the ethics of enhancement has proceeded according to two framing assumptions. The first is that although enhancement carries large social risks, the chief benefits of enhancement are to those who are enhanced (or their parents, in the case of enhancing the traits of children). The second is that, because we now understand the wrongs of state-driven eugenics, enhancements, at least in liberal societies, will be personal goods, chosen or not chosen in a market for enhancement services. This article argues that both framing assumptions must be rejected, once it is understood that some enhancements— especially those that are most likely to garner resources and become widespread— will increase human productivity. Once one appreciates the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements, one can begin to see that enhancement need not be primarily a zero sum affair, that the social costs of forgoing enhancements may be great, and that the state may well take an interest in facilitating biomedical enhancements, just as it does in facilitating education and other productivity-increasing traditional enhancements. Appreciating the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements also makes it possible to view the enhancement debate in a new light, through the lens of the ethics of development.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/ken.0.0003
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,631
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Michele Loi (2015). Technological Unemployment and Human Disenhancement. Ethics and Information Technology 17 (3):201-210.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

177 ( #21,690 of 1,938,745 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

13 ( #42,472 of 1,938,745 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.