Human nature and enhancement

Bioethics 23 (3):141-150 (2009)
Abstract
Appeals to the idea of human nature are frequent in the voluminous literature on the ethics of enhancing human beings through biotechnology. Two chief concerns about the impact of enhancements on human nature have been voiced. The first is that enhancement may alter or destroy human nature. The second is that if enhancement alters or destroys human nature, this will undercut our ability to ascertain the good because, for us, the good is determined by our nature. The first concern assumes that altering or destroying human nature is in itself a bad thing. The second concern assumes that human nature provides a standard without which we cannot make coherent, defensible judgments about what is good. I will argue (1) that there is nothing wrong, per se, with altering or destroying human nature, because, on a plausible understanding of what human nature is, it contains bad as well as good characteristics and there is no reason to believe that eliminating some of the bad would so imperil the good as to make the elimination of the bad impermissible, and (2) that altering or destroying human nature need not result in the loss of our ability to make judgments about the good, because we possess a conception of the good by which we can and do evaluate human nature. I will argue that appeals to human nature tend to obscure rather than illuminate the debate over the ethics of enhancement and can be eliminated in favor of more cogent considerations.
Keywords enhancement  normative essentialism  human nature
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    Citations of this work BETA
    Tim Lewens (2012). Human Nature: The Very Idea. Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):459-474.

    View all 7 citations

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    276 ( #925 of 1,089,057 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    39 ( #1,683 of 1,089,057 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


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