Mastery Without Mystery: Why there is no Promethean Sin in Enhancement

Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (4):355-368 (2011)
Abstract
Several authors have suggested that we cannot fully grapple with the ethics of human enhancement unless we address neglected questions about our place in the world, questions that verge on theology but can be pursued independently of religion. A prominent example is Michael Sandel, who argues that the deepest objection to enhancement is that it expresses a Promethean drive to mastery which deprives us of openness to the unbidden and leaves us with nothing to affirm outside our own wills. Sandel's argument against enhancement has been criticized, but his claims about mastery and the unbidden, and their relation to religion, have not yet received sufficient attention. I argue that Sandel misunderstands the notions of mastery and the unbidden and their significance. Once these notions are properly understood, they have surprising implications. It turns out that the value of openness to the unbidden is not just independent of theism, as Sandel claims, but is in fact not even fully compatible with it. But in any case that value cannot support Sandel's objection to enhancement. This is because it is not enhancement but certain forms of opposition to enhancement that are most likely to express a pernicious drive to mastery
Keywords Enhancement  Michael Sandel  Bioconservatism  Genetic Selection  Religion  Atheism  Applied ethics  Bioethics
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


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles
    Frances M. Kamm (2005). Is There a Problem with Enhancement? American Journal of Bioethics 5 (3):5 – 14.
    Ruiping Fan (2010). A Confucian Reflection on Genetic Enhancement. American Journal of Bioethics 10 (4):62 – 70.
    Thomas Douglas (2008). Moral Enhancement. Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245.
    Maxwell J. Mehlman (2005). Genetic Enhancement: Plan Now to Act Later. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 15 (1):77-82.
    William Gardner (1995). Can Human Genetic Enhancement Be Prohibited? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (1):65-84.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2011-09-02

    Total downloads

    76 ( #14,628 of 1,089,047 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    4 ( #24,247 of 1,089,047 )

    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.