Human Enhancement: a new issue in Philosophical Agenda

Princípios. Revista de Filosofía 20 (33):265-303 (2013)

Marco Antonio Azevedo
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos
Since before we can remember, humanity aims to overcome its biological limitations; such a goal has certainly played a key role in the advent of technique. However, despite the benefits that technique may bring, the people who make use of it will inevitably be under risk of harm. Even though human technical wisdom consists in attaining the best result without compromising anybody’s safety, misuses are always a possibility in the horizon. Nowadays, technology can be used for more than just improving human capacities, preserving and restoring health or promoting human well-being. It also enables us to overcome human limitations and reach way beyond our "natural design". That being said, what could possibly justify the fear for these new directions of biotechnology? Should medicine and health care change their traditional goals and begin searching for artificial improvements to wellness in human nature? In this paper, I will hereby present and briefly discuss the main topics of the contemporary issue of human enhancement: the therapy-enhancement distinction, the possibility of cognitive enhancements and better physical performances, the fight against senescence, the arguments for and against human eugenics, the search for perfection, the quest of moral enhancement, the problem of public priorities, and some questions on medical ethics. Then, finally, I will want to present some realist perspectives on the subject.
Keywords Human Enhancement  Bioethics  Treatment-Enhancement Distinction
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