Space travel does not constitute a condition of moral exceptionality. That which obtains in space obtains also on Earth!

Medicina E Morale 71 (3):311-321 (2022)
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Abstract

There is a growing body of scholarship that is addressing the ethics, in particular, the bioethics of space travel and colonisation. Naturally, a variety of perspectives concerning the ethical issues and moral permissibility of different technological strategies for confronting the rigours of space travel and colonisation have emerged in the debate. Approaches ranging from genetically enhancing human astronauts to modifying the environments of planets to make them hospitable have been proposed as methods. This paper takes a look at a critique of human bioenhancement proposed by Mirko Garasic who argues that the bioenhancement of human astronauts is not only functional but necessary and thus morally permissible. However, he further claims that the bioethical arguments proposed for the context of space do not apply to the context of Earth. This paper forwards three arguments for how Garasic’s views are philosophically dubious: (1) when he examines our responsibility towards future generations he refers to a moral principle (which we will call the principle of mere survival) which, besides being vague, is not morally acceptable; (2) the idea that human bioenhancement is not natural is not only debatable but morally irrelevant; and (3) it is not true that the situations that may arise in space travel cannot occur on Earth. We conclude that not only is the (bio)enhancement of humans on Earth permissible but perhaps even necessary in certain circumstances.

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Author Profiles

Steven Umbrello
Institute For Ethics And Emerging Technology
Maurizio Balistreri
University of Tuscia (Alumnus)

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