Journal of Moral Education 49 (2):241-256 (2020)

Steve Clarke
Charles Sturt University
ABSTRACTThe prospect of enhancing ourselves through the use of new biotechnologies is for the most part, hypothetical. Nevertheless, the question of whether we should undertake such enhancement is worthy of discussion as it may become possible in the future. In this article, we consider one form of argument that conservative opponents of biotechnological means of enhancement deploy in opposition to the use of enhancement technologies—the backfiring objection. This is the objection that the use of such technologies is liable to go wrong and lead to outcomes that are inferior to the outcomes intended. We will argue that the objection is not nearly as significant as bioconservatives suppose it to be. Bioconservatives sometimes supplement the backfiring objection by arguing that change will be irreversible, that the new is especially liable to backfire and that humans possess severe and permanent limitations which cannot be overcome. We consider these ways of supplementing the backfiring objection and argue that each of them, when properly understood, is of limited value to the bioconservative. We also consider how traditional approaches to moral education can be supplemented by bioenhancement.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/03057240.2019.1576125
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,639
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

A Case for Conservatism.John Kekes - 2018 - Cornell University Press.
The Case Against Perfection.Michael J. Sandel - 2004 - The Atlantic (April):1–11.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Egalitarianism and Successful Moral Bioenhancement.Alan T. Wilson - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics 14 (4):35-36.
The Moral Bioenhancement of Psychopaths.Elvio Baccarini & Luca Malatesti - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (10):697-701.
Egalitarianism and Moral Bioenhancement.Robert Sparrow - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics 14 (4):20-28.


Added to PP index

Total views
19 ( #509,471 of 2,331,246 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #194,788 of 2,331,246 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes