The social impact and the intrusive dimension of enhancement

A key feature of Buchanan is emphasis put on the social impact of biomedical enhancement. This social turn enables Buchanan to reframe the question of the desirability of enhancers. The fundamental question is no longer an individual question but a social question: what would be the advantages and the drawbacks of X in our society? The individual question, in Buchanan’s analysis, is second to the social question. Now, if one accepts that an enhancer may have secondary effects, or drawbacks, the social question requires a cost and benefit analysis. I will argue that there are two flaws in Buchanan’s position: 1) the way in which he envisions the social debate about biomedical enhancement, and a cost and benefit analysis, would only be adequate in a kind of utopia which no actual existing State seems to match; 2) The cost and benefit analysis needs to be complemented not by an individual ethics but by narratives accounting for the experience of the subject. The level on which takes place Buchanan’s discussion covers up an individual experience which needs to be articulated and taken into account. It is this kind of individual, or singular, narrative that I will look for in the work of the post-phenomenological philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, thus attempting to bridge a gap between two different philosophical traditions and styles of writing.
Keywords Buchanan  Nancy  Cost-benefit  Intrusion  Narrative
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-016-9480-0
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