Is There a Role for ‘Human Nature’ in Debates About Human Enhancement?

Philosophy 90 (4):623-651 (2015)
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Abstract

In discussions about the ethics of enhancement, it is often claimed that the concept of ‘human nature’ has no helpful role to play. There are two ideas behind this thought. The first is that nature, human nature included, is a mixed bag. Some parts of our nature are good for us and some are bad for us. The ‘mixed bag’ idea leads naturally to the second idea, namely that the fact that something is part of our nature is, by itself, normatively inert. The Inert View claims that nothing normative follows from the mere fact that some trait is a part of our nature. If the Inert View is correct, then appeals to the value or importance of human nature in debates about enhancement are indeed misplaced. We argue that the Inert View is wrong, and that a certain concept of human nature – which we refer to as human form – does have an important role to play in debates about enhancement.

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Author Profiles

Micah Lott
Boston College
Daniel Groll
Carleton College

Citations of this work

Aristotelian Naturalism Vs. Mutants, Aliens and the Great Red Dragon.Scott Woodcock - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):313-328.

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References found in this work

Human Nature: The Very Idea.Tim Lewens - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):459-474.
Enhancements Are A Moral Obligation.John Harris - 2010 - In Julian Savulescu & Nick Bostrom (eds.), Human Enhancement. Oxford University Press.
Human Engineering and Climate Change.S. Matthew Liao, Anders Sandberg & Rebecca Roache - 2012 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2):206 - 221.
What Is And Is Not Wrong With Enhancement?Frances Kamm - 2010 - In Julian Savulescu & Nick Bostrom (eds.), Human Enhancement. Oxford University Press.

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