Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 509-523

First online:

Thinking across species—a critical bioethics approach to enhancement

  • Richard TwineAffiliated withESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen), Lancaster University Email author 

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Drawing upon a concept of ‘critical bioethics’ [7] this paper takes a species-broad approach to the social and ethical aspects of enhancement. Critical Bioethics aims to foreground interdisciplinarity, socio-political dimensions, as well as reflexivity to what becomes bioethical subject matter. This paper focuses upon the latter component and uses the example of animal enhancement as a way to think about both enhancement generally, and bioethics. It constructs several arguments for including animal enhancement as a part of enhancement debates, and considers some connections between human and animal enhancement. The paper concludes in a plea for an ‘enhancement’ to our critical abilities to examine some of the underlying social, moral and ethical assumptions bound up in varied anticipated ‘enhanced’ futures.


Enhancement Bioethics Animals Ethical bypass Convergence