, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 149-161

Playing God, Playing Adam: The Politics and Ethics of Enhancement

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Abstract

The question of enhancement occupies a prominent place not only in current bioethical debates but also in wider public discussions about our human future. In all of these, the problem of enhancement is usually articulated via two sets of questions: moral questions over its permissibility, extent and direction; and technical questions over the feasibility of different forms of regenerative and synthetic alterations to human bodies and minds. This article argues that none of the dominant positions on enhancement within the field of bioethics is entirely satisfactory due to the limited, monadic, pre-technological and non-cultural conception of the human that is adopted in these models. Critically engaging with both opponents of enhancement (Habermas) and its advocates (Harris, Agar, Bostrom, Dworkin), Zylinska also takes some steps towards outlining a nonnormative ethics of enhancement. The latter sees its human and non-human subjects as always already enhanced, and hence dependent, relational and coevolving with technology.