Original Paper

Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1039-1056

First online:

Human Enhancement and Communication: On Meaning and Shared Understanding

  • Laura CabreraAffiliated withInstitute of Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel Email author 
  • , John WeckertAffiliated withCentre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, An ARC Special Research Centre, Charles Sturt University

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Our technologies have enabled us to change both the world and our perceptions of the world, as well as to change ourselves and to find new ways to fulfil the human desire for improvement and for having new capacities. The debate around using technology for human enhancement has already raised many ethical concerns, however little research has been done in how human enhancement can affect human communication. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether some human enhancements could change our shared lifeworld so radically that human communication as we know it would not be possible any longer. After exploring the kinds of communication problems we are concerned with as well as mentioning some possible enhancement interventions that could bring about such problems, we will address some of the ethical implications that follow from these potential communication problems. We argue that because of the role that communication plays in human society, this issue deserves attention.


Communication Enhancement Ethics Technology