, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Responsible Research and Innovation and the Governance of Human Enhancement

  • Guido Gorgoni
Original Paper


This article aims to explore the debate on human enhancement (HE) from the perspective of the evolutions of responsibility paradigms, and in particular from the perspective of the so-called Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach. The aim is not to explore the arguments pro or contra the ethical legitimacy and/or technical feasibility of human enhancement, but rather exploring if, and how, the RRI perspective can shape the debate on human enhancement (and vice versa).

In particular, the human enhancement debate will be read through the lenses of four main responsibility paradigms that we sketch by examining both, the historical and conceptual evolution of the responsibility idea and the dynamics of its ascription. In order to provide a useful scheme for interpreting human enhancement, RRI will be characterised as a distinctive responsibility model that can subsequently be used to frame the debate on HE with a particular emphasis on its normative implications, as well as on its social and political significance.


Responsibility Human enhancement Human rights Governance Risk Responsible research and innovation (RRI) 



I am grateful to Simone Arnaldi for his precious comments on the article and for inviting me to join the research project “Responsibility and Human Enhancement. Concepts, implications and assessments”. I also wish to thank Darian Meacham, Arianna Neri, Elena Pariotti, Tsjalling Swierstra and Luigi Pellizzoni for their precious comments and suggestions on the initial draft of this text during the workshop held in Padova, on May 22, 2017, as well as two anonymous reviewers who helped me in improving the quality of the arguments. I am grateful to Clare Shelley-Egan for inviting me to the International workshop on Responsible Research and Innovation for Human Cognitive Enhancement, held in Brussels, January 13, 2017 within the framework of the HCENAT (Naturalness in Human Cognitive Enhancement) project which helped me improve the quality of the paper.


This research has been conducted within the project “Responsibility and Human Enhancement. Concepts, implications and assessments”, funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation, Flexible Grants for Small Groups 2015.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Law, and International StudiesUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly

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