Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1039–1056 | Cite as

Human Enhancement and Communication: On Meaning and Shared Understanding

  • Laura Cabrera
  • John Weckert
Original Paper


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 



Earlier versions of this paper received constructive comments from Dr. Kiran Donaghe and from participants attending the seminar in the Centre of Applied Ethics in Linkoping, as well as those attending the Darmstadt 2010 S.NET conference. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments which helped to considerably improve the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical EthicsUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, An ARC Special Research CentreCharles Sturt UniversityCanberraAustralia

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