Human Enhancement, Transhuman Warfare and the Question: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

  • Dirk FischerEmail author
Part of the Military and Humanitarian Health Ethics book series (MHHE)


Human enhancement is one of the crucial topics when it comes to identifying the challenges which military medical ethics will have to face in the future. Today, a huge number of possible applications for enhancement techniques are being subjected to rigorous research in natural and technology sciences as well as humanities. The case of the German professor Helmut Dubiel (1946–2015) gives an insight into techniques which can be applied for both medical and non-medical reasons in a very impressive way. A definition of human enhancement is given based on Gernot Böhme’s concept of invasive techniques. Human enhancement may be characterized by three crucial aspects: The fact that (1) invasive techniques are applied for (2) non-medical reasons to (3) overcome the limits of man as a member of the species homo sapiens. The use of human enhancement techniques in a military context, has serious consequences for our understanding of warfare. Conflicts deploying enhanced soldiers could be characterized as transhuman warfare. This possibility invites us at the very least to recollect the crucial concepts both in humanitarian law and military medical ethics.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teaching and Research Unit for Military Medical EthicsBundeswehr Medical Academy MunichMunichGermany

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