2009 Books

Human Enhancement

Bostrom, N. and Savulescu, J., (Eds.) (2009). 'Human Enhancement', Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Human enhancement is now one of the biggest dilemmas facing modern science
  • The latest developments in this highly controversial debate
  • New essays from some of the world's leading ethicists, including Peter Singer
  • Truly international perspectives, from North America, Europe, Japan, and Australasia
  • Discusses such contentious issues as selection of children and use of drugs in sport

To what extent should we use technology to try to make better human beings? Because of the remarkable advances in biomedical science, we must now find an answer to this question.

Human enhancement aims to increase human capacities above normal levels. Many forms of human enhancement are already in use. Many students and academics take cognition enhancing drugs to get a competitive edge. Some top athletes boost their performance with legal and illegal substances. Many an office worker begins each day with a dose of caffeine. This is only the beginning. As science and technology advance further, it will become increasingly possible to enhance basic human capacities to increase or modulate cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and to control the biological processes underlying normal aging. Some have suggested that such advances would take us beyond the bounds of human nature.

These trends, and these dramatic prospects, raise profound ethical questions. They have generated intense public debate and have become a central topic of discussion within practical ethics. Should we side with bioconservatives, and forgo the use of any biomedical interventions aimed at enhancing human capacities? Should we side with transhumanists and embrace the new opportunities? Or should we perhaps plot some middle course?

Human Enhancement presents the latest moves in this crucial debate: original contributions from many of the world's leading ethicists and moral thinkers, representing a wide range of perspectives, advocates and sceptics, enthusiasts and moderates. These are the arguments that will determine how humanity develops in the near future.

"An excellent discussion by leading bioethicists of the issues raised by human enhancement. It would be excellent for use in classes devoted to spending at least a few weeks on enhancement, either at the upper-level undergraduate or graduate level". (Robert Streiffer, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)

"Human Enhancement gives a thorough and authoritative overview of the current state of this rapidly evolving field". (Greg Bognar, Mind)

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