An Argument against Arguments for Enhancement

Michael J Selgelid 1
  • 1 Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE)

The treatment-enhancement distinction is difficult to make, and defenders of enhancement often base their case on that. Critics of enhancement, however, often have prototypical cases of enhancement-oriented interventions in mind, and the ethics of these can be evaluated on a case by case basis. Things like intelligence enhancement may have adverse effects on equality and utility. If the equality and utility effects of such enhancements were sufficiently severe, then restrictions would be called for. We need to think more about how to make tradeoffs between liberty, equality, and utility—and we need to know more about the extent to which each of these is at stake—before reaching conclusions about the ethics of, and appropriate social policy regarding, human enhancement.

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