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The Case for Perfection

Ethics in the Age of Human Enhancement

Johann Roduit

The author critically examines what role the notion of perfection should play in the debate regarding the ethics of human enhancement. He argues that the concept of «human perfection» needs to be central when morally assessing human enhancements. This anthropological ideal provides an additional norm to evaluate enhancing interventions, extending the well-established bioethical principles of autonomy, justice, and safety.
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Chapter 1: Living up to the ideal human

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Summary

Two major problems persist in the debate regarding the ethics of human enhancement. First, there is a general lack of discussion and consensus on a definition of human enhancement. Second, the commonly used bioethical principles of justice, safety, and autonomy are together insufficient to assess the morality of human enhancement. This chapter attempts to define these problems and propose a possible solution. Defending a qualitative definition of human enhancement, the authors suggest examining ‘perfectionist notions’ of what it means to live a good human life in order to provide additional normative tools that can be used to evaluate the morality of human enhancements. This chapter clarifies the existing debate and helps to move it forward by arguing that defining the characteristics of the ideal human life as the goal of human enhancement can help judge the morality of a given form of human enhancement.

Introduction

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