Inquiring into Human Enhancement: Interdisciplinary and by Sylvie Allouche, Jean Gayon, Michela Marzano, Jérôme

By Sylvie Allouche, Jean Gayon, Michela Marzano, Jérôme Goffette, Simone Bateman

Human enhancement has develop into an immense hindrance in debates in regards to the way forward for modern societies. This interdisciplinary publication is dedicated to clarifying the underlying ambiguities of those debates, and to presenting novel methods of exploring what human enhancement potential and realizing what practices, targets and justifications it entails.

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Both Max More and Nick Bostrom recognize that transhumanism is not in itself a new term. S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Partyy (1935) (2013, p. 8). But both More (2013) and Bostrom (2003, p. 41) rightly credit the renowned English biologist Julian Huxley for having coined this new term in the introductory chapter to his collection of essays, New Bottles for New Wine, published in 1957: The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself – not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) – so as to more fully investigate these contradictions. Ultimately, this book and its companion volume on animal enhancement make a statement about the complexity of the concept of human enhancement and thus about the multiple perspectives required to examine it. Their overall spirit is to convincingly illustrate the interest of calling on specialists from various disciplinary environments to reflect on the nature, scope and issues at stake in the enhancement enterprise.

4 It is thus striking that even in as recent a book as Beyond Humanity: The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancements (2011), philosopher Allen Buchanan should choose biomedical enhancements as his principal concept; this seems to situate his own reflections within the bioethical tradition. The original emphasis on improvement of capacities appears clearly in his definition: ‘ ... ’ (Buchanan, 2011b, p. 43). However, in a smaller book, Better than Human: the Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves (2011), written and published later the same year, Buchanan distinguishes ‘enhancement’ as a general term from his concept of ‘biomedical enhancement’.

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