Publication details

Prolegomena to any ethical reflection on enhancement


KUŘE Josef

Year of publication 2019
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Description The chapter provides a proposal for procedural framework of any meaningful ethical reflection on human enhancement, mapping the individual steps of such a reflection. If we want to start an efficient discourse on enhancement, we first need to have a clear ontology of enhancement (what enhancement is) and have clarity about the basic semantics of enhancement, i.e. in which sense and in which lexicological extent the term “enhancement” is being used. Are all types of enhancement (such as physical, mood, cognitive, and age enhancement) included? Or are only some types included? Or do we solely refer to one type? Furthermore, it is necessary to specify the relation of the concept of enhancement to therapy (medical paradigm), and similarly we must also specify the level of enhancement (cellular, organic, implants, genomic, etc.). Enhancement challenges our understanding of medicine as well as the goals of medicine (transformative paradigm). Age enhancement is used as an example for the procedural framework of ethics while raising philosophical, psychological, social, and political questions. First, we need to understand the biology of aging. We also need to investigate issues like the life cycle, the psychology of aging, personal identity, etc. on an individual and existential level. Also, it is necessary study the consequences of aging on a social level (family, relationships, demography, population, social cohesion, etc.). Social-economic and healthcare-economic consequences also have to be analysed. Moreover our understanding of human beings, society, and the future needs to be clarified. Only then we can ask the ethical question if human enhancement can be considered good or bad, right or wrong, including normative and regulative aspects of the social and ethical acceptance of enhancement.

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