Ethics of Human Enhancement

Authored by Laya Rajan • 
August 22, 2016

At first look, there doesn't seem to be anything philosophically problematic about human enhancement. Improving yourself is carried out through behaviors such as study and exercise, medical interventions, non-medical interventions such as LASIK eye surgery and plastic surgery procedures, and many other widely accepted human activities. However, there is certainly a point at which we draw a line: "performance enhancing" drugs in sports, ADHD medications in "healthy", non-ADHD individuals, etc. Thus the philosophical question arises, what is a fair enhancement and what is not, and why?

The further debate arises when it comes to the distribution of human enhancement capabilities. Say a breakthrough arises that allows human minds to memorize an unlimited amount of information instantly. However, the cost of this intervention would prevent 99.9% of the population from attaining it. Is it fair for this enhancement to be used? Does it matter as those with means will use it anyway?

Herein we explore some of the most contentious facets of human enhancement, from the fundamental idea of enhancement to the economic and social aspects of implementing human enhancement solutions in the world.

In our first entry, we explore the ethics of athletic enhancement.

Biohacking Versus Doping

If the Olympics are a grand display of what the human body can do when pushed to its limits, we can all intuitively agree that doping is the equivalent of cheating. However, it can be tough to determine where to draw the line. What counts as biohacking, or gaining an advantage based on innovative "natural" methods, and what is doping?
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