In Better than Human?, noted bioethicist Allen Buchanan grapples with the ethical dilemmas of the medical revolution now upon us. Biomedical enhancements, he writes, can make us smarter, have better memories, be stronger, quicker, have more stamina, live much longer, be more resistant to disease and to the frailties of aging, and enjoy richer emotional lives. They can even improve our character, or at least strengthen our powers of self-control. In spite of the benefits that biomedical enhancements may bring, many people instinctively reject them. Some worry that we will lose something important-our appreciation for what we have or what makes human beings distinctively valuable. To think clearly about enhancement, Buchanan argues, we have to acknowledge that nature is a mixed bag and that our species has many "design flaws". We should be open to the possibility of becoming better than human, while never underestimating the risk that our attempts to improve may backfire.
Allen Buchanan is the author of eleven books on bioethics and political philosophy. He has served on the Advisory Council for the National Human Genome Research Institute, Staff Philosopher for the President's Commission on Medical Ethics, and as consultant to President Barack Obama's Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Breathless Optimism, Hysterical Loathing
Chapter Two: Why Evolution Isn't Good Enough
Chapter Three: Changing Human Nature?
Chapter Four: Playing God, Responsibly
Chapter Five: Will the Rich Get Biologically Richer?
Chapter Six: Is Enhancement Corrupting?
Chapter Seven: The Enhancement Enterprise