Is it ‘more normal’ to enhance than to restore our nature?

Martin Hähnel


In this paper I give a short overview about the general implications of issues of human nature within the field of human enhancement. The first section of my contribution deals with a certain intertwining of human enhancement and the intrinsic claims of human nature, showing that a non-statistical concept of human nature can play a crucial role in the debate on human enhancement. After that, my aim is to validate that particular enhancements (e.g. neuro-enhancement) fall under the same normative criteria as “normal enhancement”, only requiring a special contextual awareness to co-exist with it ethically. Methodically, my intention is to draw on quasi-naturalist approaches, which argue that our nature as humans is not a “mixed bag”, but seems to be wholly constituted by its species-related characteristics. As a result, we can state that our evaluations of living beings or life forms, which are also evaluations of our methods of medical treatments and of our ethical attitudes, depend on our picture of human nature.

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