Ethics Grant Award for Professor Michael Hauskeller

What is Enhancement?

Michael Hauskeller has been awarded a 9-months Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to enable him to conduct research on the question “What is Enhancement?”
It is often assumed that the only knowledge we need for the creation of “better people” is technical in nature. The common assumption is that we already know the end, we all agree on the desirability of that end, and the only thing we have yet to discover are the appropriate means for achieving it. In other words: perhaps we don’t know yet how to make better humans, but we do know what would make a better human. However, it is in fact far from clear what would make us “better”. Therefore, the project aims to answer the following questions:
1) What concrete changes and developments of the human condition are envisaged and proposed as enhancements by those who advocate them?
2) What enhancement criteria are being (tacitly or explicitly) used when this is done? (i.e., what are the reasons for believing that a particular change will in fact be an improvement of the human condition?)
3) How is the use of these particular criteria (as opposed to other possible criteria) being justified by those who use them?
4) Is the use of these criteria convincing?
5) What criteria are convincing and what concrete changes and developments can be justified on the grounds of those criteria.

The results will be published as a book by Acumen in winter 2012.

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