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Palgrave Macmillan

The Human Enhancement Debate and Disability

New Bodies for a Better Life

ISBN 9781137405524
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

How does the idea of enhancement relate to disability? At first glance, it might seem simple: enhancement is gain, disability is loss of function, but a closer looks reveals a rich and complex relationship, where the disability perspectives offers an invaluable insight in unpicking the controversy surrounding the social and ethical implications of improving the human condition. While rejecting a dualistic divide between 'therapy' and 'enhancement', enhancement bioethics can benefit from the study of interdisciplinary disability studies by placing the question of a 'better life' for those who might become enhanced on experiential ground; in preventing bioethics from relying on reductionist biomedical models of functional upgrade; in considering ambivalence in and the side effects of improvements; and in making bioethics more alert to possible discriminatory implications.

Miriam Eilers is Physician at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

Katrin Grüber is Director of the Institut Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft, Germany.

Christoph Rehmann-Sutter is Professor for Ethics at the Institute for History of Medicine and Science Studies at the University of Lübeck, Germany.

Preface; Tom Shakespeare
1. Looking at Human Enhancement through the Disability Lens; Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Miriam Eilers and Katrin Grübe
2. On Unfamiliar Moral Territory: About Variant Embodiment, Enhancement and Normativity; Jackie Leach Scully
3. Improving Deficiencies? Historical, Anthropological, and Ethical Aspects of the Human Condition; Christina Schües
4. Good Old Brains: How Concerns about the Ageing Society and Ideas about Cognitive Enhancement Interact in Neuroscience; Morten Bülow
5. The Making and Unmaking of Deaf Children; Sigrid Bosteels and Stuart Blume
6. Token of the Loss: Ethnography of Artificial Restoration of Cancer Patients' Bodies and Lives in Kenya; Benson Mulemi
7. Singing Better by Sacrificing Sex; Anna Piotrowska
8. Mood Enhancement and the Authenticity of Experience: Ethical Considerations; Lisa Forsberg
9. Prometheus Descends - Disabled or Enhanced?: John Harris, Human Enhancement, and the Creation of a New Norm; Trijsje Franssen
10. More Human than Human!: How Recent Hollywood Films Depict Enhancement Technologies – and Why; Kathrin Klohs
11. Transhumanism's Anthropological Assumptions: A Critique; Nicolai Münch
12. Be Afraid of the Unmodified Body! The Social Construction of Risk in Enhancement Utopianism; Sascha Dickel

Stuart Blume, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sigrid Bosteels, University College of West Flanders, Belgium
Morten Hillgaard Bülow, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Sascha Dickel, Institute of Ecological Economy Research, Germany
Lisa Forsberg, King's College London, UK
Trijsje Franssen, University of Exeter, UK
Kathrin Klohs, University of Basel, Switzerland
Nikolai Münch, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Germany
Anna G. Piotrowska, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Christina Schües, University of Lübeck, Germany
Jackie Leach Scully, Newcastle University, UK
Tom Shakespeare, World Health Organization, UK


"An important and welcome development to see a selection of studies that explores how bioethics and disability studies can influence each other to ask new questions." - Disability and Society
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