Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves (Philosophy in Action)

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9780199797875: Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves (Philosophy in Action)
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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.

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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.

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"I cannot do justice to the richness of Buchanan's analysis in the scope of this review. Buchanan is a first-class guide through the complex thicket of issues and arguments related to BME." --Washington Independent Review of Books


"Medicine promises not just to cure disease but to make us "better than well," with "cognitive enhancement drugs" like Ritalin and even genetic modification. In this slim manifesto, Buchanan rebuts claims that such efforts are unprecedented, unnatural or unjust." -- The New York Times


"I cannot do justice to the richness of Buchanan's analysis in the scope of this review. Buchanan is a first-class guide through the complex thicket of issues and arguments related to BME." --Washington Independent Review of Books


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