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Saturday, December 30, 2023

The ethics of doing human enhancement ethics

Rueda, J. (2023). 
Futures, 153, 103236.


Human enhancement is one of the leading research topics in contemporary applied ethics. Interestingly, the widespread attention to the ethical aspects of future enhancement applications has generated misgivings. Are researchers who spend their time investigating the ethics of futuristic human enhancement scenarios acting in an ethically suboptimal manner? Are the methods they use to analyze future technological developments appropriate? Are institutions wasting resources by funding such research? In this article, I address the ethics of doing human enhancement ethics focusing on two main concerns. The Methodological Problem refers to the question of how we should methodologically address the moral aspects of future enhancement applications. The Normative Problem refers to what is the normative justification for investigating and funding the research on the ethical aspects of future human enhancement. This article aims to give a satisfactory response to both meta-questions in order to ethically justify the inquiry into the ethical aspects of emerging enhancement technologies.


• Formulates second-order problems neglected in the literature on the ethics of future enhancement technologies.

• Discusses speculative ethics and anticipatory ethics methodologies for analyzing emerging enhancement innovations.

• Evaluates the main objections to engaging in research into the ethical aspects of future scenarios of human enhancement.

• Shows that methodological and normative meta-questions are key to advance the ethical debate on human enhancement.