STS 388

The Ethics of Human Enhancement

This course considers the ethical, political, and philosophical questions that are being raised today by rapid advances in biotechnology'especially in genetic engineering, neuropharmacology, brain science, and cybernetics . For example: Is there an important distinction between the therapeutic and enhancement uses of biotechnology? Is there a human nature and can/should it be transcended? Should humans take control of their own evolution? What is the human self/agent and how is it related to brain chemistry? What is wrong with performance enhancers like steroids? Is there a difference between natural and artificial intelligence? How far can/should the human brain be interfaced with computers? Is the radical extension of human life desirable? Is human cloning immoral? Should parents design their children? Are humans now usurping the role of God or nature? Should humans aim to enhance and perfect their bodies and minds? Is the goal of human enhancement compatible with egalitarianism? Should human enhancement be left up to market forces or must it be regulated by the state? Should humans shape the lives of future generations according to present values?

Prerequisites: Credit will not be granted to students who have received credit for PHIL 102 or CONN 312.