Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is It Ethical To Use Enhancement Technologies To Make Us Better Than Well?

Date:
January 12, 2005
Source:
Public Library Of Science
Summary:
A variety of biomedical technologies are being developed that can be used for purposes other than treating disease. Such "enhancement technologies" can be used to improve our appearance and regulate our emotions, with the goal of feeling "better than well." In a provocative debate in this month's PLoS Medicine, the premier open-access medical journal, two of America's foremost medical ethicists, Arthur Caplan and Carl Elliott, lay out the pros and cons respectively of these new enhancement technologies.

A variety of biomedical technologies are being developed that can be used for purposes other than treating disease. Such "enhancement technologies" can be used to improve our appearance and regulate our emotions, with the goal of feeling "better than well." While these technologies can help people adapt to their rapidly changing lifestyles, their use raises important ethical issues.

In a provocative debate in this month's PLoS Medicine, the premier open-access medical journal, two of America's foremost medical ethicists, Arthur Caplan and Carl Elliott, lay out the pros and cons respectively of these new enhancement technologies.

Caplan, who chairs the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, says that "nobody is perfect--but why not try to be better?" He argues that it is in our human nature to strive for self-improvement and he sees real value in using technology to "enhance our vision, memory, learning skills, immunity, or metabolism." What's more, says Caplan, "putting the brakes on biologically driven human betterment would have real consequences for science. Some lines of research would be slowed or restricted." There is no reason why we "should not try to improve the biological design with which we are endowed."

But Elliot, Associate Professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, and author of the book Better Than Well, worries "about the larger social effects of embracing medical enhancement technologies too enthusiastically." For example, athletes taking steroids may improve their own ability but they set off "a steroid arms race" that could destroy their sport. Manufacturers of enhancement technologies "will usually exploit the blurry line between enhancement and treatment in order to sell drugs." Citing the story of the diet drug Fen-Phen, Elliot says that "an alarming number of supposedly risk-free enhancements have later been associated with unanticipated side effects."

###

Citation: Caplan A, Elliott C (2004) Is it ethical to use enhancement technologies to make us better than well? PLoS Med 1(3): e52.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library Of Science. "Is It Ethical To Use Enhancement Technologies To Make Us Better Than Well?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111172259.htm>.
Public Library Of Science. (2005, January 12). Is It Ethical To Use Enhancement Technologies To Make Us Better Than Well?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111172259.htm
Public Library Of Science. "Is It Ethical To Use Enhancement Technologies To Make Us Better Than Well?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111172259.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins