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Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews From the reviews: "This set of essays by different authors addresses a variety of issues related to the alteration of humanity by means of medical technology. Robert MacDougall, Doody's Review Service, March, "It appears to be targeted primarily at the academic reader who has some familiarity with the themes addressed Charles T. Rubin: What is the Good of Transhumanism? Mary Deveraux: Cosmetic Surgery X. Ellen M. Selgelid: Afterword.

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Bedlam at Botany Bay. Carl Elliott's Viewpoint: Pharma's Gain May Be Our Loss Those of us who worry about medical enhancement are usually less worried about the technologies themselves than about the larger social effects of embracing them too enthusiastically. Where is the pursuit of the perfect face, body, and mind taking us? Illustration: Margaret Shear.

Caplan's Response to Elliott's Viewpoint Elliott professes to be unhappy about enhancement. It is—listen carefully for the Darth Vader—esque hissing—drug companies! Elliott's Response to Caplan's Viewpoint Caplan does not defend medical enhancement so much as attack its critics. Abbreviation Fen-Phen fenfluramine-phentermine. Footnotes Citation: Caplan A, Elliott C Is it ethical to use enhancement technologies to make us better than well?

References President's Council on Bioethics. Beyond therapy: Biotechnology and the pursuit of happiness. New York: Dana Press; Enough: Staying human in an engineered age. New York: Times Books; What price better health? Hazards of the research imperative. Berkeley: University of California Press; Better than well: American medicine meets the American dream. New York: W. Norton; Our posthuman future: Consequences of the biotechnology revolution. New York: Picador; The pursuit of perfection: The promise and perils of medical enhancement.

New York: Pantheon Books; Life, liberty, and the defense of dignity: The challenge for bioethics. San Francisco: Encounter Books; The future is now: America confronts the new genetics. Lanham Maryland : Rowman and Littlefield; The case against perfection.

Atlantic Monthly. Benjamin Franklin: An American life. New York: Simon and Schuster; Crusaders for fitness: The history of American health reformers. Is biomedical research too dangerous to pursue?


  • Arthur Caplan's Viewpoint: Nobody Is Perfect—But Why Not Try to Be Better?;
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Saint Teresa of Avila. The way of perfection. Available: www. Accessed 16 October The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Viking; Our own devices: The past and future of body technology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf; Drug firms hype disease as sales ploy, industry chief claims.

Dispensing with the truth: The victims, the drug companies, and the dramatic story behind the battle over Fen-Phen. New York: St. Martin's Press; Wyeth: The class action that wouldn't quit. Business Week.

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Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: Principal results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in childhood depression: Systematic review of published versus unpublished data. On the take: How medicine's complicity with big business can endanger your health. New York: Oxford University Press; Selling sickness: The pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering. The big fix: How the pharmaceutical industry rips off American consumers. New York: Public Affairs; The truth about the drug companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it.

Chadwick, in a characteristically precise and carefully argued piece, distinguishes between the concepts of enhancement and improvement. This allows her to reject the belief that our developing our tendency to carry out enhancements is inevitable, due to an in-built human drive towards perfection.

Is It Ethical to Use Enhancement Technologies to Make Us Better than Well?

She also claims that mere enhancement can never be a duty, while there is reason for uncertainty about whether certain supposed improvements are really worthy of the name. She asks, "How is it possible to set criteria for what enhancements will count as improvements or not without any agreement as to ends or purposes? This last point might be thought to tie in well with the topic of Birnbacher's chapter.

Birnbacher wishes to sidestep the first-order debate between transhumanists and their bioconservative opponents. Instead, he applies himself to second-order questions about the notions of transhumanism and posthumanism, and bioconservative opposition to them. He concludes that because there is no very clear concept of human nature, both the transhumanist and anti-transhumanist positions are misleadingly formulated. It is just not clear, thinks Birnbacher, what would be transcended in reaching a state of supposed posthumanity, and so there can be no genuine reason to label that state "posthuman".

By the same token, it is hard to tell precisely what it is that bioconservatives think human beings would be losing in enhancing themselves far beyond their current capacities. It should be clear from what I have written that there is much to recommend this book. Indeed, despite its hefty price tag, it should definitely sit on the bookshelf of anyone working on or interested in the topics it covers.

It is all the more painful, then, to note some rather irritating shortcomings it has, none of which is related to its content. First of all, certain papers are littered with typographical errors, and many linguistic solecisms have found their way into the published version. On occasion, quotations that ought to be indented and surrounded with white space are not. Kevin Fitzgerald SJ is, at the start of his chapter and in its header, mysteriously referred to as SJ Kevin Fitzgerald and SJK Fitzgerald respectively, making him look less like a Jesuit and more like somebody with a surfeit of forenames.

A particularly striking example of a lack of care in preparation is found in a sentence from Bostrom's paper:. It is also dubious to assume that a healthy future self several hundred years older than I am now might would be unable remember things from current life stage. Secondly, the book has no index. This makes it rather frustrating when one recalls that an important point appears in one of the papers, but cannot remember which I confess that this happened to me several times in preparing this review! Thirdly, there are no notes on contributors.

This may be fine where the more high-profile writers are concerned, but not in the case of those whose names may as yet be less familiar. We feature over in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.