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Enhancement: are ethicists excessively influenced by baseless speculations?
  1. D G Jones
  1. Correspondence to:
 D G Jones
 Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand; gareth.jones{at}


Most commentators draw a sharp distinction between therapy and enhancement, applauding therapy and rejecting enhancement. Not only is this distinction unclear but enhancement is often seen in grandiose terms in which human beings are radically transformed. Such far-reaching visions are then used to reject current procedures such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. To overcome this highly problematic impasse, enhancement has been divided into three categories, ranging from the health-related enhancement of category 1, through the non-health-related enhancement of category 2, to the transhumanism or posthumanism of category 3. Arguably, most enhancements are of the category 1 variety, and hence closely related to treatment. Also, we are already enhanced, when compared with our forebears. It is only when we accept this and dispense with baseless speculation will we be in a position to conduct ethical discussions within a realistic framework.

  • PGD, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis
  • genetic enhancement
  • biomedical enhancement
  • eugenics
  • psychotropic drugs

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  • Competing interests: None declared.