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J Med Philos. 2010 Dec;35(6):670-84. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhq048. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

A transhumanist fault line around disability: morphological freedom and the obligation to enhance.

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  • 1Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, Cotham Hill, Bristol, UK.


The transhumanist literature encompasses diverse non-novel positions on questions of disability and obligation reflecting long-running political philosophical debates on freedom and value choice, complicated by the difficulty of projecting values to enhanced beings. These older questions take on a more concrete form given transhumanist uses of biotechnologies. This paper will contrast the views of Hughes and Sandberg on the obligations persons with "disabilities" have to enhance and suggest a new model. The paper will finish by introducing a distinction between the responsibility society has in respect of the presence of impairments and the responsibility society has not to abandon disadvantaged members, concluding that questions of freedom and responsibility have renewed political importance in the context of enhancement technologies.

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