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Enhancement and human nature: the case of Sandel
  1. T Lewens
  1. Dr T Lewens, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH, UK; tml1000{at}


If we assume that “enhancement” names all efforts to boost human mental and physical capacities beyond the normal upper range found in our species, then enhancement covers such a broad range of interventions that it becomes implausible to think that there is any generic ethical case to be made either for or against it. Michael Sandel has recently made such a generic case, which focuses on the importance of respecting the “giftedness” of human nature. Sandel succeeds in diagnosing an important worry we may have about the use of some enhancements by some parents, but his arguments are better understood as opposing “procrustean parenting” rather than enhancement in general.

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  • Funding: The Isaac Newton Trust and the Leverhulme Trust.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Provenance and Peer review: Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.

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