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Sparrows, hedgehogs and castrati: reflections on gender and enhancement
  1. John Harris
  1. Correspondence to Professor John Harris, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation and Wellcome Strategic Programme in the Human Body: its Scope, Limits and Future, School of Law, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; john.harris{at}


In a number of papers, including the one published in this journal, Robert Sparrow has mounted attacks on consequentialism using principally what he takes to be an important fact, which he believes constitutes a reductio ad absurdum of consequentialism in its many forms and of this author's approach to enhancement and disability in particular (see page 276). This fact is the current longer life expectancy of women when compared with men. Here the author argues that Sparrow's arguments and entire approach utterly fail. In doing so the author hopes to shed further light on the role of normalcy, normal species functioning and species-typical functioning in debates about enhancement and disability.

  • Enhancement
  • disability
  • normalcy
  • harm
  • harmed condition

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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