Enhancing conservatism

Rebecca Roache, Julian Savulescu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Debate between bioliberals (who adopt a permissive view about human enhancement) and bioconservatives (who oppose it) often fails to be constructive, since bioliberals are often dismissive of the conservative values to which bioconservatives frequently appeal. As a result, bioconservative opposition to enhancement remains poorly understood by bioliberals. This chapter attempts to increase this understanding first by identifying conservative values underlying bioconservative opposition to enhancement, and second by considering on what grounds bioconservatives might object to the biological enhancement of bioconservative values. By identifying grounds that appeal to values shared by both bioconservatives and bioliberals, it aims to provide a platform on which human enhancement can be constructively debated by bioliberals and bioconservatives. The chapter closes by focusing on John Stuart Mill’s arguments in favour of originality as possible support for bioconservative argument.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Human Enhancement:
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding the Debate
EditorsSteve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, Alberto Giubilini, Sagar Sanyal
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780198754855
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • John Stuart Mill
  • bioliberals
  • bioconservative

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