Liberal eugenics, human enhancement and the concept of the normal

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Abstract

In this chapter, I examine the uses to which the concept of the normal is put in debates on liberal eugenics and human enhancement. I discuss three particular approaches to human nature and the normal: Jurgen Habermas s emphasis on human nature as a normative concept that grounds the moral distinction between therapy and enhancement; the use of the normal species function model of normality by Allen Buchanan and his co-authors; and finally, John Harris s rejection of normality and consequent embrace of enhancement technologies. Following this, I draw on the work of Georges Canguilhem to outline a conception of the normal that would avoid the worries that hound Habermas s normative account of human nature, while still allowing for a distinction between therapy and enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicine and Society, New Perspectives in Continental Philosophy
EditorsDarian Meacham
Place of PublicationDordrecht The Netherlands
PublisherSpringer
Pages179 - 194
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9789401798693
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

Mills, C. J. (2015). Liberal eugenics, human enhancement and the concept of the normal. In D. Meacham (Ed.), Medicine and Society, New Perspectives in Continental Philosophy (pp. 179 - 194). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9870-9_11