Enhancement

Human body scan on blue background

Biomedical technologies, such as drugs and surgical techniques, can increasingly be used not only to combat disease, but also to augment the capacities of normal, healthy individuals, a practice commonly referred to as biomedical enhancement. The best-established examples of biomedical enhancement are cosmetic surgery and doping in sports. But most recent scientific attention and ethical debate focuses on extending lifespan, lifting mood, and augmenting intellectual capacities. A number of drugs used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have already been shown to have small enhancing effects on attention and memory in normal individuals, and there are range of drugs and other biomedical techniques on the horizon that hold out promise for more dramatic effects. One such technique is brain-machine interfacing, which some predict may allow human brains to be connected directly computers to improve our information processing abilities.

Over the last decade, biomedical enhancement has become the focus of one of the liveliest and widest-ranging debates in practical ethics. In 2003, President Bush’s Council on Bioethics published a report which raised a barrage of ethical concerns about biomedical enhancement. Two former members of the council, Michael Sandel and Leon Kass, even argued that biomedical enhancement is always ethically objectionable, and that biomedical technologies should be used only to combat disease. In response to claims such as these, a number of authors have come to the defence of biomedical enhancement, arguing that it would often be ethically permissible, or even desirable. Transhumanists argue that we should pursue certain kinds of biomedical enhancement even to the point that we are no longer recognizably human.

Those who universally object to biomedical enhancement may have public opinion on their side; the few surveys of the general public conducted to date have found considerable reluctance to countenance biomedical enhancement. However, it is unclear whether there are sound arguments to back up these concerns. One challenge is to explain how biomedical enhancement differs, in an ethically important way, from ordinary biomedical treatments, which are normally regarded as by-and-large unproblematic. Suppose two individuals have an IQ of 100, but the first previously had an IQ of 150, but then suffered a serious head injury, whereas the second has always had an average IQ. Increasing the IQ of the first person would conventionally count as a treatment, whereas increasing the IQ of the second would not. Yet it is not clear that there is any ethically significant difference here.

On the other hand, defenders of enhancement must confront the widespread assumption that biomedical enhancements are ‘zero-sum’ goods, conferring some advantages on those who use them, but also offsetting competitive disadvantages on those who remain unenhanced. They have sought to do this in various ways: some point out that widespread cognitive enhancements might increase the rate of scientific progress, thus benefitting almost everyone; others draw parallels with non-biomedical innovations like agriculture and information technology, suggesting that biomedical enhancements will increase overall human productivity, and can thus be seen as part of the story of human economic development; others present biomedical enhancement as a potential solution to human moral limitations like xenophobia and limited altruism; and others still outline how biomedical enhancements could improve the performance surgeons, pilots, jurors and others performing socially critical functions. 

Resources

  • Clarke, S., Savulescu, J., Coady, C. A. J., Giubilini, A. and Sanyal, S., Eds. (2016), The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate. (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 
  • Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2012). Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement (Oxford: Oxford University Press).  Now also available in Portuguese (translated by Brunello Stancioli)
  • Savulescu, J., (2012) Decisiones peligrosas? Una bioética desafiante. Editorial Tecnos: Madrid (translation by Blanca Rodríguez López & Enrique Bonete Perales)
  • Savulescu, J., Ter Meulen, R., Kahane, G. (2011) eds. Enhancing Human Capacities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (published 18/3/11)
  • Knopffler, N. and Savulescu, J., (Eds.) (2009). Der neue Mensch? Enhancement und Genetik, Verlag Karl Aber
  • Savulescu, J., Bostrom, N. (Eds.) (2009). Human Enhancement, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Book Chapters

Douglas, T., Earp, B. D. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'Moral Neuroenhancement'. in K. Rommelfanger and L. Johnson, (Eds.)  Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. (Routledge, New York) [open access]

Giubilini, A. and S. Sanyal, (2016), 'Challenging human enhancement'. in  S. Clarke, J. Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, A. Giubilini and S. Sanyal, (Eds.) The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate. (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 1, pp 1-24

Maslen, H., (2016), 'Towards an Ethical Framework for Regulating the Market for Cognitive Enhancement Devices'. in F. Jotterand and V.Dubljevic, (Eds.)   Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Policy Implications in International Perspectives. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Pugh, J., Kahane, G., and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'Partiality for Humanity and Enhancement' in S. Clarke, J. Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, A. Giubilini and S. Sanyal, (Eds.)  The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 

Roache, R. and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'Enhancing Conservatism' in S. Clarke, J. Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, A. Giubilini and S. Sanyal, (Eds.)  The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Santoni De Seo, F., Faber, N., Savulescu, J. and Vincent, N., (2016), 'Why Less Praise for Enhanced Performance? Moving Beyond Responsibility-shifting, Authenticity, and Cheating, towards a Nature-of-Activities Approach'. in F. Jotterand and V.Dubljevic, (Eds.)   Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical and Policy Implications in International Perspectives. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G., (2016), 'Understanding Procreative Beneficence: The Nature and Extent of the Moral Obligation to Have the Best Child'. in L. Francis, (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Savulescu, J. and Maslen, H., (2015), 'Moral Enhancement and Artificial Intelligence: Moral AI?'. in J. Romportl, E. Zackova and J. Kelemen, (Eds.) Beyond Artificial Intelligence: The Disappearing Human-Machine Divide. (Springer) pp 79-95

Savulescu, J. (2014). 'The Nature of the Moral Obligation to Select the Best Children'. in Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. A. Akabyashi, Ed (Oxford: Oxford University Press): Part 1 Section B (4.5), pp 170-182

Douglas, T., (2013), 'Enhancement, Biomedical'. in H. LaFollette, (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Ethics. (Wiley Blackwell)

Sandberg, A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'The Memory of Jurors: Enhancing Trial Performance'. in L. Nadel and W. Sinnott-Armstrong, (Eds.), Oxford Series in Neuroscience, Law, and Philosophy, (New York: Oxford University Press) pp 213-232.

Savulescu, J., (2012), 'Enhancing Equality' in K. Lippert-Rasmussen, M. Rosendahl and J. Wamberg (eds). The Posthuman Condition: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges, (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press): 184- 203

Douglas, T., Harding, C., Bourne, H. and Savulescu, J. (2011) ‘Stem Cell Research and Same Sex Reproduction’. In Quigley, M., Chan, S. and Harris, J. (eds) Stem Cells: New Frontiers in Science and Ethics, World Scientific Press

Kahane, G., Savulescu, J. and Ter Meulen, R. (2011), 'Preface', in  G. Kahane, J. Savulescu and R. Ter Meulen (Eds) Enhancing Human Capacities, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell)

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J. (2011), 'Unfit for the Future?  Human Nature, Scientific Progress, and the Need for Moral Enhancement', in  J. Savulescu, R. ter Meulen and G. Kahane (Eds) Enhancing Human Capacities (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell)

Sandberg, A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. and Savulescu, J. (2011), 'Cognitive Enhancement in Courts', in J. Illes and B. J. Sahakian (Eds) Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J. (2011), 'The Social and Economic Impacts of Cognitive Enhancement', in J. Savulescu, R. Ter Meulen and G. Kahane (Eds) Enhancing Human Capacities, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell) pp. 92-113

Savulescu, J. and Foddy, B. (2011) ‘Le Tour and Failure of Zero Tolerance: Time to Relax Doping Controls’. In Savulescu, J., Ter Meulen, R. and Kahane, G. (eds). Enhancing Human Capacities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Savulescu, J., Sandberg, A. and Kahane, G. (2011) ‘Well-being and Enhancement’. In Savulescu, J., Ter Meulen, R. and Kahane, G (eds.). Enhancing Human Capacities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Savulescu, J. and Sandberg, A. (2011) ‘The Social and Economic Impacts of Cognitive Enhancement’. In Savulescu, J., Ter Meulen, R. and Kahane, G (eds.). Enhancing Human Capacities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Savulescu, J., Sandberg, A. and Kahane, G. (2011), 'Reasons to Feel, Reasons to Take Pills', in J. Savulescu, R. ter Meulen and G. Kahane (Eds.) Enhancing Human Capacities,Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell pp. 166-178

Bostrom, N., and Savulescu, J. (2009). ‘Introduction’. In Savulescu J, and Bostrom N. eds. Human Enhancement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp 1 – 24.

Foddy, B. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Ethik der Leistungssteigerung im Sport: Medikamenten- und Gen-Doping', in B. Schone-Seifert and D. Talbot (Eds.) Enhancement: Die Ethische Debatte,Paderborn: Mentis Verlag

Ranisch, R. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Ethics and Enhancement', in N. Knoepffler and J. Savulescu (Eds.) The new man? Enhancement and Genetics,Alber Verlag.

Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Enhancement and Fairness', in P. Healey and S. Rayner (Eds.) Unnatural Selection: The Challenges of Engineering Tomorrow’s People London: Earthscan pp. 177- 187

Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Genetic Enhancement', in H. Kuhse and P. Singer (Eds.) A Companion to Bioethics: Second Edition,Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell

Savulescu, J. (2009), 'The Human Prejudice and the Moral Status of Enhanced Beings: What do we Owe the Gods', in J. Savulescu and N. Bostrom (Eds.) Human Enhancement,Oxford: Oxford University Press pp. 211-250

Savulescu, J. and Foddy, B. (2009), 'To Gattaca and Beyond', in J. Healey (Ed.) Human Genetics: Ethics & Issues,Thirroul: The Spinney Press pp. 27-28

Savulescu, J. and Devolder, K. (2009). ‘Therapeutic Cloning is Moral’. In D. Haugen, Musser, S., and Lovelace, K. (eds). At Issue: The Ethics of Cloning. Greenhaven Press. pp. 57 – 72. Reprinted from: Devolder, K., Savulescu, J. (2006) The Moral Imperative to Conduct Embryonic Stem Cell and Cloning Research Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics doi:10.1017/S0963180106060026

Savulescu, J. (2008), 'Procreative Beneficence: reasons not to have Disabled Children', in J. Thompson and L. Skene (Eds.) The Sorting Society: The Ethics of Genetic Screening and Therapy,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Savulescu, J. (2007), 'Procreative Beneficence: Why We Should Select the Best Children', in R. Chadwick, H. Kuhse, W. A. Landman, U. Schuklenk and P. Singer (Eds.) The Bioethics Reader: Editors' Choice Malden: Blackwell Publishing pp. 434 - 446

Savulescu, J. (2007). ‘Beneficenza Procreativa e Disabilita’. In M. Ghisleni (ed) Bioetica Rivista Interdisciplinare. Piacenza: Casa Editrice Vicolo del Pavone. 15: pp. 56 – 64.

Savulescu, J. and Foddy, B. (2007), 'Ethics of Performance Enhancement in Sport: Drugs and Gene Doping', in R. E. Ashcroft, A. Dawson, H. Draper and J. R. McMillan (Eds.) Principles of Health Care Ethics,2nd, London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd pp. 511-520

Savulescu, J. (2007). ‘Autonomy, the Good Life, and Controversial Choices’. In Rhodes, R. Francis, L. P. and Silvers, A. (eds). The Blackwell Guide to Medical Ethics.(Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Part 1, Chapter 1, pp. 17 – 37.

Savulescu, J. (2007). ‘Gene therapy, transgenesis and chimeras: is the radical genetic alteration of human beings a threat to our humanity?’ In Savulescu, J. (ed) In Quest of Ethical Wisdom: How the Practical Ethics of East and West Contribute to Wisdom. Oxford: Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. pp. 3 – 20.

Savulescu, J. and Foddy, B. (2006). ‘Good Sport, Bad Sport’ in Smyth, D., Brown, H., Judge, W., McCallum, C., and Pritchard, R., (eds). Live it Up 2: VCE Physical Education Units 3 and 4. 2nd Edition. Milton: John Wiley and Sons.

Savulescu, J. (2006). ‘Sex Selection: The Case for’. In Singer, P. and H. Kuhse (eds). Bioethics: An Anthology. Second Edition. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Savulescu, J. (2006), 'Genetic Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement of Human Beings', in B. Steinbock (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics,Oxford; Oxford University Press pp. 516-535

Savulescu, J. (2006), 'Justice, Enhancement and Fairness', in W. Bainbridge and M. Roco (Eds.) Progess in Convergence: Technologies for Human Wellbeing,New York; New York Academy of Sciences pp. 321-338

Savulescu, J. (2005), 'Risk and Sport: Genetic testing and Boxing', in C. Tambourrini (Ed.) Genetic Technology in Sport,London and New York: Routledge pp. 136 - 146

Savulescu J. (2003). ‘The Public Interest in Embryos’. In Gunning J, Szoke, H (eds). The Regulation of Assisted Reproductive Technology Legislation. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 191-2002.

Special Edited Journal Issue

Savulescu, J., Liao, S. M. and Wasserman, D., (Eds.) (2008), 'Special issue: The Ethics of Enhancement'Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 25 pp. 159 – 161

Journal Articles

2022

Zohny, H., Earp, B. and Savulescu, J., (2022), 'Enhancing Gender', Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Vol: 19(June): 225-237 [PMC9233637]

Lyreskog, D. and Mckeown, A., (2022), 'On the (Non-)Rationality of Human Enhancement and Transhumanism', Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol: 28(52) [PMC9626409]

2021

Alonso, M. and Savulescu, J., (2021), 'He Jiankui’s gene editing experiment and the non-identity problem', Bioethics, Vol: 35(6): 563-573 [PMC8524470]

2020

Browne, T. and Clarke, S., (2020), 'Bioconservatism, Bioenhancement and Backfiring', Journal of Moral Education, Vol: 49(2): 241-256 [PMC7155838]

Forsberg, L. and Skelton, A., (2020), 'Achievement and Enhancement', Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol: 50(3): 322-338 [PMC8056859]

Gyngell, C., Stark, Z., and Savulescu, J., (2020), 'Drugs, Genes and Screens: The ethics of preventing and treating Spinal Muscular Atrophy', Bioethics, Vol: 34(5): 493-501 [PMC7318711]

Voinea, C., Mihailov, E., Savulescu, J. and Vica, C., (2020), 'The Internet as Cognitive Enhancement', Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol: 26(4): 2345–2362 [PMC7417391]

2019

Anomaly, J., Gyngell, C. and Savulescu, J., (2019) 'Great minds think different: Preserving cognitive diversity in an age of gene editing', Bioethics, Vol: 34(1): 81-89 [PMC6973122]

Cavaliere, G., Giubilini, A. and Devolder, K., (2019), 'Regulating Genome Editing: For an Enlightened Democratic Governance', Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics, Vol: 28(1 (Jan 2019)): 76-88 [PMC6316359]

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2019), 'The duty to be morally enhanced', Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy Vol: 28(1): 7-14  [PMC6887531]

Schaefer, G. O. and Savulescu, J., (2019), 'Procedural Moral Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: 12(1): 73-84 [PMC6411668]

Zohny, H., (2019), 'Moral enhancement and the good life', Medicine, healthcare and philosophy, Vol: 22(2): 267–274 [PMC6499734]

2018

Palacios-González, C., (2018), 'Mexico and mitochondrial replacement techniques: what a mess', British Medical Bulletin, Vol: 128(1):97-107. [FREELY AVAILABLE]

Savulescu, J. and Mihailov, E., (2018), 'Social Policy and Cognitive Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: 11(2): 115-127 [PMC5978818]

2017

Gyngell, C., Savulescu, J. and Douglas, T., (2017), 'The ethics of germline gene editing', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 34(4): 498–513 [open access]

Savulescu, J. and Schaefer, G. O., (2017), 'Better Minds, Better Morals: A Procedural Guide to Better Judgment', Journal of Posthuman Studies, Vol: 1(1): 26-43. [open access, PMC]

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'Moral Hard-Wiring and Moral Enhancement'Bioethics, Vol: 31(4): 286-295 [open access]

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'The Irrelevance of a Moral Right to Privacy for Biomedical Moral Enhancement'Neuroethics, (Freely available Brief Communication), Vol: TBC.

2016

Earp, B. D., Sandberg, A., & Savulescu, J. (2016). 'The medicalization of love: Response to critics'. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol. 25, No. 4, 759-771.

Faber, N., Savulescu, J. and Douglas, T., (2016), 'Why is Cognitive Enhancement Deemed Unacceptable? The Role of Fairness, Deservingness, and Hollow Achievements'Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 19 February. [open access]

Maslen, H. and Savulescu, J., (2016), Open Peer Commentary: 'Neurofeedback for Moral Enhancement: Irreversibility, Freedom and Advantages over Drugs', American Journal of Bioethics: Neurosciences, Vol: 7(2): 120-122.

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'Enharissment: A Reply to John Harris about Moral Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: 9(3): 275-277. 

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'Moral Bioenhancement, Freedom and Reason', Neuroethics, Vol: 9(3): 263-268. [open access]

Wilkinson, D., Barnett, C., Savulescu, J. and Newson, A. J., (2016), 'Genomic Intensive Care: Should we Perform Genome Testing in Critically Ill Newborns?', Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol: 101(2): F94-F98. [open access]

2015

Chan, S., Donovan, P. J., Douglas, T., Gyngell, C., Harris, J., Lovell-Badge, R., Mathews, D. J. H. and Regenberg, A., (2015 ), 'Genome Editing Technologies and Human Germline Genetic Modification: The Hinxton Group Consensus Statement'American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 15(12): 42-47.

Douglas, N., (2015), 'The Harms of Enhancement and the Conclusive Reasons View'Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 24(1): 22-36. [open access]

Earp, B. D., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The medicalization of love'Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 24(13). [open access]

Faber, N. S., Douglas, T., Heise, F. and Hewstone, M., (2015), 'Cognitive enhancement and motivation enhancement – An empirical comparison of intuitive judgments', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 6(1): 18-20. [open peer commentary]

Goold, I. and H. Maslen, (2015). 'Obliging surgeons to enhance: Negligence liability for uncorrected fatigue and problems with proving causation', Medical Law Review, Vol:23(3)

Gyngell, C., (2015), 'The Ethics of Human Life Extension: The Second Argument from Evolution', The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol: 40(6): 696-713.

Gyngell, C., Douglas, T. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Germline Edits: Trust Ethics Review', Nature, Vol: 520(623).

Gyngell, C. and Douglas, T., (2015), 'Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problems', Bioethics, Vol: 29(4): 241-250. [open access]

Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2015), 'Normal Human Variation: Refocusing the Enhancement Debate', Bioethics, Vol: 29(2): 133-143 [open access]

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: refining Maslen et al.’s model', Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Vol: 2(3): 754-767 [PMC5034395]

Mathews, D. J. H., Chan, S., Donovan, P. J., Douglas, T., Gyngell, C., Harris, J., Regenberg, A. and Lovell-Badge, R., (2015), 'CRISPR: A path through the thicket', Nature, Vol: 527(7577): 159-161.

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Unfit for the Future: Reply to Commentators', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 41: 348-352.

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The Art of Misunderstanding Moral Bioenhancement: Two Cases', Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics, Vol: 24(1): 48-57.

Pugh, J., (2015), 'Autonomy, Natality and Freedom: A Liberal Re-examination of Habermas in the Enhancement Debate', Bioethics, Vol: 29(3): 145–152. [open access]

Pugh, J., Gyngell, C., Douglas, T. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The Moral Imperative to Continue Gene Editing Research on Human Embryos', Protein & Cell, Vol: 6(7): 476-479. [open access]

Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Procreative Beneficence, Diversity, Intersubjectivity and Imprecision', American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 15(6): 16-18.

Savulescu, J. and Harris, J., (2015), 'A Debate About Moral Enhancement', Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics, Vol: 24(1): 8-22. [PDF]

2014

Caviola, L., Mannino, A., Savulescu, J. and Faulmüller, N., (2014), 'Cognitive biases can affect moral intuitions about cognitive enhancement', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8(195) [PMC4197737

Douglas, T., (2014). 'Criminal Rehabilitation Through Medical Intervention: Moral Liability and the Right to Bodily Integrity', The Journal of Ethics, Vol: online first. [open access]

Douglas, T., (2014), 'Moral Enhancement, Freedom and Reasoning', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 40(6): 359-360.

Douglas, T., (2014), 'Enhancing Moral Conformity and Enhancing Moral Worth', Neuroethics, Vol: 7(1) pp 75-91 [open access]

Dunlop, M. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Distributive Justice and Cognitive Enhancement in Lower, Normal Intelligence', Monash Bioethics Review, Vol: 32(3): 189-204

Earp, B. D. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Neuroreductionism about Sex and Love', Think, Vol: 13(38): 7-12. [freely available]

Earp, B., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J. (2014). "Brave new love: the threat of high-tech "conversion" therapy and the bio-oppression of sexual minorities." American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, Vol: 5(1): 4-12. [open access]

Earp, B., Sandberg, A., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2014). "When is diminishment a form of enhancement? Rethinking the enhancement debate in biomedical ethics." Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8: 1-8. [open access]

Jefferson, W., Douglas, T., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., (2014). 'Enhancement and Civic Virtue', Social Theory and Practice, Vol: 40(3): 499-527. [open access]

Levy, N., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Terbeck, S., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Are You Morally Modified? The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals', Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, Vol: 21(2): 111–125. [open access]

Maslen, H., Earp, B., Cohen Kadosh, R. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Brain stimulation for treatment and enhancement in children: an ethical analysis', Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol: 8(953) [open access]

Maslen, H., Faulmüller, N. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Pharmacological cognitive enhancement - how future neuroscientific research could advance ethical debate', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8 (107). [open access]

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2014). "The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: extending the medical model" Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Vol: 1(1): 68-93 [open access]

Maslen, H., Savulescu, J., Levy, N., Cohen Kadosh, R. and Douglas, T., (2014), 'Mind Machines: The Regulation of Cognitive Enhancement Devices', Oxford Martin School Policy Paper  [freely available]

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Should Moral Bioenhancement Be Compulsory? Reply to Vojin Rakic', Journal of Medical Ethics 40:251-252., Vol: 40(4): 251-252.

Santoni De Sio, F., Faulmüller, N. and Vincent, N. A., (2014), 'How cognitive enhancement can change our duties', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8(131). [open access]

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2014), 'Against Fetishism about Egalitarianism and In Defence of Cautious Moral Bioenhancement', American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 14(4): 39-42.Schaefer, G.O., Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G., (2014), 'Autonomy and Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: 7(2), pp 123-136. [open access]

Schelle, K. J., Faulmüller, N., Caviola, L. and Hewstone, M., (2014), 'Attitudes towards pharmacological cognitive enhancement – a review', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8(53). [open access]

2013

Douglas, T., (2013), 'The Harms of Status Enhancement Could Be Compensated or Outweighed: A Response to Agar', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 39(2): 75-76

Douglas, T. and Devolder, K., (2013). "Procreative Altruism: Beyond Individualism in Reproductive Selection" Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol: 38(4): 400-419 [open access]

Douglas, T., (2013), 'Human enhancement and supra-personal moral status', Philosophical Studies, Vol: 162(3): 473-497 [open access]

Douglas, T. (2013), 'Moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation: a reply to John Harris', Bioethics, Vol: 27(3): 160-168 [open access]

Earp, B. D., Wudarczyk, O. A., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J. (2013), 'If I Could Just Stop Loving You: Anti-Love Biotechnology and the Ethics of a Chemical Breakup', American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 13(11) pp. 3-17. [open access]

Faulmüller, N., Maslen, H. and Santoni De Sio, F., (2013). "The Indirect Psychological Costs of Cognitive Enhancement." The American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 13: 45-47.

Pugh, J., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2013), 'Cohen’s Conservatism and Human Enhancement', The Journal of Ethics, Vol: 17(4): 331-354 [open access]

Savulescu, J. and Sparrow, R., (2013). "Making Better Babies, Pro and Con" (debate transcript), Monash Review of Bioethics, Vol: 31(1): 36-59.

Savulescu, J., (2013). "A Liberal Consequentialist Approach to Regulation of Cognitive Enhancers" American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 13(7): 53-55.

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Levy, N., Hewstone, M. and Cowen, P.J., (2013), 'Beta adrenergic blockade reduces utilitarian judgement', Biological Psychology, Vol: 92(2): 323-328 [open access]

Wudarczyk, O.A., Earp, B.D., Guastella, A. and Savulescu, J., (2013), 'Could intranasal oxytocin be used to enhance relationships? Research imperatives, clinical policy, and ethical considerations', Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Vol: 26(5): 475-484.

2012

Bourne, H., Douglas, T. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'Procreative beneficence and in vitro gametogenesis ', Monash Bioethics Review, Vol: 30(2): 29-48. [open access]

Earp, B., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships', Philosophy & Technology, Vol: 25(4): 561-587 [open access]

Foddy, B., (2012), 'The Right and Wrong of Growing Old: Assessing the Argument from Evolution', Philosophy & Technology, Vol: 25(4): 547-560 [open access]

Levy, N., (2012), 'Ecological Engineering: Reshaping Our Environments to Achieve Our Goals', Philosophy & Technology, Vol: 25(4): 589-604 [open access]

Powell, R., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'Introduction to Special Issue: Evolution, Genetic Engineering and Human Enhancement', Philosophy and Technology, Vol: 25(4): 439-458

Santoni de Sio, F., Maslen, H. and Faulmüller, N., (2012), 'The Necessity of Objective Standards for Moral Enhancement', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 3: 15-16

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2012), 'Moral Enhancement, Freedom and the God Machine', The Monist, Vol: 95(3): 399-421. [open access]

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M., (2012), '‘Reply to Burchett, T. S. and Glenn, L. L., “Measurement Validity of Tests for Implicit Negative Bias”’', Psychopharmacology, Vol: 222(4): 723-724

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M., (2012), 'Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias', Psychopharmacology, Vol: 222(3): 419-424 [open access]

2011

Kahane, G. (2011), 'Mastery Without Mystery: Why there is no Promethean Sin in Enhancement', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 28(4): 355–368. [open access]

Powell, R. and Buchanan, A. (2011),'Breaking Evolution's Chains: The Prospect of Deliberate Genetic Modification in Humans' Journal of Medicine and Philosophy Vol: 36(1): pp. 6-27.

Powell, R. and Buchanan, A. (2011), 'Breaking Evolution's Chains: The Prospect of Deliberate Genetic Modification in Humans' Re-printed in Briefing Book for the U.S. Presidential Commission for Bioethics, 2010

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I. (2011)'The Turn for Ultimate Harm: A Reply to Fenton'.Journal of Medical Ethics published online February 2011 (forthcoming in print March 2011) 10.1136/jme.2010.036962

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2011), 'Getting moral enhancement right: the desirability of moral bioenhancement', Bioethics, Vol: 27(3): 124-131 [open access]

2001 to 2010

Foddy, B. and Savulescu, J. (2010), 'Time to Reevaluate Gender Segregation in Athletics?' British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol: Published online August 2010 (forthcoming in print 2011)

Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2010), 'The Value of Sex in Procreative Reasons', American Journal of Bioethics Vol: 10(7) pp. 22-24

Persson, I. and Savulescu, J. (2010), 'Moral Transhumanism', Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol: 35(6): 656-669.

Savulescu, J. (2010) 'Human liberation: Removing biological and psychological barriers to freedom'. Monash Bioethics Review Vol:29(1) 2010

Savulescu, J., and Persson, I. (2010) 'Actualizable Potential, Reproduction and Embryo Research: Bringing Embryos into Existence for Different Purposes, or Not at All'. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 19(1) pp 51-60

Mathews, D. J. H., Donovan, P., Harris, J., Lovell-Badge, R., Savulescu, J., and Faden, R., (2009) ‘Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Gametes: Truth and (Potential) Consequences’. Cell Stem Cell. 5(1) : 11-14.

Savulescu, J. (2009) 'Human Liberation: Removing Biological and Psychological Barriers to Freedom'. Centro Einaudi Journal, Biblioteca della Liberta no. 196.

Savulescu, J., and Kahane, G., (2009) 'The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life', Bioethics 23 (5): 274-290. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00687.

Douglas, T. (2008). 'Moral Enhancement' Journal of Applied Philosophy 25(3): 228-245.

Goold, I. and Savulescu, J., (2008). ‘In Favour of Freezing Eggs for Non- Medical Reasons’. Bioethics. 23 (1): 47-58.

Liao, S. M., Savulescu, J. and Wasserman, D. (2008), 'The Ethics of Enhancement: ' Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 25(3) pp. 159-161

Naylor, E., Wood, D. and Savulescu, J. (2008), 'Enhancement', Student British Medical Journal, Vol: March 2008

Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J. (2008), 'Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us', Neuroethics, Vol: 1(1) pp. 31-44

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I. (2008), 'The Perils of Cognitive Enhancement and the Urgent Imperative to Enhance the Moral Character of Humanity', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 25(3) pp. 162 - 167

Savulescu, J., Goold, I., (2008). 'Freezing Eggs for Lifestyle Reasons'. American Journal Of Bioethics. 8(6):32

Savulescu, J., and Skene, L., (2008). 'The Kingdom of Genes: Why Genes from Animals and Plants Will Make Better Humans'. Open Peer Commentary on Baylis, F. ‘Animal Eggs for Stem Cell Research: A Path Not Worth Taking’. American Journal of Bioethics. 8:(12):35 ISSN: 1536-0075

Savulescu, J. (2007). 'In Defence of Procreative Beneficience: Response to Parker'. Journal of Medical Ethics. 33:284-288. doi:10.1136/jme.2006.018184

Savulescu, J. (2007) 'The Case for Creating Human-Nonhuman Cell Lines'. Bioethics Forum [Online]

Savulescu, J. (2007), 'In Defence of Procreative Beneficience: Response to Parker', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 33 pp. 284-288

Savulescu, J., and Foddy, B., (2007). 'Addiction is not an affliction: addictive desires are merely pleasure-oriented desires', American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 7(1) pp 29-32

Devolder, K., Savulescu, J. (2006). ‘The Moral Imperative to Conduct Embryonic Stem Cell and Cloning Research’. Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics. 15 (1): 7 – 21. doi:10.1017/S0963180106060026

Foddy, B., Savulescu, J.. (2006). 'Addiction and Autonomy: Can Addicted People Consent to the Prescription of Their Drug of Addiction?' Bioethics. 20 (1): 1-15 (Feb). DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2006.00470.x Second highest cited article in Bioethics from 2006-07.

Savulescu, J. (2006). 'Justice, Fairness and Enhancement'. In Sims Bainbridge, W. and Roco, M. C. (eds). Special Issue: Progress in Convergence: Technologies for Human Wellbeing. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1093: 321-338 (December). doi: 10.1196/annals.1382.021

Savulescu, J., Foddy, B. (2006). 'Autonomy, Addiction and the Drive to Pleasure: Designing Drugs and our Biology: A Reply to Neil Levy'. Bioethics 20 (1) : 21-23 (Feb). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2006.00472.x

Savulescu, J., Hemsley, M., Newson, A. and Foddy, B. (2006), 'Behavioural Genetics: Why Eugenic Selection is Preferable to Enhancement', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 23 pp. 157-171

Savulescu, J. (2005), 'New Breeds of Humans: the Moral Obligation to Enhance', Reproductive Biomedicine Online (RBM Online), Vol: 10 pp. 1 - 9

Savulescu, J. (2005), 'Rational Morality, the New Genetics, and the Human Person', Bulletin of Death and Life Studies, Vol: 1 pp. 13 - 34

Savulescu, J. and Foddy, B. (2005), 'Comment: Genetic Test Available for Sports Performance', British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol: 39 pp. 472

Savulescu, J. Foddy, B. (2005), Book Review of Sports Ethics: An Anthology, Br J Sports Med, 39: 686 - 687

Savulescu, J. and Fuscaldo, G. (2005), 'Spare Embryos: 3000 Reasons to rethink the significance of genetic relatedness', Reproductive Biomedicine Online (RBM Online), Vol: 110(2) pp. 164 - 168

Savulescu, J. (2001) 'Procreative Beneficence: Why We should Select the Best Children', Bioethics, Vol: 15 (5/6)

YOUTUBE: The Practical Ethics Video Series makes the most important and complex debates in practical ethics accessible to a wide audience through brief interviews with high profile philosophers in Oxford.  Video interviews on this and other topics can be found on our YouTube channel.

Pugh, J., (2019), 'BBC The Big Questions: 'Is it right to design babies?'', OUC Research Fellow, Dr Jonathan Pugh, participated in a debate 'Is it right to design babies?' for BBC1's The Big Questions, which ranged from ethical considerations of gene-editing technologies to NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing).  Dr Pugh referenced the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report and discussed the need to balance the expected future well-being of children against the reproductive autonomy of parents.  Series 12 Episode 2 aired on 13 January 2019 and is available on iPlayer until 10 February 2019 (Dr Pugh's contribution appears at approx 18:40 on the clock).  Hosted by Nicky Campbell, 'The Big Questions' is a series of moral, ethical and religious debates. (13 January 2019).

Savulescu, J., (2017), Podcast for The Conversation, 'Speaking with: Julian Savulescu on the ethics of genetic modification in humans', What if humans are genetically unfit to overcome challenges like climate change and the growing inequality that looks set to define our future? (17 July).  http://theconversation.com/speaking-with-julian-savulescu-on-the-ethics-of-genetic-modification-in-humans-78249

Staicu, L. and Socaciua, E., (2017), 'The rise of postmedicine: some ethical concerns regarding biomedical technology; How Drug Patents Might Lead to Disincentives for Moral Bioenhancement', Erasmus Exchange Public Event: Double Seminar on Biomedical Technology and Moral Bioenhancement (30 May)

Savulescu, J., (2016) 'No pain, no praise: motivational enhancement and the meaning of life'.  MT16 Oxford-Valencia Neuroethics Workshop, Oxford Martin School (14 November) 

Gyngell, C., (2015), ''The case for genetically engineered babies' and accompanying podcast 'Should we genetically engineer humans?'', The Guardian (1 May). Article | Podcast

Savulescu, J., (2014). 'Making nice: Julian Savulescu and the case for moral bioenhancement'.  Philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu joins host Peter Mares for a conversation on the potential for moral bioenhancement through direct brain stimulation, pharmacology or genetics, and the ethical implications of such interventions.  Up Close is an online, audio talk show of research, opinion and analysis, presented in English, from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Audio (MP3) |  Transcript

Erler, A., (2013), Sleep and Opportunity for Well-being (paper co-authored by David Birks and delivered at HT13 Uehiro Seminars in Practical Ethics) http://media.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/uehiro/HT13US_ERL.mp3

Savulescu, J., (2013). Pills that improve morality. TEDxBarcelona. (23 July)

Savulescu, J., (2012), Making Better Babies, Pro and Con. A Debate with Rob Sparrow http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/bioethics/--downloads/better-babies-debate-october-2012.mp3

Papers

Media

In November 2018, Chinese researcher Jiankui He of Shenzhen announced that he had gene-edited two healthy embryos using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which resulted in the birth of twin baby girls.  He claims to have edited a gene to make the babies resistant to HIV, although one of the girls has both copies of the gene modified while the other has only one (making her still susceptible to HIV).  Addressing the ethical concerns surrounding this claim, OUC Researchers have responded in blog posts and media interviews:

Blogs

TV and radio interviews

Devolder, K., (2018), Interviewed by Julian Worricker for BBC World Service Weekend episode 'The 80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport'. Dr Devolder discusses the ethical concerns surrounding Prof. Jiankui He's controversial gene-editing experiments (the gene-edited embryos resistant to HIV).

27 November. Interview with Julian Savulescu, ABC News (Australia) on birth of first gene edited babies.  

28 November 2018. Oxford bioethics expert: Gene editing itself is right, but healthy embryos should not take risks. Interview with Julian Savulescu on the case.  Jiemian News. Savulescu (in Chinese)

Quotes

Other media

Oxford Sparks Big Questions / Should we edit genes to make nicer people? Is it possible to edit someone's genes before they are born to make them a nicer, kinder, more moral person? Not only that - but, importantly, should we do this? When it comes to gene editing for moral enhancement, there are many ethical points to consider. Join us as we chat to Tess Johnson, a Philosophy PhD student at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, about this very big question (20 January 2021).

Gyngell, C., Douglas, T. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Engineering a Consensus: Edit Embryos for Research, Not Reproduction', Oxford Martin School Blog (2 December). 

Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Five reasons we should embrace gene-editing research on human embryos', The Conversation (2 December).

Gyngell, C., (2015), ''The case for genetically engineered babies' and accompanying podcast 'Should we genetically engineer humans?'', The Guardian (1 May). Article | Podcast