Buchanan and the conservative argument against human enhancement from biological and social harmony

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)


In his recent Beyond Humanity? (2011), Allen Buchanan takes issue with a slew of arguments against human enhancement put forward by prominent conservatives. This chapter discusses his treatment of the conservative line of argument against human enhancement ‘from biological and social harmony’ (Buchanan 2011, pp. 161–2). It identifies a version of this line of argument that has more going for it than Buchanan allows. It does not argue that it is strong enough to warrant the banning of the use of all human enhancement technologies, as many conservatives (and some liberals) urge, but argues that it gives us reason to be cautious about the widespread adoption of some possible human enhancements. The chapter also shows that there is nothing distinctively conservative about this line of argument. It deserves to be taken seriously by both liberals and conservatives.
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 PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780198754855
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this