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Is It Ethical to Use Enhancement Technologies to Make Us Better Than Well?


Is It Ethical to Use Enhancement Technologies to Make Us Better Than Well?

Arthur Caplan et al. PLoS Med.


A variety of biomedical technologies are being developed that can be used for purposes other than treating disease. Such "enhancement technologies" can be used to improve our appearance and regulate our emotions, with the goal of feeling "better than well." While these technologies can help people adapt to their rapidly changing lifestyles, their use raises important ethical issues.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: AC was a member of Dupont's biotechnology advisory panel, advising on genetically modified organisms. He previously served on the scientific advisory board of Celera genomics. From 1997–1999 he served as a consultant to Pfizer on the launch of sildenafil (Viagra) as part of the company's scientific/ethics advisory board. Subsequently Pfizer sponsored a course on research ethics presented by the Center for Bioethics at Pfizer headquarters in which he was one of the lecturers. CE declares that he has no competing interests.


It is in our nature as humans to strive for self-improvement
(Illustration: Margaret Shear)
Where is the pursuit of the perfect face, body, and mind taking us?
(Illustration: Margaret Shear)

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    1. President's Council on Bioethics. Beyond therapy: Biotechnology and the pursuit of happiness. New York: Dana Press; 2003. 400 pp.
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