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Human Enhancement


Human enhancement expresses the often difficult determination of utilizing medical and technological advances beyond restorative or otherwise therapeutic purposes. Such enhancements may include such the elective alteration of the human body through augmentation (such as cosmetic surgery for nonmedical purposes) or genetic interventions (such as germline gene therapies and designer babies) as well as attempts to improve or alter functionality such as cognitive or performance enhancement. Such enhancement efforts as are promoted by proponents of transhumanism or posthumanism further pursue the development and use of a broad range of emerging technologies (including nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, information technologies, and developments in the cognitive sciences) for the expressed purpose of human enhancement to intentionally evolve or move beyond the physical constraints and life span of the human species.


  • Michael Sleasman, “Bioethics Past, Present, and Future: Important Signposts in Human Dignity” (An overview of bioethics and the breadth of issues it encompasses).
  • Brent Waters, “Revitalizing Medicine: Empowering Natality vs. Fearing Mortality” Part I and Part II.
  • Paige Comstock Cunningham, “Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Part 1 and Part II.”
  • William Cheshire, Jr., “Grey Matters: Just Enhancement.”
  • William Cheshire, Jr., “Grey Matters: Accelerated Thought in the Fast Lane.”
  • Brent Waters, “The Future of the Human Species, Part I and Part II.”
  • Susan Rouse, “Cognitive Enhancement in Education: The State of the Issue and A Literature Review.”
  • Jean Bethke Elshtain, “The Body and the Quest for Control: Appreciating the Complex Nature of Human Embodiment.”
  • Edmund Pellegrino, “Biotechnology, Human Enhancement, and the Ends of Medicine.”
  • Gilbert Meilaender, “Beyond Therapy: A Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics.”



  • Alexander, Denis R. and Ronald L. Numbers, eds. Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • Bashford, Alison, and Philippa Levine. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Black, Edwin. War against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003.
  • Chesterton, G. K. Eugenics and Other Evils. London: Catholic Way Publishing, 2012.
  • Conlon, Anne, ed. The Reach of Roe: Eugenics, Euthanasia, and Other Assaults on the Dignity of Human Life (1975-2012). New York: Human Life Foundation, 2013.
  • Farmer, Ann. By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2008.
  • Kevles, Daniel. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.
  • Kuhl, Stefan. For the Betterment of the Race: The Rise and Fall of the International Movement for Eugenics and Racial Hygiene. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Leon, Sharon M. An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  • Lombardo, Paul. A Century of Eugenics in America from the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.
  • Lombardo, Paul. Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • MacKellar, Calum, and Christopher Bechtel, eds. The Ethics of the New Eugenics. New York: Berghahn Books, 2014.
  • Rosen, Christine. Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Rothschild, Joan. The Dream of the Perfect Child. Bioethics and the Humanities. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005.
  • Tankard Reist, Melinda. Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics. North Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2006.
  • Weikart, Richard. From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Out of Print

  • Glad, John. Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-first Century. Schuylkill Haven, PA: Hermitage, 2006.
  • McGee, Glenn. Perfect Baby: Parenthood in the New World of Cloning and Genetics. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

Human Enhancement (General)

  • Agar, Nicholas. Humanity's End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010.
  • Agar, Nicholas. Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.
  • Agar, Nicholas. Truly Human Enhancement: A Philosophical Defense of Limits. MIT Press, 2013.
  • Baillie, Harold W., and Timothy K. Casey, eds. Is Human Nature Obsolete? Genetics, Bioengineering, and the Future of the Human Condition. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.
  • Bateman, Simone, Jean Gayon, Sylvie Allouche, Jerome Goffette, and Michela Marzano, eds. Inquiring into Human Enhancement: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Benford, Gregory, and Elizabeth Malartre.  Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2007.
  • Buchanan, Allen E. Better Than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Buchanan, Allen E. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Cabrera, Laura Y. Rethinking Human Enhancement: Social Enhancement and Emergent Technologies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Eilers, Miriam, Katrin Gruber, and Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, eds. The Human Enhancement Debate and Disability: New Bodies for a Better Life. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • Elliot, Carl. Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream.  New York: Norton, 2004.
  • Fröding, Barbro. Virtue Ethics and Human Enhancement. New York: Springer, 2013.
  • Garreau, Joel. Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human. New York: Broadway, 2006.
  • Harris, John. Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
  • Hauskeller, M. Better Humans? Understanding the Enhancement Project. Durham, UK: Acumen Pub. Ltd., 2013.
  • Moore, Peter. Enhancing Me: The Hope and the Hype of Human Enhancement. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2008.
  • Naam, Ramez. More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. New York: Broadway Books, 2005.
  • Parens, Erik, ed. Enhancing Human Traits. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998.
  • Parens, Erik, ed. Surgically Shaping Children: Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
  • Pence, Gregory E. How to Build a Better Human: An Ethical Blueprint. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
  • President's Council on Bioethics. Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/pcbe/reports/beyondtherapy/index.html, 2003.
  • Savulescu, Julian, R. H. J. ter Meulen, and Guy Kahane. Enhancing Human Capacities. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Savulescu, Julian, and Nick Bostrom, eds. Human Enhancement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Shuldrick, Margrit, and Roxanne Mykitiuk, eds. Ethics of the Body: Postconventional Challenges. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.
  • Tolleneer, Jan, Sigrid Sterckx, and Pieter Bonte, eds. Athletic Enhancement, Human Nature and Ethics: Threats and Opportunities of Doping Technologies. New York: Springer, 2012.

Out of Print

  • Andrews, Lori B. Future Perfect: Confronting Decisions about Genetics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
  • Cole-Turner, Ronald, ed. Beyond Cloning: Religion and the Remaking of Humanity. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2001.
  • Magnus, David, Arthur Caplan, and Glenn McGee, eds. Who Owns Life? Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2002.
  • Mehlman, Maxwell J. The Price of Perfection: Individualism and Society in the Era of Biomedical Enhancement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009. (e-book edition available)
  • Rothman, Sheila, and David Rothman. The Pursuit of Perfection: The Promise and Perils of Medical Enhancement. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003.

Immortality Research

  • Deech, Ruth and Anna Smajdor. From IVF to Immortality: Controversy in the Era of Reproductive Technology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • deGrey, Aubrey, and Michael Rae. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.
  • Hulsroj, Peter. What if We Don’t Die? The Morality of Immortality. New York: Springer, 2015.
  • Lo, Vivienne, ed. Perfect Bodies: Sports, Medicine, and Immortality Ancient and Modern. Lond: British Museum Press, 2012.
  • Mercer, Calvin and Derek F. Maher, eds. Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • Mitchell, C. Ben, Robert D. Orr, and Susan A. Salladay, eds. Aging, Death, and the Quest for Immortality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
  • Olshansky, Stuart Jay, and Bruce A. Carnes. The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging. New York: Norton, 2001.
  • Shostak, Stanley. Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem Cell Therapy. New York: SUNY Press, 2002.

Out of Print

  • Bova, Ben. Immortality—How Science is Extending Your Life Span—and Changing the World. New York: Harper Perennial, 2000. (e-book edition available)
  • Hall, Stephen S. Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. (e-book edition available)


  • Cecchetto, David. Humanesis: Sound and Technological Posthumanism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
  • Fukuyama, Francis.  Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Picador, 2002.
  • Gray, Chris Hables.  Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age. New York: Routledge, 2001.
  • Gordijn, Bert, and Ruth F. Chadwick. Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity. Dordrecht: Springer, 2009.
  • Hauskeller, Michael, Thomas D. Philbeck, and Curtis D. Carbonell, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Posthumanism in Film and Television. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Herbrechter, Stefan. Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.
  • Hyde, Michael J. Perfection: Coming to Terms with Being Human. Notre Dame, IN: The University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.
  • Kass, Leon. Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics. New York: Encounter Books, 2004.
  • King-Tak, Ip. Bioethics of Regenerative Medicine. New York: Springer, 2009.
  • Koosed, Jennifer L., ed. The Bible and Posthumanism. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014.
  • Lake, Christina Bieber. Prophets of the Posthuman: American Fiction, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013.
  • Lewis, C.S. The Abolition of Man. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
  • Merrell, Floyd. Sensing Corporeally: Toward a Posthuman Understanding. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
  • Miccoli, Anthony. Posthuman Suffering and the Technological Embrace. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010.
  • Nayar, Pramod K. Posthumanism. Malden, MA: Polity, 2014.
  • Pepperell, Robert. The Posthuman Condition: Consciousness beyond the Brain.  Portland, OR: Intellect, 2009.
  • Scott, Peter M. Anti-Human Theology: Nature, Technology and the Post-Natural. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Seidel, Asher. Immortal Passage: Philosophical Speculations on Posthuman Evolution. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010.
  • Seidel, Asher. Inhuman Thoughts: Philosophical Explorations of Posthumanity. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008.
  • Sharon, Tamar. Human Nature in an Age of Biotechnology: The Case for Mediated Posthumanism. New York: Springer, 2013.
  • Stefan, Herbrechter. Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis. New York: Continuum, 2013.
  • Thweatt-Bates, Jeanine. Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012.
  • Waters, Brent. Christian Moral Theology in the Emerging Technoculture: From Posthuman Back to Human. Ashgate Science and Religion Series. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.
  • Waters, Brent. From Human to Posthuman: Christian Theology and Technology in a Postmodern World. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006.
  • White, Ryan. The Hidden God: Pragmatism and Posthumanism in American Thought. Columbia University Press, 2015.
  • Wolfe, Cary. Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory. University of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • Wolfe, Cary. What Is Posthumanism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Out of Print

  • Halberstam, Judith and Ira Livingston, eds. Posthuman Bodies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995.


  • Allenby, Braden R. and Daniel Sarewitz. The Techno-Human Condition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.
  • Bostrom, Nick. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Cole-Turner, Ronald, ed. Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.
  • Deane-Drummond, Celia and Peter Manley Scott, eds. Future Perfect? God, Medicine, and Human Identity. New York: T & T Clark, 2006.
  • Fuller, Steve. Humanity 2.0: What It Means to Be Human Past, Present, and Future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • Geraci, Robert. Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Hansell, Gregory R. and William Grassie, eds. H +/-: Transhumanism and its Critics. San Francisco, CA: Metanexus Institute, 2011.
  • Haughey, John C. and Ilia Delio. Humanity on the Threshold: Religious Perspectives on Transhumanism. Washington, DC: Council for Research in Values & Philosophy, 2014.
  • Kurzweil, Ray. How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. New York: Penguin, 2013.
  • Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.
  • Lilley, Stephen. Transhumanism and Society: The Social Debate over Human Enhancement. New York: Springer, 2012.
  • Mehlman, Maxwell J. Transhumanist Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares: The Promise and Peril of Genetic Engineering. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.
  • Mercer, Calvin and Tracy J. Trothen, eds. Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2014.
  • Molloy, Claire and Steven Shakespeare. Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism. New York: Continuum, 2012.
  • More, Max and Natasha Vita-More, eds. The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • Ramachandra, Vinoth. Subverting Global Myths: Theology and the Public Issues Shaping Our World. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2008.

Out of Print

  • Alexander, Brian. Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
  • Dewdney, Christopher. Last Flesh: Life in the Transhuman Era. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.
  • Paul, Gregory S., and Earl D. Cox. Beyond Humanity: Cyberevolution and Future Minds. Rockland, MA: Charles River Media, 1996.

For additional related material see the Emerging Technology and Genetic Ethics Bibliographies.

Position Statement