Can we use the capabilities approach to evaluate human enhancement?

Ivars Neiders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The main task of this chapter is to evaluate the proposal made by Johann Roduit that Nussbaum's capability approach (CA) can be used to assess morality of human enhancement. Roduit claims that the capabilities approach is a type-perfectionist theory that can be used both as guiding and restricting human enhancement. I argue that the claim about using CA for guiding relies on the assumption that the central capabilities can be maximized, but this assumption is problematic. Moreover, many capabilities on Nussbaum's list of the central capabilities are such that they cannot be affected by biomedical means. A closer examination of CA shows that it provides no incentives for human enhancement. Of course, CA can still be used as restricting; however, in that case one must be careful to take into account the distinction between capabilities and functionings, and this seems to be ignored in Roduit's account.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPromises and perils of emerging technologies for human condition
Subtitle of host publicationVoices from four postcommunist Central and East European countries
EditorsPeter Sýkora
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherVerlag Peter Lang AG
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783631783092
ISBN (Print)9783631775127
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameSpectrum Slovakia

Field of Science*

  • 6.3 Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

Publication Type*

  • 3.1. Articles or chapters in proceedings/scientific books indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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