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Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 9–27 | Cite as

The new enhancement technologies and the place of vulnerability in our lives

  • John G. Quilter
Article

Abstract

What is the place of vulnerability in our lives? The current debate about the ethics of enhancement technologies provides a context in which to think about this question. In my view, the current debate is likely to be fruitless, largely because we bring the wrong ethical resources to bear on its questions. In this article, I recall an important, but currently neglected, role that moral concepts play in our thinking, a role they should especially play in relation to the introduction of new technologies. I call this the ‘contemplative role of moral concepts’. I then contrast two approaches to the contemplative role of moral concepts which are found in the current literature, and show why it is important to keep in mind both of these approaches when thinking about human vulnerability.

Keywords

Vulnerability Enhancement Moral concepts Ethics of flourishing Ethics of renunciation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyAustralian Catholic UniversityStrathfieldAustralia

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