A Simple Regulatory Principle for Performance-Enhancing Technologies: Too Good to Be True?

  • Roger BrownswordEmail author
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 52)


This chapter assesses the adequacy of a general regulatory principle for the use of performance enhancing technologies. Drawing on the concepts of (no) harm and (free and informed) consent (which are central to the regulation of medical treatment—and, quite possibly, enhancement), the principle holds that it is permissible for competent agents (such as Olympic competitors) to use enhancers unless either (i) use causes harm to others (who have not consented to this risk) or (ii) the user has freely agreed to act on a no-enhancement basis. For agents who are not competent, the governing regulatory principle would be paternalistic. Against those (largely dignitarian) views that would categorically reject such a permissive principle, it is argued that (provided that the principle is anchored to an ethic of the rights of agents) it is on the right lines. However, caveats are entered against the use of enhancers in such a way that this jeopardises the possibility of agents trying to do the right thing for the right reason.


Human Dignity Anabolic Steroid Human Enhancement Simple Principle Harm Principle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College LondonUniversity of SheffieldLondonUK

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