An Obligation to Enhance?

Anton Vedder, An obligation to enhance? Topoi 2019; 38 (1) pp. 49-52.

7 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019

See all articles by Anton Vedder

Anton Vedder

KU Leuven Centre for IT and IP Law (CiTiP); KU Leuven - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 9, 2017


This article discusses some rather formal characteristics of possible obligations to enhance. Obligations to enhance can exist in the absence of good moral reasons. If obligation and duty however are considered as synonyms, the enhancement involved must be morally desirable in some respect. Since enhancers and enhanced can, but need not coincide, advertency is appropriate regarding the question who exactly is addressed by an obligation or a duty to enhance: the person on whom the enhancing treatment is performed, or the controller or the operator of the enhancement. Especially, the position of the operator is easily overlooked. The exact functionality of the specific enhancement, is all-important, not only for the acceptability of a specific form of enhancement, but also for its chances of success for becoming a duty or morally obligatory. Finally and most importantly, however, since obligations can exist without good moral reasons, there can be obligations to enhance that are not morally right, let alone desirable.

Keywords: human enhancement, cognitive enhancement, moral enhacement, ethics, law

Suggested Citation

Vedder, Anton, An Obligation to Enhance? (March 9, 2017). Anton Vedder, An obligation to enhance? Topoi 2019; 38 (1) pp. 49-52., Available at SSRN:

Anton Vedder (Contact Author)

KU Leuven Centre for IT and IP Law (CiTiP) ( email )

Sint-Michielsstraat 6 box 3443
Leuven, 3000

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000

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