Enhancing Evolution

The Ethical Case for Making Better People

by John Harris

In Enhancing Evolution, leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer babies, and cloning and makes an ethical case for biotechnology that is both forthright and rigorous. Human enhancement, Harris argues, is a good thing--good morally, good for individuals, good as social policy, and good for a genetic heritage that needs serious improvement. Enhancing Evolution defends biotechnological interventions that could allow us to live longer, healthier, and even happier lives by, for example, providing us with immunity from cancer and HIV/AIDS. Further, Harris champions the possibility of influencing the very course of evolution to give us increased mental and physical powers--from reasoning, concentration, and memory to strength, stamina, and reaction speed. Indeed, he says, it's not only morally defensible to enhance ourselves; in some cases, it's morally obligatory.


In a new preface, Harris offers a glimpse at the new science and technology to come, equipping readers with the knowledge to assess the ethics and policy dimensions of future forms of human enhancement.


  • Princeton University Press; September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781400836383
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Enhancing Evolution
  • Author: John Harris
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Enhancing Evolution is a pleasure to read and an important contribution to bioethics. Against writers such as Leon Kass, Michael Sandel, and Jürgen Habermas, John Harris argues for using genetic and other technologies to improve and extend human life, and even to design and clone humans. Whether or not one shares his optimism that humans are wise, prudent, or moral enough to use technology to benefit humankind, his cogent and elegantly expressed arguments must be taken seriously."—Bonnie Steinbock, University of Albany


About The Author

John Harris is the Lord David Alliance Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester School of Law, joint editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, and a member of Britain's Human Genetics Commission. His many books include On Cloning and Clones, Genes, and Immortality.