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The concept of human technological enhancement originated as a tool for the moral classification of technologies, but has since spilled over from ethical debates to become a site for prospective technology development as part of a 'converging technologies' agenda. To date, enhancement and the technologies labelled as 'enhancing' have been underserved by STS research. While case studies do exist, there has been a dearth of co-ordinated investigation. This paper proposes a systemic programme for STS research on enhancement technologies based on five key challenges posed by dominant conceptions of enhancement as a way of understanding technological development. After setting out this agenda, a short history of the enhancement debate is provided to illustrate the changing meanings of 'enhancement' across different contexts. Recognising the limitations of critique alone, particular emphasis is given to the possibilities for productive engagement by STS scholars with the domain of enhancement across its multiple manifestations.


Journal article


Science and Technology Studies

Publication Date





3 - 28