Title

Occupational Science and Enhancement Technology: A Critical Analysis of Occupational Potential and the Concept of 'Better than Well'

Presenter Information

Jess Holguin

Start Time

24-10-2008 12:00 PM

End Time

24-10-2008 2:00 PM

Abstract

The notion of living ‘better than well’ through enhancement technology is a promising concept for further developing the literature of occupational science. Specifically, the concept of better than well can be a valuable construct in the study of occupational potential. Occupational potential describes the interplay between who a person has the potential to be within the context of their capacities, life requirements, and opportunities. Better than well involves the use of disease-targeting medical technology to enhance subjective perceptions of wellbeing and/or objectively measured capacities in non-medically compromised populations. A key component in the relationship between these two concepts is the tenet within the occupational science literature stating that it is a fundamental right of all occupational beings to strive for the development and realization of their occupational potential. A logical extension of this ideal follows that further efforts should be made to identify permissible limits to which persons should be empowered in their striving to develop and realize their occupational potential. It can be argued that such limits are important to consider for the following reasons: (a) there are unresolved issues regarding what should be deemed appropriate uses of medical technology; (b) facilitating or hindering the use of technological advances calls into question the rights of individuals as autonomous beings; and (c) inequity in social and capital resources could possibly result in unfavorable shifts in societal structures that would negatively impact the majority of occupational beings. At present, these and other related issues have yet to be addressed in the literature. The intent of this critical analysis is to explore the ethical implications of either supporting or abstaining from the study of enhancing occupational potential. This analysis will argue and demonstrate that occupational science literature creates an opening for consideration of this new concept, and that there is strong evidence to suggest an obligation to do so. In sum, this analysis reveals an opportunity for the discipline of occupational science to articulate an ethically justifiable position for exploring better than well approaches in their study of occupational potential.

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Oct 24th, 12:00 PM Oct 24th, 2:00 PM

Occupational Science and Enhancement Technology: A Critical Analysis of Occupational Potential and the Concept of 'Better than Well'

The notion of living ‘better than well’ through enhancement technology is a promising concept for further developing the literature of occupational science. Specifically, the concept of better than well can be a valuable construct in the study of occupational potential. Occupational potential describes the interplay between who a person has the potential to be within the context of their capacities, life requirements, and opportunities. Better than well involves the use of disease-targeting medical technology to enhance subjective perceptions of wellbeing and/or objectively measured capacities in non-medically compromised populations. A key component in the relationship between these two concepts is the tenet within the occupational science literature stating that it is a fundamental right of all occupational beings to strive for the development and realization of their occupational potential. A logical extension of this ideal follows that further efforts should be made to identify permissible limits to which persons should be empowered in their striving to develop and realize their occupational potential. It can be argued that such limits are important to consider for the following reasons: (a) there are unresolved issues regarding what should be deemed appropriate uses of medical technology; (b) facilitating or hindering the use of technological advances calls into question the rights of individuals as autonomous beings; and (c) inequity in social and capital resources could possibly result in unfavorable shifts in societal structures that would negatively impact the majority of occupational beings. At present, these and other related issues have yet to be addressed in the literature. The intent of this critical analysis is to explore the ethical implications of either supporting or abstaining from the study of enhancing occupational potential. This analysis will argue and demonstrate that occupational science literature creates an opening for consideration of this new concept, and that there is strong evidence to suggest an obligation to do so. In sum, this analysis reveals an opportunity for the discipline of occupational science to articulate an ethically justifiable position for exploring better than well approaches in their study of occupational potential.