The semantic field of the term improvement (in French, amélioration) is vast and ambiguous.
If the term enhancement is most frequently used in English to designate the practices we are dealing with in this series of workshops, one also finds the words improve, increase, or even more popular terms such as boost. The best French translation of the term « to enhance » is « rehausser », but other words may sometimes be more appropriate according to what is being enhanced (true in both French and English): appearance, beauty can be improved, enhanced (améliorer, rehausser); abilities can be increased, extended, improved, augmented (accroître, étendre, améliorer, augmenter); mood can be changed, altered, regulated (modifier, altérer, régulariser), etc. In controversies concerning the use of reproductive techniques and genetics, the term "perfection" is more frequently used (for example, in reference to the "perfect child"). This calls to mind Rousseau’s theme of the perfectibility of man that was so popular at the end of the 18th and the 19th century. The polysemy of the word improvement testifies to the inherent difficulties of the enhancement theme: one constantly switches from simple change to improvement, to enhancement and even to radical transformation.
Each of these words, as well as a few others (modification, alteration, evolution, development, mutation) merits an investigation of comparative usage and conceptual anchoring.