Genetic enhancement, post-persons and moral status: a reply to Buchanan

Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (3):135-139 (2012)
Responding to several leading ideas from a paper by Allen Buchanan, the present essay explores the implications of genetic enhancement for moral status. Contrary to doubts expressed by Buchanan, I argue that genetic enhancement could lead to the existence of beings so superior to contemporary human beings that we might aptly describe them as post-persons. If such post-persons emerged, how should we understand their moral status in relation to ours? The answer depends in part on which of two general models of moral status—one based on respect and one based on interests—is more adequate. Buchanan tentatively argues that a respect-based model is preferable. I challenge Buchanan's view, along these lines: If we embrace a respect-based model of moral status featuring a threshold that divides persons, who are thought to have full and equal moral status, from sentient nonpersons, thought to have less moral status, then we should acknowledge a second threshold and a level of moral status higher than ours. A better option, I tentatively suggest, is to drop the idea of levels of moral status, accept that all sentient beings have moral status, and allow that some differences in interests and capacities justify some significant differences in how we should treat beings of different kinds
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    David DeGrazia (2008). Moral Status as a Matter of Degree? Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):181-198.
    Allen Buchanan (2009). Moral Status and Human Enhancement. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):346-381.
    Larry A. Herzberg (2007). Genetic Enhancement and Parental Obligation. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):98-111.
    William Gardner (1995). Can Human Genetic Enhancement Be Prohibited? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (1):65-84.
    Maxwell J. Mehlman (2005). Genetic Enhancement: Plan Now to Act Later. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 15 (1):77-82.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    25 ( #58,719 of 1,088,907 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,735 of 1,088,907 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.