David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 37 (1):65 – 84 (1994)
Like every major new technology, genetic engineering is affecting the hopes and fears of many people. The risks involved are perceived differently by different groups. One group regards genetic engineering as a simple extension of older techniques with no special risks, e.g. traditional breeding. This conservative denial of special risks is confronted with a different kind of conservatism from a group which, in the name of the preservation of nature, opposes any kind of genetic engineering. A third group, rooted in the liberal tradition, is prepared to accept the risks of genetic engineering as long as they are outweighed by prospective benefits. The liberal as well as the two conservative approaches, however, face serious difficulties in trying to develop a sound ethical argument concerning genetic engineering. In order to avoid these difficulties, an ethical approach focused on paradigmatic examples of good and evil is proposed. Such examples constitute rules of moral description, much as standards of measurement constitute rules of physical description. These rules are elaborated and interpreted in processes of social learning. In the present state of development of genetic engineering, such social learning requires appropriate institutional procedures.
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1971/2005). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
Alasdair MacIntyre (1988). Whose Justice? Which Rationality? University of Notre Dame Press.
Jonathan Glover (forthcoming). What Sort of People Should There Be? Philosophical Explorations.
Kristin Shrader-Frechette (1991). Risk and Rationality. University of California Press.
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