David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Bioethics 22 (7):364-369 (2008)
The purpose of this paper is to review critically Julian Savulescu's principle of 'Procreative Beneficence,' which holds that prospective parents are morally obligated to select, of the possible children they could have, those with the greatest chance of leading the best life. According to this principle, prospective parents are obliged to use the technique of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select for the 'best' embryos, a decision that ought to be made based on the presence or absence of both disease traits and non-disease traits such as intelligence. While several articles have been written in response to Savulescu's principle, none has systematically explored its philosophical underpinnings to demonstrate where it breaks down. In this paper I argue that the examples that Savulescu employs to support his theory in fact fail to justify it. He presents these examples as analogous to PGD, when in fact they differ from it in subtle but morally relevant ways. Specifically, Savulescu fails to acknowledge the fact that his examples evoke deontological and virtue ethics concerns that are absent in the context of PGD. These differences turn out to be crucial, so that, in the end, the analogies bear little support for his theory. Finally, I lay out the implications of this analysis for reproductive ethics.
|Keywords||PGD Savulescu Principle of Procreative Beneficence|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
James Yeates (2012). Quality Time: Temporal and Other Aspects of Ethical Principles Based on a “Life Worth Living”. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (4):607-624.
Tom Buller & Stephanie Bauer (2011). Balancing Procreative Autonomy and Parental Responsibility. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 20 (2):268-276.
Similar books and articles
Guy Kahane (2009). Non-Identity, Self-Defeat, and Attitudes to Future Children. Philosophical Studies 145 (2):193 - 214.
Søren Holm (2004). Response to “The Creation Lottery” by Julian Savulescu and John Harris (CQ Vol 13, No 1): The Creation Lottery and Method in Bioethics: A Comment on Savulescu and Harris. [REVIEW] Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 13 (03):283-287.
Crystal K. Liu (2007). 'Saviour Siblings'? The Distinction Between PGD with HLA Tissue Typing and Preimplantation HLA Tissue Typing. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4 (1):65-70.
Peter Herissone-Kelly (2011). Wrongs, Preferences, and the Selection of Children: A Critique of Rebecca Bennett's Argument Against the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. Bioethics 26 (8):447-454.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín (2004). On Our Obligation to Select the Best Children: A Reply to Savulescu. Bioethics 18 (1):72–83.
Mark Munsterhjelm (2011). “Unfit for Life”: A Case Study of Protector-Protected Analogies in Recent Advocacy of Eugenics and Coercive Genetic Discrimination. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (2):177-189.
Julian Savulescu & Guy Kahane (2009). The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life. Bioethics 23 (5):274-290.
Julian Savulescu (2001). Procreative Beneficence: Why We Should Select the Best Children. Bioethics 15 (5-6):413-426.
Jakob Elster (2011). Procreative Beneficence – Cui Bono? Bioethics 25 (9):482-488.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads57 ( #22,860 of 1,089,063 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #69,801 of 1,089,063 )
How can I increase my downloads?