About this topic
Summary This section is on the hypothetical genetic modification of human individuals through genetic engineering and the actual modification of the gene pool through (eugenic or disgenic) genetic selection. The ethics of gene-therapy and genetic selection is especially complex. One issue is whether germ-line (inheritable) genetic modification is more problematic than somatic (non inheritable) gene-therapy, even when comparably safe. Another issue is whether society ought to permit eugenic or disgenic goals to be achieved by genetic selection in the context of advanced reproductive technologies; this relates to (A) what defines a genetic modification or selection as "eugenic" or "disgenic", for instance, is selecting for deafness an instance of "disgenic" selection? (B) Whether eugenic goals are impermissible, permissible or even mandatory, and (C) whether genetic tests are a reliable basis of the achievement of eugenic goals. Another topic of discussions relates to whether there are important moral differences between (I) avoiding the most serious diseases and disabilities, (II) boosting protection from normal harmful circumstances, such as pathogens or pollutants (III) promoting conditions within and above normal human health, that are positively desirable or comparatively advantageous. 
Key works Harris 1992 argues that it is mandatory to modify disabilities through gene-therapy, including many traits that are considered normal or non pathological. Savulescu 2001 argues that parents have a moral obligation to select the best children in the context of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) based on available genetic information. Agar 2008 endorses the liberal version of eugenics, since, unlike early twentieth century eugenics, it is compatible with a pluralism of different conceptions about human flourishing. Against such or similar views,  Habermas 2003 defends a principled distinction between gene-therapy to cure disease and genetic manipulation allowing parents to select the traits of future children. The latter is seen as incompatible with egalitarian relationships between human beings and their freedom of choice. Taking an intermediate position, Buchanan et al 2001 defend a Rawlsian approach to genetic justice, inspired by Buchanan's idea of a genetic decent minimum (Buchanan 1995) and Daniels' normal functioning approach to health care (Daniels 1985). They hold that society has the duty, as a matter of justice, to use gene therapy to correct disease, subject to reasonable resource constrains. In addition to this, in a future society in which genetic enhancements are widespread, normal functioning may require enhanced human capacities. They also attempts to reject the "social model of disability", in an extreme form, while recognising that the classification of X as a disability is, today and in a genetically modified future, society-relative (Silvers 2001).
Introductions Brock 2003 Chadwick 2011 Glover 2008
Related categories

382 found
1 — 50 / 382
  1. Biomedizinische Eingriffe Am Menschenbiomedical Intervention in Humans. A Stage Model for the Ethical Assessment of Gene and Cell Therapy: Ein Stufenmodell Zur Ethischen Bewertung von Gen- Und Zelltherapie.[author unknown] - 2009 - Walter de Gruyter.
  2. Review of The Case Against Perfection. [REVIEW]Keith Abney - 2008 - Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 2 (3).
    Sandel's book argues against genetic enhancement as an illegitimate expression of a drive to human mastery and a rejection of the proper appreciation of the gift of life. His view combines bad theology with bad virtue ethics, and exemplifies the problem of status quo bias in ethics.
  3. Editing the Genome of the Human Germline: May Cool Heads Prevail.Eli Y. Adashi & I. Glenn Cohen - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics 15 (12):40-42.
  4. There Is a Legitimate Place for Human Genetic Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2013 - In Arthur L. Caplan & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Bioethics. Wiley. pp. 25--343.
  5. Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement.Nicholas Agar - 2008 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    In this provocative book, philosopher Nicholas Agar defends the idea that parents should be allowed to enhance their children’s characteristics. Gets away from fears of a Huxleyan ‘Brave New World’ or a return to the fascist eugenics of the past Written from a philosophically and scientifically informed point of view Considers real contemporary cases of parents choosing what kind of child to have Uses ‘moral images’ as a way to get readers with no background in philosophy to think about moral (...)
  6. The Problem with Nature.Nicholas Agar - 2002 - Hastings Center Report 32 (6):39-40.
  7. Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Bioethics 9 (1):1–15.
    My focus in this paper is the question of the moral acceptability of attempts to modify the human genome. Much of the debate in this area has revolved around the distinction between supposedly therapeutic modification on the one hand, and eugenic modification on the other. In the first part of the paper I reject some recent arguments against genetic engineering. In the second part I seek to distinguish between permissible and impermissible forms of intervention in such a way that does (...)
  8. Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome1.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Bioethics 9 (1):1-15.
    My focus in this paper is the question of the moral acceptability of attempts to modify the human genome. Much of the debate in this area has revolved around the distinction between supposedly therapeutic modification on the one hand, and eugenic modification on the other. In the first part of the paper I reject some recent arguments against genetic engineering. In the second part I seek to distinguish between permissible and impermissible forms of intervention in such a way that does (...)
  9. Germ-Line Genetic Enhancements and Rawlsian Primary Goods.Fritz Allhoff - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (9999):217-230.
    Genetic interventions raise a host of moral issues and, of its various species, germ-line genetic enhancement is the most morally contentious. This paper surveys various arguments against germ-line enhancement and attempts to demonstrate their inadequacies. A positive argument is advanced in favor of certain forms of germ-line enhancements, which holds that they are morally permissible if and only if they augment Rawlsian primary goods, either directly or by facilitating their acquisition.
  10. Germ-Line Genetic Enhancement and Rawlsian Primary Goods.Fritz Allhoff - 2005 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 15 (1):39-56.
    : Genetic interventions raise a host of moral issues and, of its various species, germ-line genetic enhancement is the most morally contentious. This paper surveys various arguments against germ-line enhancement and attempts to demonstrate their inadequacies. A positive argument is advanced in favor of certain forms of germ-line enhancements, which holds that they are morally permissible if and only if they augment Rawlsian primary goods, either directly or by facilitating their acquisition.
  11. The Double-Edged Helix Social Implications of Genetics in a Diverse Society.Joseph S. Alper - 2002
  12. Ethical Preparedness and Performance of Gene Therapy Study Co-Ordinators.Gwen Anderson - 2008 - Nursing Ethics 15 (2):208-221.
    Little is known about study co-ordinators of gene therapy clinical trials. The purposes of this study were to: (1) describe characteristics of co-ordinators of gene therapy (transfer) clinical trials; (2) assess differences between nurse and non-nurse study co-ordinators; and (3) identify factors indicative of study co-ordinators' role preparation that could affect their role performance. This exploratory correlational study employed a convenience sample of 118 co-ordinators in the USA (55 participants; 47% response rate). The researcher created the Study Coordinator Role Preparedness (...)
  13. Human Gene Therapy: Scientific Considerations'.W. F. Anderson - forthcoming - Beauchamp, T. And Walters, L.: Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, Belmont, California: Wadsworth.
  14. Human Gene Therapy: Why Draw a Line?W. French Anderson - 1989 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (6):681-693.
    Despite widespread agreement that it would be ethical to use somatic cell gene therapy to correct serious diseases, there is still uneasiness on the part of the public about this procedure. The basis for this concern lies less with the procedure's clinical risks than with fear that genetic engineering could lead to changes in human nature. Legitimate concerns about the potential for misuse of gene transfer technology justify drawing a moral line that includes corrective germline therapy but excludes enhancement interventions (...)
  15. Human Gene Therapy: Scientific and Ethical Considerations.W. French Anderson - 1985 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 10 (3):275-292.
    types of application of genetic engineering for the insertion of genes into humans. The scientific requirements and the ethical issues associated with each type are discussed. Somatic cell gene therapy is technically the simplest and ethically the least controversial. The first clinical trials will probably be undertaken within the next year. Germ line gene therapy will require major advances in our present knowledge and it raises ethical issues that are now being debated. In order to provide guidelines for determining when (...)
  16. Defending Eugenics.Jonny Anomaly - 2018 - Monash Bioethics Review 35:24-35.
  17. Book Review: Playing God: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate by John H. Evans. [REVIEW]E. M. Armstrong - 2002 - Princeton Journal of Bioethics 5:105-110.
  18. Is Moral Theory Perplexed by New Genetic Technology?Richard Arneson - manuscript
    Richard J. Arneson From Choice to Chance: Genes and the Just Society1 intelligently addresses difficult issues at the intersection of medical ethics and the theory of justice. The authors, Dan Brock, Allen Buchanan, Norman Daniels, and Daniel Wikler, repeatedly emphasize their opinion that advances in genetic technology force upon us entirely new ethical questions which previous moral theories lack the resources to resolve.2 The claims that new scientific discoveries render previous moral theories obsolete should be regarded with suspicion. The reader’s (...)
  19. Our Genetic Future the Science and Ethics of Genetic Technology.British Medical Association - 1992
  20. Human Enhancement: A New Issue in Philosophical Agenda.Marco Azevedo - 2013 - Princípios. Revista de Filosofía 20 (33):265-303.
    Since before we can remember, humanity aims to overcome its biological limitations; such a goal has certainly played a key role in the advent of technique. However, despite the benefits that technique may bring, the people who make use of it will inevitably be under risk of harm. Even though human technical wisdom consists in attaining the best result without compromising anybody’s safety, misuses are always a possibility in the horizon. Nowadays, technology can be used for more than just improving (...)
  21. Responses and Dialogue: Response to “Germ-Line Therapy to Cure Mitochondrial Disease: Protocol and Ethics of In Vitro Ovum Nuclear Transplantation” by Donald S. Rubenstein, David C. Thomasma, Eric A. Schon, and Michael J. Zinaman. [REVIEW]Matthew D. Bacchetta & Gerd Richter - 1996 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 5 (3):450.
  22. Genetic Prospects: Essays on Biotechnology, Ethics, and Public Policy.Harold W. Baillie, William A. Galston, Sara Goering, Deborah Hellman, Mark Sagoff, Paul B. Thompson, Robert Wachbroit, David T. Wasserman & Richard M. Zaner - 2003 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    The essays in this volume apply philosophical analysis to address three kinds of questions: What are the implications of genetic science for our understanding of nature? What might it influence in our conception of human nature? What challenges does genetic science pose for specific issues of private conduct or public policy?
  23. On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. [REVIEW]Robert Baker - 2002 - American Journal of Bioethics 2 (2):65-69.
    (2002). On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 65-69.
  24. Egalitarianism and Responsibility in the Genetic Future.Linda Barclay - 2009 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (2):119-134.
    Recent discussions of genetic enhancement have argued that unregulated access to genetic enhancement technology will have a mainly negative impact on equality, a development that an egalitarian approach to distributive justice should be concerned with and seek to address. I argue that the extent to which egalitarians should be concerned about unequal access to genetic enhancement therapies has been overplayed. Many of the genetic differences that exist between people, including those that arise from differential access to genetic enhancement technology, are (...)
  25. Genetic Engineering and Autonomous Agency.Linda Barclay - 2003 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (3):223–236.
  26. Science and Values.Matthew J. Barker - 2015 - Eugenics Archive.
  27. The Ethics of Human Genetic Enhancement: Extending the Public Policy Debate.John Jacob Baumann - 1999 - Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Mammalian one-cell embryos can be genetically altered, implanted into the female's uterus, and subsequently develop into biologically mature organisms in the usual manner. If the resultant adult organisms reproduce, the genetic change may be passed on to future generations. In humans, the procedure is known alternatively as "human genetic engineering" or "human germline gene therapy." Bioethicists distinguish between genetic engineering intended for the prevention or treatment of disease and genetic engineering intended for non-medical enhancement of certain characteristics . Human genetic (...)
  28. The Inevitability of Genetic Enhancement Technologies.Francoise Baylis & Jason Scott Robert - 2004 - Bioethics 18 (1):1–26.
    We outline a number of ethical objections to genetic technologies aimed at enhancing human capacities and traits. We then argue that, despite the persuasiveness of some of these objections, they are insufficient to stop the development and use of genetic enhancement technologies. We contend that the inevitability of the technologies results from a particular guiding worldview of humans as masters of the human evolutionary future, and conclude that recognising this worldview points to new directions for ethical thinking about genetic enhancement (...)
  29. Genetic Disorders and the Ethical Status of Germ-Line Gene Therapy.E. M. Berger & B. M. Gert - 1991 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (6):667-683.
    Recombinant DNA technology will soon allow physicians an opportunity to carry out both somatic cell- and Germ-Line gene therapy. While somatic cell gene therapy raises no new ethical problems, gene therapy of gametes, fertilized eggs or early embryos does raise several novel concerns. The first issue discussed here relates to making a distinction between negative and positive eugenics; the second issue deals with the evolutionary consequences of lost genetic diversity. In distinguishing between positive and negative eugenics, the concept of malady (...)
  30. The Ethical Status of Germ-Line Therapy.Edward M. Berger & Bernard M. Gert - 1991 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16:676-679.
  31. From Involuntary Sterilization to Genetic Enhancement: The Unsettled Legacy of Buck V. Bell.Roberta Berry - 1998 - Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy 12 (2):401-448.
  32. The Ethics of Genetic Engineering.Roberta M. Berry - 2007 - Routledge.
    Human genetic engineering may soon be possible. The gathering debate about this prospect already threatens to become mired in irresolvable disagreement. After surveying the scientific and technological developments that have brought us to this pass, _The Ethics of Genetic Engineering_ focuses on the ethical and policy debate, noting the deep divide that separates proponents and opponents. The book locates the source of this divide in differing framing assumptions: reductionist pluralist on one side, holist communitarian on the other. The book argues (...)
  33. Re-Creating Adam: A Philosophical Investigation of the Genetic Engineering of Human Beings.Roberta Marie Berry - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    It now seems possible, if not likely, that germ-line genetic engineering of human beings will become technologically possible at some time in the twenty-first century, raising a host of ethical and policy questions. This dissertation examines in some detail the capacity of each of three prominent approaches to philosophical ethics---utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics---to provide guidance in individual ethical decision making and policymaking regarding genetic engineering. The author concludes that utilitarianism fails in its own project to vindicate universal benevolence and (...)
  34. Reproductive Cloning, Genetic Engineering and the Autonomy of the Child: The Moral Agent and the Open Future.Michael Blome-Tillman - manuscript
  35. Enhancement and Equality.Greg Bognar - 2012 - Ethical Perspectives 19 (1):11-32.
    Opponents of genetic enhancement technologies often argue that the pursuit of these technologies will lead to self-defeating collective outcomes, massive social inequalities, or other forms of collective harm. They assume that these harms will outweigh individual benefits. Defenders of genetic enhancement technologies counter that individual benefits will outweigh collective harms and there will be no conflict between individual and collective interests. The present contribution tries to advance the debate by providing a more detailed discussion of the conditions under which individual (...)
  36. Shaping Our Future: The Implications of Genetic Enhancement.Jason Borenstein - 2010 - Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 13 (2):4-15.
  37. Human Enhancement Ethics: The State of the Debate.Nick Bostrom & Julian Savulescu - 2009 - In . Oxford University Press. pp. 1--22.
  38. Enhancing Evolution and "Enhancing Evolution".Iain Brassington - 2010 - Bioethics 24 (8):395-402.
    It has been claimed in several places that the new genetic technologies allow humanity to achieve in a generation or two what might take natural selection hundreds of millennia in respect of the elimination of certain diseases and an increase in traits such as intelligence. More radically, it has been suggested that those same technologies could be used to instil characteristics that we might reasonably expect never to appear due to natural selection alone. John Harris, a proponent of this genomic (...)
  39. Ethics of Modifying the Mitochondrial Genome.A. L. Bredenoord, W. Dondorp, G. Pennings & G. De Wert - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (2):97-100.
    Recent preclinical studies have shown the feasibility of specific variants of nuclear transfer to prevent mitochondrial DNA disorders. Nuclear transfer could be a valuable reproductive option for carriers of mitochondrial mutations. A clinical application of nuclear transfer, however, would entail germ-line modification, more specifically a germ-line modification of the mitochondrial genome. One of the most prominent objections against germ-line modification is the fear that it would become possible to alter ‘essential characteristics’ of a future person, thereby possibly violating the child's (...)
  40. Germ Line Genetic Engineering: An Analysis of Principled Argumentation in Light of a Critical Theology of the Body.John F. Brehany - 2003 - Dissertation, Saint Louis University
    This dissertation evaluates the ethical challenges posed by the prospect of human germ line gene transfer . It argues that GLGT presents a new, unprecedented and complex ethical challenge. While GLGT has not yet been attempted with human beings, it has the potential not only to introduce changes into human nature that are radical and different, but also to substantially affect attitudes about human dignity and human rights. This dissertation focuses on the principled ethical arguments and the frameworks, both rational (...)
  41. Genetic Engineering.Dan Brock - 2003 - In R. G. Frey & C. H. Wellman (eds.), A Companion to Applied Ethics. Blackwell.
  42. Commentary On: The Person, the Soul and Genetic Engineering.J. H. Brooke - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (6):597-600.
    The far reaching effects of the genetic revolution on our lives as a whole make it difficult to separate the secular and sacred issues involvedIn accepting this opportunity to comment on Dr Polkinghorne’s Templeton Prize lecture, I recognise that there is a significant division between those who would see religious beliefs as irrelevant in the ethical debates concerning new biotechnologies and those who, with Dr Polkinghorne, are willing to look to the major faith traditions for insight into the nature of (...)
  43. Moral and Ethical Issues in Gene Therapy.Donald M. Bruce - 2005 - Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 12 (1):16-23.
  44. The Idea of a Germ.Deborah C. Brunton - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (2):367-373.
  45. Moral Status and Human Enhancement.Allen Buchanan - 2009 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):346-381.
  46. Enhancement and the Ethics of Development.Allen Buchanan - 2008 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (1):pp. 1-34.
    Much of the debate about the ethics of enhancement has proceeded according to two framing assumptions. The first is that although enhancement carries large social risks, the chief benefits of enhancement are to those who are enhanced (or their parents, in the case of enhancing the traits of children). The second is that, because we now understand the wrongs of state-driven eugenics, enhancements, at least in liberal societies, will be personal goods, chosen or not chosen in a market for enhancement (...)
  47. Choosing Who Will Be Disabled: Genetic Intervention and the Morality of Inclusion.Allen Buchanan - 1996 - Social Philosophy and Policy 13 (2):18.
    The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Walter Gilbert described the mapping and sequencing of the human genome as “the grail of molecular biology.” The implication, endorsed by enthusiasts for the new genetics, is that possessing a comprehensive knowledge of human genetics, like possessing the Holy Grail, will give us miraculous powers to heal the sick, and to reduce human suffering and disabilities. Indeed, the rhetoric invoked to garner public support for the Human Genome Project appears to appeal to the best of (...)
  48. Beyond Humanity?: The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement.Allen E. Buchanan - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    In Beyond Humanity a leading philosopher offers a powerful and controversial exploration of urgent ethical issues concerning human enhancement.
  49. Equal Opportunity and Genetic Intervention.Allen E. Buchanan - 1995 - Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (2):105 - 35.
    What does the prospect of being able to alter a human being's “natural assets” by genetic engineering imply for our understanding of the requirements of justice, and of equal opportunity in particular? Although their proponents are reluctant to admit it, some of the most prominent contemporary theories of justice yield a quite radical conclusion: If safe and effective intervention in the genetic “natural lottery” becomes feasible, there will be at least a strong prima facie case for doing so in the (...)
  50. From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice.Allen Buchanan, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels & Daniel Wikler - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book, written by four internationally renowned bioethicists and first published in 2000, was the first systematic treatment of the fundamental ethical issues underlying the application of genetic technologies to human beings. Probing the implications of the remarkable advances in genetics, the authors ask how should these affect our understanding of distributive justice, equality of opportunity, the rights and obligations as parents, the meaning of disability, and the role of the concept of human nature in ethical theory and practice. The (...)
1 — 50 / 382