Symposium 24 (1):92-117 (2020)

Bioethicists criticize Jürgen Habermas’s argument against “liberal eugenics” for many reasons. This essay examines one particular critique, according to which Habermas misunderstands the implications of human evolution. In adopting Hannah Arendt’s concept of “natality,” Habermas seems to fear that genetically modified children will lose the contingency of their births, which would impair their capacity for political action; but according to evolutionary theory, bioethicists argue, this fear is unfounded. I explore this objection by entertaining the hypothesis that Habermas’s argument assumes Arendt’s interpretation of Darwinian evolution in addition to her conception of natality, and then I answer it by contrasting the conceptions of evolution held by Habermas, by Arendt, and by Habermas’s critics. Les bioéthiciens critiquent l’argument de Jürgen Habermas contre « l’eugénisme libéral » pour de nombreuses raisons. Cet essai examine une critique en particulier, selon laquelle Habermas comprend mal les implications de l’évolution humaine : en adoptant le concept de la « natalité » de Hannah Arendt, Habermas semble craindre que les enfants soumis à une modification génétique ne perdent la contingence propre à leur naissance, une perte qui diminuerait leur capacité pour l’action politique, mais selon la théorie de l’évolution, les bioéthiciens soutiennent que cette peur est sans fondement. J’explore cette objection à Habermas en considérant l’hypothèse que, en plus du concept de la natalité, Habermas suppose aussi l’interprétation arendtienne de l’évolution biologique de Darwin, et j’y répond en confrontant cette conception de l’évolution avec la conception propre à Habermas et avec celle des bioéthiciens qui lui ont répondu.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Continental Philosophy
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DOI 10.5840/symposium20202415
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