The non-identity problem and genetic Harms – the case of wrongful handicaps

Bioethics 9 (3):269–275 (1995)
The Human Genome Project will produce information permitting increasing opportunities to prevent genetically transmitted harms, most of which will be compatible with a life worth living, through avoiding conception or terminating a pregnancy. Failure to prevent these harms when it is possible for parents to do so without substantial burdens or costs to themselves or others are what J call “wrongful handicaps”. Derek Parfit has developed a systematic difficulty for any such cases being wrongs — when the harm could be prevented only by preventing the existence of the individual who would have a worthwhile life even with the handicap, then bringing him into existence with the handicap does not make him worse off and so does not wrong him. I argue that a non “person‐affecting” principle requiring the avoidance of suffering and limited opportunity correctly accounts for cases of wrongful handicaps without requiring that the individuals with the handicap have been made worse off and therefore wronged. It is an advantage, not a difficulty, of this account that it does not imply that the person with the handicap has been wronged or is a victim with a special moral complaint
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.1995.tb00361.x
 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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,195
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Non-Identity Problem.James Woodward - 1986 - Ethics 96 (4):804-831.
Comments.Derek Parfit - 1986 - Ethics 96 (4):832-872.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Conscientious Objection and Emergency Contraception.Robert F. Card - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (6):8 – 14.
Gender Eugenics? The Ethics of PGD for Intersex Conditions.Robert Sparrow - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics 13 (10):29 - 38.
Identifying and Dissolving the Non-Identity Problem.Rivka Weinberg - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):3-18.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Understanding Risks and Benefits in Research on Reproductive Genetic Technologies.Janet Malek - 2007 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (4):339 – 358.
Genetic Enhancement and Parental Obligation.Larry A. Herzberg - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):98-111.
Harming as Causing Harm.Elizabeth Harman - 2009 - In M. A. Roberts & D. T. Wasserman (eds.), Harming Future Persons. Springer Verlag. pp. 137--154.
Group Risks, Risks to Groups, and Group Engagement in Genetics Research.Daniel M. Hausman - 2007 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 17 (4):351-369.
Wrongful Life, Wrongful Disability, and the Argument Against Cloning.David K. Chan - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):257-272.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

151 ( #30,809 of 2,163,980 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #44,261 of 2,163,980 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums