Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (1):95-113 (2014)

Authors
Nicolae Morar
University of Oregon
Abstract
In a near-future world of bionics and biotechnology, the main ethical and political issue will be the definition of who we are. Could biomedical enhancements transform us to such an extent that we would be other than human? Habermas argues that any genetic enhancement intervention that could potentially alter ‘human nature’ should be morally prohibited since it alters the child’s nature or the very essence that makes the child who he is. This practice also commits the child to a specific life project or, in any case, it puts specific restrictions on his freedom to choose a life of his own. Ultimately, genetic enhancement jeopardizes the very foundations of moral equality. I contend that Habermas’ argument is based either on a series of presuppositions that imply a gross misunderstanding of evolution or the relevant factual information cocerning the action we are about to morally assess is not empirically supported. Hence, the argument from human nature is based on a series of false or problematic assumptions, and, as such, it fails to play the normative role intended by Habermas
Keywords Genetic enhancement  Human nature  Kind essentialism  Genetic determinism
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Reprint years 2015
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-013-9509-5
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action.David M. Rasmussen - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (173):571.
The Blank Slate. The Modern Denial of Human Nature.Steven Pinker - 2004 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 66 (4):765-767.
The Future of Human Nature.Jurgen Habermas - 2004 - Philosophy 79 (309):483-486.

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