Gene Editing, the Mystic Threat to Human Dignity

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 16 (2):249-257 (2019)
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Many arguments have been made against gene editing. This paper addresses the commonly invoked argument that gene editing violates human dignity and is ultimately a subversion of human nature. There are several drawbacks to this argument. Above all, the concept of what human dignity means is unclear. It is not possible to condemn a practice that violates human dignity if we do not know exactly what is being violated. The argument’s entire reasoning is thus undermined. Analyses of the arguments involved in this discussion have often led to the conclusion that gene editing contravenes the principle of genetic identity (genetic immutability) thereby subverting a requisite of human dignity and ultimately threatening human nature. This paper refutes these arguments and shows that any opposition to gene editing cannot rely on the human dignity argument.

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Author's Profile

Vera Lúcia Raposo
University of Coimbra

References found in this work

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - In Mary J. Gregor (ed.), Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.
Dignity, Rank, and Rights.Jeremy Waldron - 2012 - New York, US: Oup Usa.
The child's right to an open future.Joel Feinberg - 2006 - In Randall R. Curren (ed.), Philosophy of Education: An Anthology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Human dignity in bioethics and biolaw.Deryck Beyleveld - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Roger Brownsword.

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