Why Procreative Preferences May be Moral – And Why it May not Matter if They Aren't

Bioethics 29 (7):499-506 (2015)
Authors
Ben Saunders
University of Southampton
Abstract
There has been much argument over whether procreative selection is obligatory or wrong. Rebecca Bennett has recently challenged the assumption that procreative choices are properly moral choices, arguing that these views express mere preferences. This article challenges Bennett's view on two fronts. First, I argue that the Non-Identity Problem does not show that there cannot be harmless wrongs – though this would require us to abandon the intuitively attractive ‘person-affecting principle’, that may be a lesser cost than abandoning some more firmly-held intuition. But, even if we accept Bennett's claim that these choices are not moral, that does not show them to be mere personal preferences. I argue that there is a class of non-moral ‘categorical preferences’ that have much the same implications as moral preferences. If a moral preference for able-bodied children is problematic, then so is a non-moral categorical preference. Thus, showing that these preferences are not moral does not show that they are not problematic, since they may still be categorical
Keywords procreative beneficence  person‐affecting principle  Julian Savulescu  non‐identity problem  Rebecca Bennett
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DOI 10.1111/bioe.12147
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