Hastings Center Report 41 (1):32-42 (2011)

Robert Sparrow
Monash University
In Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People (2007), John Harris argues that a proper concern for the welfare of future human beings implies that we are morally obligated to pursue enhancements. Similarly, in “Procreative Beneficience: Why We Should Select The Best Children” (2001) and in a number of subsequent publications, Julian Savulescu has suggested that we are morally obligated to use genetic (and other) technologies to produce the best children possible. In this paper I argue that if we do have such obligations then their implications are much more radical than either Harris or Savulescu admit. There is an uneasy tension in the work of these authors, between their consequentialism and their (apparent) libertarianism when it comes to the rights of individuals to use—or not use—enhancement technologies as they see fit. Only through a very particular and not especially plausible negotiation of the tension between their moral theory and their policy prescriptions can Harris and Savulescu obscure the fact that their philosophies have implications that most people would find profoundly unattractive.
Keywords Human enhancement  Genetic testing  Eugenics  Savulescu  Harris
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DOI 10.1002/j.1552-146X.2011.tb00098.x
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Human Nature and Enhancement.Allen Buchanan - 2009 - Bioethics 23 (3):141-150.
Wrongful Life and the Counterfactual Element in Harming.Joel Feinberg - 1986 - Social Philosophy and Policy 4 (1):145.
Better Than Men?: Sex and the Therapy/Enhancement Distinction.Robert Sparrow - 2010 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 20 (2):pp. 115-144.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Defense of the Rights of Artificial Intelligences.Eric Schwitzgebel & Mara Garza - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):98-119.
Imposing Genetic Diversity.Robert Sparrow - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics 15 (6):2-10.
The Ethics of Human Enhancement.Alberto Giubilini & Sagar Sanyal - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (4):233-243.

View all 31 citations / Add more citations

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