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Analysing our qualms about "designing" future persons: Autonomy, freedom of choice, and interfering with nature
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Health and Society.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3071-9609
2007 (English)In: Medicine, Health care and Philosophy, ISSN 1386-7423, Vol. 10, no 4, 407-416 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Actually possible and conceivable future uses of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and germ-line genetic intervention in assisted reproduction seem to offer increasing possibilities of choosing the kind of persons that will be brought to existence. Many are troubled by the idea of these technologies being used for enhancement purposes. How can we make sense of this worry? Why are our thoughts about therapeutic genetic interventions and non-genetic enhancement (for instance education) not accompanied by the same intuitive uneasiness? I argue that the concepts of autonomy and freedom of choice, typically invoked to delimit the morally acceptable uses of reproductive technologies, cannot fully answer these questions. Instead, I suggest that an alternative answer might begin with reflections on the notion of interfering with nature. Drawing on Martin Heidegger's critique of modern technology and Hans Jonas's moral philosophy, I outline an argument that attempts to capture what might be particularly troubling about the idea of "designing" future persons. At the core of the argument is the suggestion that enhancing selections and modifications on embryos might be bound up with an instrumentalising, non-responsive perspective on the future persons into which they are intended to grow. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 10, no 4, 407-416 p.
Keyword [en]
Autonomy, Freedom of choice, Genetic enhancement, Habermas, Heidegger, Instrumentalisation, Jonas, Nature, Reproductive technology, Theright to an open future
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-47499DOI: 10.1007/s11019-007-9052-8OAI: diva2:268395
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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