Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics
Some have recently argued that parents are morally obligated, under certain circumstances, to use pre-natal genetic intervention as a means of enhancement. Despite aiming to benefit the child, such intervention may produce serious and irreparable harm. In these cases, parents seem to have an obligation not to intervene, as such efforts make the child worse off. Julian Savulesu has argued that while harm raises doubts about the acceptability of genetic enhancement, genetic selection remains an obligation. This claim, however, rests on an indefensible privileging of personal over impersonal harm. I propose instead that we reframe the debate as stemming from fundamentally different views about parental obligation. The objection from harm rests on an objectivist conception, according to which obligation is determined by all relevant facts, including unpredictable harm. Proponents of genetic enhancement, however, operate within subjectivist assumptions about obligation, according to which moral requirements are determined by reasons that are epistemically accessible to the relevant agents. I will argue here that because subjectivism offers a more reasonable conception of parental obligation, such unforeseeable harm does not remove a parent’s obligation to enhance.
Author Supplied Keywords
Genetic enhancement, Genetic selection, Subjectivism, Harm, Procreative beneficence
Ethical problems; Genetic Enhancement--ethics
Citation: Pilot Scholars Version (Modified MLA Style)
Rothenfluch, Sruthi, "A Subjectivist Solution to the Problem of Harm in Genetic Enhancement" (2016). Philosophy Faculty Publications and Presentations. 5.