Troubling Intuitions

Anja J. Karnein

in A Theory of Unborn Life

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199782475
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933297 | DOI:
Troubling Intuitions

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This chapter explores the arguments of Jürgen Habermas with respect to challenges presented by modern reprogenetic technologies. In contrast to his liberal eugenic colleagues, Habermas rejects most uses of genetic selection and design in the name of liberal values such as freedom and equality. The central argument is that although he identifies the right dangers he relies too heavily on making judgments about the possible psychological effects of certain forms of genetic manipulation on all parties concerned. Instead, his argument should be (re)formulated as a straightforward normative objection to uses of genetic manipulation that fail to take seriously the separate importance of (future) persons. This chapter also critically discusses Habermas’s arguments about the danger of the new technologies undermining the anthropological foundations of morality.

Keywords: Habermas; liberal eugenics; autonomy; equality; anthropological foundations of morality; self; species-ethos; instrumentalization

Chapter.  8148 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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