Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People

Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People

by John Harris
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691128448

ISBN-13: 9780691128443

Pub. Date: 08/13/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Decisive biotechnological interventions in the lottery of human life—to enhance our bodies and brains and perhaps irreversibly change our genetic makeup—have been widely rejected as unethical and undesirable, and have often met with extreme hostility. But in Enhancing Evolution, leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic

Overview

Decisive biotechnological interventions in the lottery of human life—to enhance our bodies and brains and perhaps irreversibly change our genetic makeup—have been widely rejected as unethical and undesirable, and have often met with extreme hostility. But in Enhancing Evolution, leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer babies, and cloning to make a forthright, sweeping, and rigorous ethical case for using biotechnology to improve human life.

Human enhancement, Harris argues, is a good thing—good morally, good for individuals, good as social policy, and good for a genetic heritage that needs serious improvement. Enhancing Evolution defends biotechnological interventions that could allow us to live longer, healthier, and even happier lives by, for example, providing us with immunity from cancer and HIV/AIDS. But the book advocates far more than therapies designed to free us from sickness and disability. Harris champions the possibility of influencing the very course of evolution to give us increased mental and physical powers—from reasoning, concentration, and memory to strength, stamina, and reaction speed. Indeed, he supports enhancing ourselves in almost any way we desire. And it's not only morally defensible to enhance ourselves, Harris says. In some cases, it's morally obligatory.

Whether one looks upon biotechnology with hope, fear, or a little of both, Enhancing Evolution makes a case for it that no one can ignore.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691128443
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/13/2007
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Steve Rayner ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Has Humankind a Future? 8

Chapter 2: Enhancement Is a Moral Duty 19

Chapter 3: What Enhancements Are and Why They Matter 36

Chapter 4: Immortality 59

Chapter 5: Reproductive Choice and the Democratic Presumption 72

Chapter 6: Disability and Super-Ability 86

Chapter 7: Perfection and the Blue Guitar 109

Chapter 8: Good and Bad Uses of Technology 123

Chapter 9: Designer Children 143

Chapter 10: The Irredeemable Paradox of the Embryo 160

Chapter 11: The Obligation to Pursue and Participate in Research 184

Notes 207

Bibliography 227

Index 239

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