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What do we owe our future children? How do advances in biomedical science bear on these obligations? How do capitalist incentives distort their execution? Advances in biotechnologies for human enhancement and designer babies appear to offer us new hope to control the fragility of human living. Some philosophers have argued that we have a moral imperative to use them, especially to eliminate disabilities. Elyse Purcell offers an opposing view, one guided by existential insights and Marxist reflections. Engineering Perfection: Solidarity, Disability, and Well-being explores the effect global capitalism may have on the selection of traits for our future children and how the commercialization of these technologies may lead to the elimination of bodily diversity. Although philosophers have addressed the possible widening between the haves and have-nots, this book considers the role oppression and exploitation may play in enhancing bodies for profit. As a challenge to the global economy of debility, Purcell proposes the Solidarity view, which embraces human vulnerability and embodied difference. By reflecting on facets of the human condition, the Solidarity view challenges us to reject our conception of the good life as human perfection, and instead reconceive of the good as one’s self-realization through the interdependent mutual recognition and co-belonging with others.
About the Author
Elyse Purcell is assistant professor of philosophy at the State University of New York College at Oneonta.