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The Ethics of Human EnhancementUnderstanding the Debate$
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Steve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, Tony Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.001.0001

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MacIntyre’s Paradox

MacIntyre’s Paradox

Chapter:
(p.160) 11 MacIntyre’s Paradox
Source:
The Ethics of Human Enhancement
Author(s):

Bernadette Tobin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.003.0011

Nearly 40 years ago Alastair MacIntyre was asked whether, if it turned out that we were able to design our descendants, we should do so. Since we would first have to identify the qualities we would want our descendants to have, he set out what he called a ‘new table’ of virtues. He then argued that, were we to be successful, our descendants would not be grateful for what we had done to them, and that, if so, we should not even embark on the designing project. This chapter sets out and considers the main features of MacIntyre’s argument with a view to clarifying the nature of his ethical objection to the project and assessing its pertinence.

Keywords:   design, descendants, virtue, ethical objection, Alastair MacIntyre

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