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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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A Natural Alliance against a Common Foe? Opponents of Enhancement and the Social Model of Disability

A Natural Alliance against a Common Foe? Opponents of Enhancement and the Social Model of Disability

Chapter:
(p.75) 5 A Natural Alliance against a Common Foe? Opponents of Enhancement and the Social Model of Disability
Source:
The Ethics of Human Enhancement
Author(s):

Linda Barclay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.003.0005

It may appear that there are grounds for an alliance between opponents of enhancement and disability advocates. People from both camps condemn parents who aspire to improve the physical and psychological traits their children would otherwise be born with, a condemnation often expressed as an accusation of eugenics. Despite these superficial appearances, the author will argue that disability advocates have nothing to applaud in Michael Sandel’s critique of enhancement, which is based on false and sometimes pernicious claims about the value of ‘normal’ human beings. However, they will also argue that disability advocates fail to provide convincing reasons for condemning parental decisions to avoid or eliminate certain traits their children would otherwise be born with. Contrary to what disability advocates and opponents of enhancement suggest, it is often a violation rather than an instantiation of parental virtue to abandon judgements about whether one’s children’s biological givens should be changed.

Keywords:   enhancement, Michael Sandel, ‘normal’ human beings, Social Model of Disability, disability advocates

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