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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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Conservative and Critical Morality in Debate about Reproductive Technologies

Conservative and Critical Morality in Debate about Reproductive Technologies

Chapter:
(p.100) 7 Conservative and Critical Morality in Debate about Reproductive Technologies
Source:
The Ethics of Human Enhancement
Author(s):

John McMillan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.003.0007

Bioethical debate about contested topics such as human enhancement and the appropriate use of reproductive technologies can founder upon what can appear to be intractable disagreements over ultimate ends. There are those who will object to anything that changes the nature of important things, such as marriage or the nature of the family, and it is not always obvious how argument can proceed when there is a disagreement of that kind. This chapter shows how this methodological schism is a feature of the debate about assisted insemination in the 1950s and more recent debates about human enhancement. Then it considers the account of ‘value conservatism’ developed by Cohen and argues that it helps explain why some particular value institutions are of value, and also provides a way to argue about whether their value would be altered if we adopted the possibilities created by new technology.

Keywords:   enhancement, conservatism, assisted insemination, Cohen, value

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