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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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Human Enhancement for Whom?

Human Enhancement for Whom?

(p.127) 9 Human Enhancement for Whom?
The Ethics of Human Enhancement

Robert Sparrow

Oxford University Press

Whose interests matter when making decisions about what sort of children to have? This question is at the heart of the ethics of reproductive decision-making. If we wish to have a sensible debate about human enhancement, then we must first become clear about the question of ‘enhancement for whom?’ This chapter surveys and evaluates the claims of the three leading candidates whose interests might be thought to matter when it comes to shaping future persons: the parents, the child, and ‘the world’. It also discusses two candidates strongly associated with eugenics—the ‘race’ and ‘the species’—as well as one candidate that is more plausible, although still properly controversial—the nation. The chapter argues that the parents, child, and ‘world’ all have legitimate interests in reproductive decisions and that these interests may conflict. For this reason, it suggests, enhancement is more ethically problematic than proponents typically admit.

Keywords:   human enhancement, ethics, reproduction, children, eugenics

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