Parental Duties and Virtues
This chapter considers arguments that criticise selective reproduction by suggesting that it is incompatible with certain parental duties and virtues. It starts by looking at the idea that parents ought unconditionally to love their children and at the (related) virtue of parental acceptance. During this discussion, the claim that children should be regarded as gifts is also examined. The chapter then evaluates and rejects Putnam's ‘diversity argument’ against selection, before finally looking in some detail at the claim that children have a ‘right to an open future’, and at some wider questions about promoting and respecting autonomy. The chapter's ultimate conclusion is that arguments (against selective reproduction) based on parental duties and virtues are weak. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that prospective parents are, in important respects, in a morally different position from actual ones.
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