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Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing$
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Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190940362

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190940362.001.0001

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Parental Responsibility and Gene Editing

Parental Responsibility and Gene Editing

Chapter:
(p.126) 9 Parental Responsibility and Gene Editing
Source:
Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing
Author(s):

Nicole A Vincent

Emma A. Jane

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190940362.003.0010

Once genetic screening and intervention technologies become safe, effective, and inexpensive, should parents use them to safeguard their children’s happiness, and would parents who do not use them be reckless and irresponsible? This line of thinking is troubling for many reasons, but in particular because it overlooks that social pressure, not a sense of responsibility, is what will most likely lead parents to use such technologies. This matters because unless more attention is paid to how people’s choices are affected by group dynamics, then over time nobody may even notice when such technologies start being used in troubling ways. To address this concern, the chapter argues that social institutions are needed that enable society as a whole to reflect on its own evolution over time. Until such institutions are created—to oversee, to evaluate, and to control social factors that influence people’s choices—it makes little sense to debate parental responsibilities.

Keywords:   gene editing, responsibility, parenting, social pressure, ethics of technologies, philosophy of technology, happiness, flourishing

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