Do We Have an Obligation to Make Smarter Babies?

In T. Takala, P. Herrisone-Kelly & S. Holm (eds.), Cutting Through the Surface. Philosophical Approaches to Bioethics. Rodopi (2009)
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In this paper I consider some issues concerning cognitive enhancements and the ethics of enhancing in reproduction and parenting. I argue that there are moral reasons to enhance the cognitive capacities of the children one has, or of the children one is going to have, and that these enhancements should not be seen as an alternative to pursuing important changes in society that might also improve one’s own and one’s children’s life. It has been argued that an emphasis on enhancing cognitive capacities might encourage the commodification of children. But this objection seems misplaced. The reasons why one decides to reproduce can be subject to moral approbation or condemnation, as such rea-sons might be indicators of the quality of one’s parenting and the happiness of the future persons one is committed to bringing to life. However, once the decision to reproduce is made, no further harm comes from taking as few risks as possible on behalf of the persons to whom one is giving life with their health, character and cognitive capacities.
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