The Ethics of Genetic Intervention in Human Embryos: Assessing Jürgen Habermas's Approach

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):79-95 (2016)
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Abstract
In the near future we may be able to manipulate human embryos through genetic intervention. Jürgen Habermas has argued against the development of technologies which could make such intervention possible. His argument has received widespread criticism among bioethicists. These critics argue that Habermas's argument relies on implausible assumptions about human nature. Moreover, they challenge Habermas's claim that genetic intervention adds something new to intergenerational relationships pointing out that parents have already strong control over their children through education. In this paper a new approach to Habermas's theory is suggested which makes clear that he has a strong point against genetic intervention. A more charitable reading of Habermas with respect to his assumptions concerning human nature is presented. Moreover, Habermas's assumption concerning the power of genetic controlling is evaluated. By means of a close comparison of genetic and educational control it is shown that Habermas's argument relies on much weaker assumptions than generally understood.
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Archival date: 2022-08-07
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