Eugenic Thinking

Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (2018)
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Projects of human improvement take both individual and intergenerational forms. The biosciences provide many technologies, including prenatal screening and the latest gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR, that have been viewed as providing the means to human improvement across generations. But who is fit to furnish the next generation? Historically, eugenics epitomizes the science-based attempt to improve human society through distinguishing kinds of people and then implementing social policies—from immigration restriction to sexual sterilization and euthanasia—that influence and even direct what sorts of people populate our future. Despite recognition of the horrors of the eugenic extremes of the past and of the subhumanizing of those sufficiently below appearance or ability norms to be viewed as “defective” or “unfit”, many people continue to be drawn to strands of eugenic thinking.

Author's Profile

Robert A. Wilson
University of Western Australia


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