Eugenic Decision-Making

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Eugenics is defined, in some way or the other, as the process of reshaping the human race by determining the kinds of people who will be born. As such, there is much debate in the field of eugenics, with authors, like Philip Kitcher, who support laissez-faire or a minimalist approach of eugenics in which eugenic decision-making should be limited only to avoid neurological illnesses and in which parental free choice is valued. Gregory Stock’s essay, The Enhanced and Un-Enhanced, presents otherwise by supporting the position of maximalist eugenics, allowing individuals the full extent in the selection of genes. On the other hand, the film, Gattaca, raises major ethical problems by illustrating a dystopian society resulted by extensive eugenic decision-making. While both opposing views presents reasonable and valid arguments, the critique of eugenics will be well-debated in the foreseeable future, and as we will examine, drawing a discrete line between these two positions is no simple task.

In the book, The Lives to Come, Philip Kitcher presents his view of laissez-faire eugenics in which eugenic decisions should be made primarily by a minimal regulated market of individuals without any government coercion. In defending his position of minimalist and responsible eugenic decisions, Kitcher wants to avoid the dangers that accompany with a laissez-faire or parental free choice eugenic approach. One problem involves a systematic prejudice of society due to a lack of government regulation. Laissez-faire eugenics calls for total reproductive freedom in which parents are able to make decisions concerning what traits they want their children to have according to personal preferences (1, Kitcher, p.197). Their values can be bias in which t...

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... the privileged and the under-privileged. This would inevitably open a channel to discrimination and violation of basic human-rights' class='brand-secondary'>human rights, as presented by the dangers of laissez-faire eugenics that Kitcher wants to avoid. A minimalist approach accompanied by Kitcher’s view of a responsible and utopian eugenic decision-making will be the most effective way to prevent such dangers by providing equal opportunity for all individuals to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Society needs to come to an overall understanding that striving for a utopian world without any ethical or moral guidelines will only bring about consequences such as discrimination or a violation of individual freedom. However, with responsible eugenic decision-making, society is better able to address these issues and dangers in a future that is characterized by an expansion of science and technology.

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