Well-being, not just health is valuable. The main point of curing a disease is to improve the patient’s well-being so that the person may live and enjoy life on a more profound level. With this perspective, it is an ethical responsibility to improve well-being and not just correct health problems. Consider the following thought-experiment. Suppose humans, designing a society without knowledge of their personal roles in it, had two options: (1) any member upon entering society is assigned a potential for great well-being drawn from a normal distribution, or (2) every member is provided a high potential for great well-being. The later choice is clearly the better one, and refusing it would be unethical. Our own society will have to make this choice in the near future, with regard to decid...
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...ring, 6]. In this context, the veil of ignorance conceals from the parent the particular biases of society for certain traits that are otherwise not genuinely physically desirable. It is ethical to enhance the non-positional traits that remain through the veil, as long as the enhancement is available to everyone and there is no coercion or state-imposed plan to take away choice, because the individual benefits without negative effects on society.
Our guttural qualms may cloud our understanding about the ethical status of genetic enhancement. The technology is a tool which can be used ethically to promote well-being and provide everyone with greater opportunities. We must not be quick to condemn it. Its acceptance will require a shift in social norms, but not a shift the understanding of what it means to be an ethical human at its essence: rational and beneficent.
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