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Genetic Enhancement and Moral Attitudes Toward the Given

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Several authors, including Michael Sandel, distinguish between two different attitudes toward nature: mastery and giftedness. Giftedness is the superior attitude, Sandel argues, because it better accords with the values of humility, responsibility, and solidarity. And giftedness, in combination with these values, provides a rational basis for opposing the employment of genetic enhancement. Against this, I argue that talents and genetic endowment are more plausibly viewed as undeserved, that not everything undeserved is a gift, and that even if talents and endowment were gifts, this would not support a prohibition against pursuing genetic enhancement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Terrance McConnell, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA.

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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