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The Moral Significance of the Therapy.docx

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University of Ottawa
Iva Apostolova

The Moral Significance of the Therapy – Enhancement Distinction in Human Genetics by Resnick  Resnick’s thesis: we should make a distinction between genetic therapy and genetic enhancement (the distinction doesn’t mark a firm moral boundary between moral and immoral genetic intervention).  Genetic therapy and genetic enhancement and health: two approaches to health and disease: descriptive and value- laden.  Descriptive: normal is typical and anything that does not fall under the species-typical traits is considered abnormal.  Genetic therapy should not be considered a threat to ‘normality’ but genetic enhancement performed on healthy people, should be.  But the descriptive approach can’t tell us whether one or the other is moral or immoral.  The value-laden approach: our understanding of health and disease is based on moral, cultural and social norms.  Under this approach, genetic therapy is morally good because it helps us fight disease which is considered bad.  But what about enhancement?  Resnick: the answer depends on the scope of our definitions of health and disease.  If we take them to mean that ll members of society should be healthy, and any deviation from this norm is considered disease, then, genetic enhancement is inherently wrong.  This definition – too broad; doesn’t leave room for normal deviation and freedom of choice  But if we accept normal deviations, then genetic enhancement is not inherently wrong and is acceptable as long as it doesn’t violate other moral norms such as non-malfeasance, autonomy, etc.  What about the goals of medicine?  Main goals: prevention of disease and promotion of health and well-being  We endorse immunization which is an enhancement of our immune system, so why doesn’t we endorse genetic enhancement? What about humanness?   Many fear genetic enhancement because they think it will alter out human form (George Annas).  How is our human from characterized?  It’s not easy to define what a human being is (remember abortion debate).  Then, why is it wrong to change whatever the human form is?  Resnick: most moral theories, with the exception
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