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Nov 21 Lectures.docx

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Kelin Emmett

Nov 21 Lectures Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:12AM Identifying genes that contribute to problematic physical issues Able to improve using genetic technology Moral implications: arguments for and against Intelligence, memory, beauty - altering the genome to enhance these qualities Prenatal testing: Worry about inequality and injustice Historical precedent: propagating certain human genes as opposed to others : some things have gone horrible wrong Eugenics: controlled breeding Purposely interfering Human interference Tulips for example: applying knowledge we know to get the tulips we want Positive: breeding selectively for beneficial qualities. Plant breeder finds two specimens that if they breed together they will get the qualities they desire (certain colours) People in general are more hesitant towards this one Negative: breeding out the undesirable characteristics. Less problematic than the prior Moral Implications: distinction involves value judgment. What kinds of qualities should be selected for propagation and control If we could find gene for Huntington's Disease and get rid of that, this could be beneficial Who makes the judgment on what traits are desirable and which are not How do we know when these determinations are falling down a slippery slope Quality of existence judgments Issues: Justice - two tier system. Certain people have access and some do not - inequitable social implications Glover: Nazi Experience Nazi Germany targeted sterilization of undesirables (feeble minded, homosexuals) Isolated distinct programs Specifically to get rid of certain kinds of genetic dispositions Purify the species Idea: humans needed to interfere with natural selection Problem: who decides what are the undesirable traits Who decides what kinds of qualities we will be selecting for? Prenatal screening/testing: Today's society. Gives us idea if fetus has genetic disabilities or not. We can then actively select for abortion Implant embryos that do not have certain genes as well Making decisions on which traits are desirable There might be good reasons why engage in these practices MOTIVATION - actually concerned for quality of life (living with disease). Different from the Nazis - how we can compare current and historical practices - are there lessons we should be aware of - Are there significant differences How do we decide these moral issues EQUALITY - all human beings are fundamentally of equal value • Even if there are underlying genetic issues • Selecting to breed out certain genes: does that conflict with equality of all individuals SLIPPERY SLOPE - may seem obvious to select for gene for Huntington's Disease • Worry is that even if this were a morally sanctioned practice: where would it stop? How do we prevent the principle that certain genes can be corrected for • What about other kinds of undesirable characteristics? • Eventually selecting for children with lower IQ's not to be born • Lots of promise to remedy suffering and give us benefit if we use carefully, but important to balance moral issues Glannon - Genetic Enhancement • Very close to ability to manipulate genes • We can perform screening right now • Selecting not to implant embryo that had a certain gene • Near having the capacity to manipulate genes • Selecting in a negative and positive way • Gene is for memory: ensuring that fetus has improved memory • Environmental factors still exist • To what extent is manipulation allowed for • Defect: manipulate gene even in womb: do we have an obligation to do that • Gene Therapy: restoring mental and physical functions or treating disease (Huntington) • Genetic Enhancement: Improving what is already adequate (trying to get tall son, soldiers that do not need to sleep, improved capacity of concentration) • Manipulating embryos to choose the kinds of qualities that our child is likely to inherit: present significant moral questions: is it appropriate to interfere in these life processes • What is goal of medicine/healthcare (Norman Daniels) -Aim of medicine is to restore mental/physical functioning • That which is required to ensure social equality (equality of opportunity) • Basic level of physical and mental functioning • Sick: spending time in bed healing. We are not going to as well in university courses. • No medical/moral reasons for genetically enhancing normal human functions/capacities • Genetic intervention should be to treat abnormal functions and restore them to a normal level. Gene Therapy fits in perfectly, while Genetic Enhancement does not Distinction between enhancement and therapy/treatment • Immunization: boosting immune system against disease. We might think this is an enhancement to our genetic system • Level of functioning that is higher • Medical practice that we cannot put down as solely treatment • Walters and Palmer: only a small step to enhance general functioning. We can use this genetic technology since we are doing something that has already been placed in medicine • Glannon rejects this: it is maintaining normal working function • Maintenance - theAIM is important • Not giving us functioning capacities • Essentially preventing from losing normal functioning Normal functioning - for equality of opportunity • How far do we have to be below this for it to be treatment as opposed to enhancement • Minimal necessary level to have normal functioning • To what extent is it even possible to get equal opportunity? (equality of opportunity is an ideal: if it is obvious that this equal opportunity is not there, then we have a problem) • Equality of opportunity is general - not specific things • Health is such a major determinant in kind of functioning needed for equal opportunity • Therapy: meant to bring UP to normal functioning, or PREVENT falling down • Enhancement: meant to bring beyond normal functioning Slightly shorter than normal functioning - normal height Is that enhancement or therapy? Must look at the entire scope of features. Does it compromise their social functioning? How does condition compromise normal functioning? Important: does condition imply less than normal functioning 2 inches short - not necessarily needing intervention It matters how significantly below normal functioning you are Achieving equal opportunities 4 moral concerns Argument is that genetic therapy is okay but genetic enhancement is not 1. Wealthy people have an unfair advantage over others with respect to competitive goods Intelligence is a competitive good - if we are smarter then we have chance of doing better Competitive advantage - puts others at a relative disadvantage Significantly unfair/problematic On a playing field that is completely unfair (very unfair as it is now, just because of wealth) Exacerbating the pr
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