Introduction to Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing
Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston
Part I. What is Human Flourishing?
Chapter 1. Welcoming the Unexpected
Chapter 2. Flourishing and the Value of Authenticity
Daniel M. Haybron
Chapter 3. The Dismal Fate of Flourishing in Public Policy Bioethics: A Sociological Explanation
John H. Evans
Part II. The Value of Acceptance
Chapter 4. Editing the Best of All Possible Worlds
Chapter 5. Daoism, Flourishing, and Gene Editing
Chapter 6. Can We Care about Nature?
Gregory E. Kaebnick
Part III. Is Control the Key to Flourishing?
Chapter 7. Do More Choices Lead to More Flourishing?
Sheena Iyengar and Tucker Kuman
Chapter 8. Josephine Johnston
Chapter 9. Parental Responsibility and Gene Editing
Nicole A Vincent and Emma A. Jane
Part IV. Balancing Acceptance and Control
Chapter 10. Choice, Chance, and Acceptance
Jackie Leach Scully
Chapter 11. Unravelling the Human Tapestry: Diversity, Flourishing, and Genetic Modification
Chapter 12. Creaturehood and Deification as Anchors for an Ethics of Gene Editing
Chapter 13. Recovering Practical Wisdom as a Guide for Human Flourishing: Navigating the CRISPR Challenge
Part V. Flourishing Together
Chapter 14. Whose Conception of Human Flourishing?
Chapter 15. Reprogenetic Technologies: Between Private Choice and Public Good
Chapter 16. The Politics of Intrinsic Worth: Why Bioethics Needs Human Dignity
Chapter 17. Bioethics Contra Biopower: Ecological Humanism and Flourishing Life
International uproar followed the recent announcement of the birth of twin girls whose genomes had been edited with a breakthrough DNA editing-technology. This technology, called clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats or CRISPR-Cas9, can alter any DNA, including DNA in embryos, meaning that changes can be passed to the offspring of the person that embryo becomes.
Should we use gene editing technologies to change ourselves, our children, and future generations to come? The potential uses of CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene editing technologies are unprecedented in human history. By using these technologies, we eradicate certain dreadful diseases. Altering human DNA, however, raises enormously difficult questions. Some of these questions are about safety: Can these technologies be deployed without posing an unreasonable risk of physical harm to current and future generations? Can all physical risks be adequately assessed, and responsibly managed? But gene editing technologies also raise other moral questions, which touch on deeply held, personal, cultural, and societal values: Might such technologies redefine what it means to be healthy, or normal, or cherished? Might they undermine relationships between parents and children, or exacerbate the gap between the haves and have-nots? The broadest form of this second kind of question is the focus of this book: What might gene editing—and related technologies—mean for human flourishing?
In the new essays collected here, an interdisciplinary group of scholars asks age—old questions about the nature and well-being of humans in the context of a revolutionary new biotechnology—one that has the potential to change the genetic make-up of both existing people and future generations. Welcoming readers who study related issues and those not yet familiar with the formal study of bioethics, the authors of these essays open up a conversation about the ethics of gene editing. It is through this conversation that citizens can influence laws and the distribution of funding for science and medicine, that professional leaders can shape understanding and use of gene editing and related technologies by scientists, patients, and practitioners, and that individuals can make decisions about their own lives and the lives of their families.