Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing

ISBN : 9780190940362

Erik Parens; Josephine Johnston
288 ページ
156 x 156 mm
  • Addresses the harms posed by gene editing technology--not only physical, but social
  • Explores the values of acceptance and being open to surprise
  • Speaks across technologies used in reproductive contexts, from IVF to mitochondrial transfer to prenatal genetic testing

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.


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
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
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
Michael Hauskeller
Chapter 5. Daoism, Flourishing, and Gene Editing
Richard Kim
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. "Good Parents" Can Promote Their Own and Their Children's Flourishing
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
Robert Sparrow
Chapter 12. Creaturehood and Deification as Anchors for an Ethics of Gene Editing
Michael Burdett
Chapter 13. Recovering Practical Wisdom as a Guide for Human Flourishing: Navigating the CRISPR Challenge
Celia Deane-Drummond

Part V. Flourishing Together
Chapter 14. Whose Conception of Human Flourishing?
Dorothy Roberts
Chapter 15. Reprogenetic Technologies: Between Private Choice and Public Good
Maartje Schermer
Chapter 16. The Politics of Intrinsic Worth: Why Bioethics Needs Human Dignity
Gaymon Bennett
Chapter 17. Bioethics Contra Biopower: Ecological Humanism and Flourishing Life
Bruce Jennings


Erik Parens is Senior Research Scholar at The Hastings Center, where he investigates the ethical implications of using technologies such as psychopharmacology, surgery, and gene editing to shape ourselves and our children. He also investigates how emerging sciences such as genetics and neuroscience shape our understanding of ourselves as persons. He is the author or editor of five books, as well as numerous articles and commentaries for academic journals and general-interest publications. His most recent book is Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing and a Habit of Thinking (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Josephine Johnston is Director of Research and a Research Scholar at The Hastings Center. She works on the ethics of emerging biotechnologies, particularly in human reproduction, psychiatry, and genetics. Her scholarly work has appeared in medical, scientific, policy, law, and bioethics journals, including New England Journal of MedicineScienceNatureHastings Center Report, and Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. She edited, with Thomas H Murray, Trust and Integrity in Biomedical Research: The Case of Financial Conflicts of Interest (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). She has also written for Stat NewsNew RepublicTimeWashington Post, and The Scientist.
Gaymon Bennett, Arizona State University, Associate Professor of Religion, Science, and Technology
Michael Burdett, University of Nottingham, UK, Assistant Professor in Christian Theology
Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame, Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Theology, Science, and Human Flourishing
John H. Evans, University of California, San Diego, Tata Chancellor's Chair in Social Sciences, Associate Dean of Social Sciences, and Co-Director of UCSD's Institute for Practical Ethics
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University, a bioethicist and Professor of English
Michael Hauskeller, University of Liverpool, UK, Professor of Philosophy
Daniel M. Haybron, Saint Louis University, US, Theodore R. Vitali C.P. Professor of Philosophy
Sheena Iyengar, Columbia University, New York, S.T. Lee Professor of Business
Emma A. Jane, University of New South Wales, senior lecturer in School of Arts and Media
Bruce Jennings, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, US, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society
Josephine Johnston, The Hastings Center, Research Scholar and Director of Research
Gregory E. Kaebnick, The Hastings Center, Research Scholar and Director of Editorial Department
Richard Kim, Loyola University Chicago, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Tucker Kuman, University of Virginia, US, PhD candidate
Erik Parens, The Hastings Center, Senior Research Scholar and Director of the Initiative in Bioethics and the Humanities
Dorothy Roberts, University of Pennsylvania, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
Maartje Schermer, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Professor of the Philosophy of Medicine
Jackie Leach Scully, Newcastle University, UK, Professor of Social Ethics and Bioethics and Executive Director of the Policy, Ethics, and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Center
Robert Sparrow, Monash University, Australia, Professor in the Department of Philosophy
Nicole A. Vincent, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, and Honorary Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University, Australia