ISBN-10:
0674036387
ISBN-13:
9780674036383
Pub. Date:
09/30/2009
Publisher:
Harvard
The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering

The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering

by Michael J. Sandel
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Overview

“Sandel explores a paramount question of our era: how to extend the power and promise of biomedical science to overcome debility without compromising our humanity. His arguments are acute and penetrating, melding sound logic with compassion.”
—Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think

Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature—to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature?

The Case against Perfection explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda.

In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America’s preeminent moral and political thinkers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674036383
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/30/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 300,390
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University, and the author most recently of Public Philosophy (Harvard).

Table of Contents

1. The Ethics of Enhancement

2. Bionic Athletes

3. Designer Children, Designing Parents

4. The Old Eugenics and the New

5. Mastery and Gift

Epilogue. Embryo Ethics: The Stem Cell Debate

Notes

Index

What People are Saying About This

We live in a world, says Michael Sandel, where "science moves faster than moral understanding." But thanks to Sandel, moral understanding is catching up. Cloning, stem cell research, performance-enhancing drugs, pills that make you stronger or taller: if some scientific development bothers you, but you can't explain why, Michael Sandel will help you to figure out why you're troubled. And then he'll tell you whether you should be.

Jerome Groopman

Sandel explores a paramount question of our era: how to extend the power and promise of biomedical science to overcome debility without compromising our humanity. His arguments are acute and penetrating, melding sound logic with compassion. We emerge from this book feeling edified and inspired.
Jerome Groopman, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think

Michael Kinsley

We live in a world, says Michael Sandel, where "science moves faster than moral understanding." But thanks to Sandel, moral understanding is catching up. Cloning, stem cell research, performance-enhancing drugs, pills that make you stronger or taller: if some scientific development bothers you, but you can't explain why, Michael Sandel will help you to figure out why you're troubled. And then he'll tell you whether you should be.

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