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Choosing Tomorrow's ChildrenThe Ethics of Selective Reproduction$
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Stephen Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273966.001.0001

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Eugenics and the Expressivist Argument

Eugenics and the Expressivist Argument

(p.148) 6 Eugenics and the Expressivist Argument
Choosing Tomorrow's Children

Stephen Wilkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Eugenics Argument says that screening out disability is wrong because it is a form of eugenics. This chapter defends the view that this argument cannot overcome certain problems: notably the fact that, on the most sensible definitions of ‘eugenics’, eugenics is not necessarily wrong. However, it should be noted that there are objectionable forms of eugenics (e.g. those which attempt to pass off racism or ‘genetic discrimination’ as ‘genetic improvement’). The Expressivist Argument says that what is wrong with selecting out disability is that it sends out a negative and damaging message: that the world would be a better place if people with disabilities did not exist. It is argued that screening out does not necessarily send out a morally problematic message provided that it is done for defensible reasons (such as the avoidance of suffering) and is not presented or carried out in an insensitive way.

Keywords:   screening out disability, eugenics, Expressivist Argument, genetic discrimination, genetic improvement, racism, people with disabilities, avoidance of suffering

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