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Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing$
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Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190940362

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190940362.001.0001

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Reprogenetic Technologies Between Private Choice and Public Good

Reprogenetic Technologies Between Private Choice and Public Good

(p.212) 15 Reprogenetic Technologies Between Private Choice and Public Good
Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing

Maartje Schermer

Oxford University Press

Much of the bioethical debate on reproductive and genetic technologies has focused on the potential risks and benefits for individuals. This chapter shifts the focus from the individualistic level towards a societal perspective. It explores how emerging reprogenetic technologies can both thwart and promote the flourishing of communities, and argues that these technologies can contribute to the public good only when certain social conditions and side-constraints are in place—which can sometimes entail influencing or even limiting individual choice. The chapter gives an account of how we should understand ‘the public good’ in this context, including values such as tolerance, inclusion, and solidarity. It explores how reprogenetic technologies can affect the public good, for better or worse. Finally it addresses the forms of governance—regulations, institutional checks and balances—we might deploy with regard to these technologies to ensure they contribute to both individual and collective flourishing.

Keywords:   flourishing, gene editing, common good, public good, reproductive technologies, bioethics, human enhancement, governance, values

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