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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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The Dismal Fate of Flourishing in Public Policy Bioethics

The Dismal Fate of Flourishing in Public Policy Bioethics

A Sociological Explanation

(p.46) 3 The Dismal Fate of Flourishing in Public Policy Bioethics
Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing

John H. Evans

Oxford University Press

The re-emerging debate about human gene editing appears to be limited to whether gene editing will effectively advance the ends, goals, or values of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. As is the case for most of contemporary bioethics, what is not being considered is a substantive debate about what our goals should be in gene editing—that is, the debate is not trying to establish an account of human flourishing. The chapter posits that the public would include many other goals in their moral calculus and discusses why it is important to have this broader discussion. Finally, the chapter turns to a sociological explanation for why this debate is “thin” and not “thick,” why it only asks about whether the means of human gene editing maximize certain fixed ends instead of what our ends—our flourishing—should be.

Keywords:   gene editing, flourishing, policy, human dignity, public debate

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