Retracing Liberalism and Remaking Nature: Designer Children, Research Embryos, and Featherless Chickens

9 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2012

See all articles by Dov Fox

Dov Fox

University of San Diego: School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2010

Abstract

Liberal theory seeks to achieve toleration, civil peace, and mutual respect in pluralistic societies by making public policy without reference to arguments arising from within formative ideals about what gives value to human life. Does it make sense to set aside such conceptions of the good when it comes to controversies about stem cell research and the genetic engineering of people or animals? Whether it is reasonable to bracket our worldviews in such cases depends on how we answer the moral questions that the use of these biotechnologies presuppose. I argue that the moral language of liberal justice – of rights and duties, interests and opportunities, freedom and consent, equality and fairness – cannot speak to these underlying concerns about what the human embryo is, why the natural lottery matters to us, and whether ‘animal nature’ is worth preserving. I conclude that liberal theory is incapable of furnishing a coherent or desirable account to govern the way we use our emerging powers of biotechnology.

Keywords: liberalism, state neutrality, the Enlightenment, stem cell research, genetic engineering, animal ethics

Suggested Citation

Fox, Dov, Retracing Liberalism and Remaking Nature: Designer Children, Research Embryos, and Featherless Chickens (May 2010). Bioethics, Vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 170-178, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2031881 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00707.x

Dov Fox (Contact Author)

University of San Diego: School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States
(619) 260-4600 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sandiego.edu/law/about/directory/biography.php?profile_id=3332

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