Great Minds Think Different: Preserving Cognitive Diversity in an Age of Gene Editing

9 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020

See all articles by Jonathan Anomaly

Jonathan Anomaly

Duke University

Christopher Gyngell

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford - Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

It is likely that gene editing technologies will become viable in the current century. As scientists uncover the genetic contribution to personality traits and cognitive styles, parents will face hard choices. Some of these choices will involve trade‐offs from the standpoint of the individual's welfare, while others will involve trade‐offs between what is best for each and what is good for all. Although we think we should generally defer to the informed choices of parents about what kinds of children to create, we argue that decisions to manipulate polygenic psychological traits will be much more ethically complicated than choosing Mendelian traits like blood type. We end by defending the principle of regulatory parsimony, which holds that when legislation is necessary to prevent serious harms, we should aim for simple rules that apply to all, rather than micro‐managing parental choices that shape the traits of their children. While we focus on embryo selection and gene editing, our arguments apply to all powerful technologies which influence the development of children.

Keywords: cognitive diversity, embryo selection, gene editing, genetic enhancement, regulatory parsimony

Suggested Citation

Anomaly, Jonathan and Gyngell, Christopher and Savulescu, Julian, Great Minds Think Different: Preserving Cognitive Diversity in an Age of Gene Editing (January 2020). Bioethics, Vol. 34, Issue 1, pp. 81-89, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3588706 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12585

Jonathan Anomaly (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Christopher Gyngell

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford - Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics ( email )

10 Merton Street
Oxford OX1 3JP
United Kingdom
+44 1865 276926 (Phone)
+44 1865 276932 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/juliansavulescu.html

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