Julian Savulescu Ethical Childhood

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Julian Savulescu argues that parents have a moral duty to improve their children’s genetic makeup in the same way that they would improve the child’s “environment” or prevent diseases on the grounds of Utilitarianism (The Ethical Life, 443). Julian thinks this is a duty because it will yield the most positive outcomes or consequences. He believes that failure to use genetic enhancements, when a parent has an opportunity to benefit their child, is neglecting the child’s needs which is morally wrong (The Ethical Life, 443). Savulescu also defends his position by claiming that it would be inconsistent to “train our children to behave well”, but then refuse to seek genetic enhancements for our children so they have the tools to succeed, when both …show more content…
The idea of consequentialism is that we need to consider the final consequences of the action, whether or not the act itself is morally good (Shakil, n.d.). This principle claims that the morality of an action, such as, genetic enhancement depends on the best actual or expected results. Therefore, someone like Savulescu will argue that if we fail to maximize good results through genetic enhancements then we are acting morally wrong, even if we had good intentions (Shafer-Landau, 126). Savulescu tried to defend his position from some common objections, however, this paper will argue that it is not the duty of the parents to genetically enhance their children and point out the concerns in Julian’s defenses of his …show more content…
For instance, it is a parent’s duty to improve their child’s wellbeing, raise them to behave well, cooperate, and become intelligent, and a parent should prevent disease using medication and surgeries as Savulescu has noted. However, “free, equal, and rational people” would not all agree on the moral duty to do these things by altering the genes of their children because it would not be a maxim that fulfills the universal law (Shafer-Landau,193,164). That is also because an irrational person would chase after only their self-interests. In this case, the parents are chasing their self-interest of raising their idea of the “ideal” child. It is true that parents do have the ability to shape their child into the person they hope they will become, however, this ability is not the same as genetically shaping them. For instance, a parent can try and raise a hardworking, polite, honest, and generous child into an adult. Yet, as the child grows up these qualities are something that the autonomous adult must choose to continue to practice in order to be that person. Therefore, a child’s parents influence them only to the point that the child chooses to allow them too. This is far different then genetically enhancing the characteristics and personalities that a parent “wants” for the child because it would result in good consequences. This is because the child no longer gets to decide who

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