University of Kansas, Spring 2006
Philosophy 886: Topics in Applied Ethics

The Ethics of Genetic Technology

Welcome. This course examined some important ethical issues associated with the development and use of technology for the detection and manipulation of humans’ genes and the human gene pool. Among these issues are whether efforts to improve the human gene pool can be morally defensible (or, on the contrary, whether they are necessarily no better than, say, the Nazis’ morally reprehensible program of eugenics), and whether society is morally obligated to provide gene-improving health care to its citizens. Additional questions concern reproductive freedom: Does society have the right to limit individuals’ use of reproductive technology in order to pursue social goals such as equality of opportunity? Does society have the right to limit individuals’ use of such technology in order to protect the interests of unborn children? Other questions concern cloning, genetic engineering, and genetic screening (such as in the workplace). The primary text for the course was From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice, by Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels, and Daniel Wikler; we then considered views from such diverse sources as the conservative President’s Council on Bioethics, several liberal philosophers and commentators, and Jürgen Habermas.

On this page there are links, on the left, for documents relating to the course. During the course I also provided, in this frame, some notices about what students needed to be aware of, as the course progressed. Since the course is over, there are no more notices to post here, but the bulk of the content of the course remains, at left.

If you want to bookmark this page instead of having to get to it via my home page, use the following URL: http:///courses/genetic1.