FYS-130 Designer Genes and the Ethics of Human Enhancement

Instructor: Professor Daniel R. DeNicola
Department: Philosophy

Course Description:
Gene therapy, trait selection for babies, cloning, genetic engineering, bionic implants and drugs that improve physical and mental capabilities—the “biological revolution” has offered us many promising techniques for human enhancement. But we are uneasy: although preventing debilitating conditions and making better people seems attractive, the prospect of either a centralized eugenics program or unregulated individualized “enhancement” is frightening. We face, fearfully or hopefully, the possibility of altering the human race. Is human life to be a project, a purchase—or a gift?