Enhancing Autonomy, Authenticity and Selecting the Child with the Best Moral Life

Alexandru Gabriel CIOIU


In the human enhancement literature, there is a recurrent fear that biomedical technologies will negatively impact the autonomy and authenticity of moral agents, even when the agents would end up having better capacities and an improved life with the aid of these technologies. I will explore several ways in which biomedical enhancement may improve the autonomy of moral agents and try to show that biomedical methods are, all things considered, beneficial to our autonomy and authenticity. I will argue that there are instances when it’s desirable to limit the autonomy of moral agents and that strict regulations are to be put in place if a great number of people will have easy access to powerful, genetic-altering technologies which can impact the life of future children. I will advocate for using assisted reproductive technologies in order to select the child with the best chance of the best moral life and in doing so I will analyse several procreative principles which have been proposed by different scholars in the genetic enhancement debate and try to determine which one would be best to adhere to. Usually, people place high value on the concept of autonomy and there are many cases in which they end up overestimating autonomy in relation to other moral values. While autonomy is important, it’s also important to know how to limit it when reasonable societal norms require it. Sometimes autonomy is defined in strong connection with the concept of authenticity, in the sense that it’s not sufficient for our choices to be autonomous if they are not also authentic. I will try to defend the idea that authenticity can be enhanced as well with the aid of enhancement technologies which can actually prove beneficial in our quest to improve our own self.


moral enhancement, autonomy, authenticity, assisted reproduction, Procreative Beneficence, Procreative Altruism, pharmaceuticals, Prozac, Modafinil, the right to an open future, disabilities, genetic manipulation, cognitive enhancement

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