What Is Morally New in Genetic Manipulation?
The investigation into the specific moral issues of genetic manipulation requires us to determine exactly the new moral issues of genetic manipulation. But even that determination requires us to consider whether the context in which we live and the method of moral reflection which we use is adequate enough to address genetic manipulation. Given the liberalist context in which we live, this paper argues that an act-oriented ethics is inadequate and that only a virtue-oriented ethics enables us to recognize and resolve the new problems ahead of us in genetic manipulation. Moreover, those problems have a common root, that is, that through genetics we will be in danger of objectifying the human subject. Generally any new scientific advance prompts ethical questions. Often those questions are answered with insights gained from experience in other scientific fields. But on occasion the advancements in a particular science are so extraordinary that real morally new questions are raised. Keenan distinguishes here first what is morally new from what is not and in the process describes the unique moral challenges that genetic engineering brings to the field of ethics.
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