Journal Club: The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life

TBioethicshis month the Philosopher’s Eye is inviting discussion on the free article ‘The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life’ written by Julian Savulescu and Guy Kahane, and the most cited article of 2010 published in the journal Bioethics.

What are your thoughts on the controversial topic discussed in this article? We invite your comments below…

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Abstract:
According to what we call the Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB), couples who decide to have a child have a significant moral reason to select the child who, given his or her genetic endowment, can be expected to enjoy the most well-being. In the first part of this paper, we introduce PB, explain its content, grounds, and implications, and defend it against various objections. In the second part, we argue that PB is superior to competing principles of procreative selection such as that of procreative autonomy. In the third part of the paper, we consider the relation between PB and disability. We develop a revisionary account of disability, in which disability is a species of instrumental badness that is context- and person-relative. Although PB instructs us to aim to reduce disability in future children whenever possible, it does not privilege the normal. What matters is not whether future children meet certain biological or statistical norms, but what level of well-being they can be expected to have.

Bioethics

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Give a Man a Fish: Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion

Or not, as the findings of the Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 report by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggest. According to the report, over 58% of all UK cases of poverty are children, with 2.1 million children in poverty having working parents. Although the number of children in poverty from working households has risen, the report finds that the number of children in poverty among ‘out-of-work households’ has fallen to its lowest level since 1984.

Co-author of the report, Tom McInnes, told the BBC: “with more than half of all children in poverty belonging to working families, it is simply not possible to base anti-poverty policies on the idea that work alone is a route out of poverty”. He claims the rise in benefits since 2008 has prevented a growth of child poverty Continue reading “Give a Man a Fish: Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion”

Neglecting the philosophical baby

Have philosophers neglected the mind of the child? Yes they have, if we are to believe psychologist, Alison Gopnik. In her latest book The Philosophical Baby, she presents a raft of examples aimed to show that babies’ minds are more sophisticated than has (she says) been supposed.

One contemporary philosopher who has been attacked on just this basis is John McDowell. He has put forward the thesis that animals and young infants do not perceive or indeed think…. Continue reading “Neglecting the philosophical baby”

Getting Naked

Coppertone_sign_miami In ‘The Animal that Therefore I am,’ Jacques Derrida invites readers to reconsider the classical distinction between ‘animal’ and ‘human.’ His critique includes a playful account of nudity – a meditation on the experience of being naked in the presence of one’s pet. The investigation suggests that Mr. Fluffy’s ability to make me ‘feel naked’ (i.e., to ‘shame’ me) calls into question the ‘difference’ between us.

Recent headlines offer a unique twist to this dynamic. As the summer months warm, families across the States are struggling to decide how old is too old for their children to play in the nude. Justifications and concerns vary, but many mark the cut-off at the moment when childhood innocence dissolves into adult (or adult-like) awareness – when the child begins to ‘feel naked.’

And therein lies the difficulty. Some contend Continue reading “Getting Naked”