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Chapter 6 Moral Virtue and the Principles of Practical Reason

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Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME,volume 128)

Abstract

This paper addresses the claim that we have a moral obligation, where a choice can be made, to bring to birth the ‘best’ child possible. Savulescu has termed this demand the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. Thus far, a number of critical arguments have been put forward to discredit this Principle. Some focus mainly on the consequences which would follow from establishment of such an obligation, others appeal to the philosophical assumptions on which this principle is based. After a short presentation of the state of the debate over the principles of reproductive decisions, I formulate two counter-arguments which aim to demonstrate that in so far as we identify the claim that parents have some reasons to produce the best children possible and the more radical claim that they are morally obliged to attempt to do this, as biomedical decisions guidance they have little prospect of success in providing the best life possible for their children. To elucidate this problem, I turn to the ancient idea of the “good life” and to the virtue ethics with its fundamental concepts of practical wisdom and eudaimonia, which, as I argue, may provide us with a deeper understanding of what the “good life” consists in and with an explanation of what truly determines the quality of individual and one’s self-fulfillment.

Keywords

  • Aristotle
  • Virtue ethics
  • Human enhancement
  • Human perfection
  • Transhumanism

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Correspondence to Adriana Warmbier .

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Warmbier, A. (2018). Chapter 6 Moral Virtue and the Principles of Practical Reason. In: Soniewicka, M. (eds) The Ethics of Reproductive Genetics. Philosophy and Medicine, vol 128. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60684-2_6

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