Enhancements for Those Incapable of Choosing

Home Dialogue Page Choices Enhancements for Those Incapable of Choosing

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  MaxS 7 months ago.

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  • #5934


    The concept of choice in the context of enhancements typically centers on a decision (to not enhance oneself) that would carry enormous costs, yet is ultimately rooted in free will which we assume to be unalienable. But there are a plethora of scenarios which make the choice debate murkier; how do we address the enhancement issue for those who cannot choose? Consider a mother, for example, who is willing to reject enhancement for herself: after bearing the consequences of living in a world of superior beings, could she make the same choice for her unborn child? Would there be a point at which depriving a fetus of life-changing genetic modifications before birth would come to be considered cruel, or even illegal? In today’s world, parents are free to make choices for their children, but only to a point — the abject neglect of a child is punishable by law. Is it not rational that one day, enhancements will be so beneficial to human existence that to neglect to provide them to a child could be considered neglect as well; that the opportunities they create (and that their absence would deprive one of) would be tantamount to a necessity, like food or medical care? This line of thinking would extend to other groups that are incapable of choosing as well, such as the mentally disabled. We may preserve some of our own choices in an enhanced world, but who will choose for those who cannot?

  • #5953


    I think the questions that roddenjd raises are really important, and my initial sense is that yes, enhancements will likely reach the point where they are so beneficial to human existence that to neglect to provide them for those who cannot choose might be considered neglect. The questions you raise call to mind the debate around mandatory vaccination – currently, the federal government does not require vaccinations by law, but all fifty states require certain vaccinations for public schools. If this current legislative structure continues, it’s not hard to imagine states requiring certain enhancements for the use of public goods. Perhaps cognitive or immune system enhancement will be required for public schools. Bess seems to suggest that leaving our current legislative structure the way it is may lead to disaster, so how might we change it for the better?

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