"Eugenics talk" and the language of bioethics
Wilkinson S.
Centre for Professional Ethics,
School of Law, Keele University,
Keele ST5 5BG, UK.
J Med Ethics. 2008 Jun;34(6):467-71.


In bioethical discussions of preimplantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal screening, accusations of eugenics are commonplace, as are counter-claims that talk of eugenics is misleading and unhelpful. This paper asks whether "eugenics talk", in this context, is legitimate and useful or something to be avoided. It also looks at the extent to which this linguistic question can be answered without first answering relevant substantive moral questions. Its main conclusion is that the best and most non-partisan argument for avoiding eugenics talk is the Autonomy Argument. According to this, eugenics talk per se is not wrong, but there is something wrong with using its emotive power as a means of circumventing people's critical-rational faculties. The Autonomy Argument does not, however, tell against eugenics talk when such language is used to shock people into critical-rational thought. These conclusions do not depend on unique features of eugenics: similar considerations apply to emotive language throughout bioethics.
Private eugenics
'Designer babies'
Personal genomics
Genetic enhancement
Ashkenazi intelligence
'Liberal eugenics' (PDF)
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
The literature of eugenics
Genetic moral enhancement
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
'The Principle of Procreative Beneficience'
Do the DREAMless learn more and age less?
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
'Everybody in the world is my friend' hypersociability in Williams syndrome


and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World