Germ-line engineering, freedom, and future generations
Cooke EF.
Creighton University,
Philosophy Department,
2500 California Plaza,
Omaha, NE 68178, USA.
Bioethics. 2003 Feb;17(1):32-58.


New technologies in germ-line engineering have raised many questions about obligations to future generations. In this article, I focus on the importance of increasing freedom and the equality of freedom for present and future generations, because these two ideals are necessary for a just society and because they are most threatened by the wide-scale privatisation of GLE technologies. However, there are ambiguities in applying these ideals to the issue of genetic technologies. I argue that Amartya Sen's capability theory can be used as a framework to ensure freedom and equality in the use of GLE technology. Capability theory articulates the goal of equalising real freedom by bringing all people up to a threshold of basic human capabilities. Sen's capability theory can clarify the proper moral goal of GLE insofar as this technology could be used to bring people up to certain basic human capabilities, thereby increasing their real freedom. And by increasing the freedom of those who lack basic human capabilities, GLE can aid in decreasing the inequalities of freedom among classes of people.
Evolutionary ethics
'Artificial' evolution
Sickle-cell anaemia
Germline genetic engineering
Congenital insensitivity to pain
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Transhumanism (H+): toward a Brave New World?

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