A Theory of Unborn Life: From Abortion to Genetic Manipulation

Hardcover | June 28, 2012

byAnja Karnein

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In light of new biomedical technologies, such as artificial reproduction, stem cell research, genetic selection and design, the question of what we owe to future persons-and unborn life more generally-is as contested as ever. In A Theory of Unborn Life: From Abortion to Genetic Manipulation,author Anja J. Karnein provides a novel theory that shows how our commitments to persons can help us make sense of our obligations to unborn life. We should treat embryos that will develop into persons in anticipation of these persons. But how viable is this theory? Moreover, what does it mean totreat embryos in anticipation of the future persons they will develop into? Exploring the attractiveness of this approach for Germany and the U.S. - two countries with very different legal approaches to valuing unborn life-Karnein comes to startling conclusions to some of today's greatest ethical and legal debates. Under Karnein's theory, abortion and stem cell research arelegitimate, since embryos that do not have mothers willing to continue to assist their growth have no way of developing into persons. However, Karnein also contends that where the health of embryos is threatened by third parties or even by the women carrying them, embryos need to be treated withthe same care due to the children that emerge from them. In the case of genetic manipulation, it is important to respect future persons like our contemporaries, respecting their independence as individuals as well as the way they enter this world without modification. Genetic interventions aretherefore only legitimate for insuring that future persons have the necessary physical and mental endowment to lead independent lives so as to be protected from being dominated by their contemporaries. Evincing polarization and dogma, Karnein's clean, philosophically-driven analysis provides a soundethical foundation for the interpretation of any variety of legal dilemmas surrounding unborn life.

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In light of new biomedical technologies, such as artificial reproduction, stem cell research, genetic selection and design, the question of what we owe to future persons-and unborn life more generally-is as contested as ever. In A Theory of Unborn Life: From Abortion to Genetic Manipulation,author Anja J. Karnein provides a novel theor...

Anja Karnein is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Goethe University-Frankfurt am Main; recently she has been a Visiting Fellow for the Center for Ethics at Harvard University, a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Society and Genetics at UCLA, and a Visiting Scholar at the Bioethics Center at NYU.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 28, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199782474

ISBN - 13:9780199782475

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Creation and Destruction1. Embryos and Future Persons1. Protecting Persons2. Why Birth Matters3. The Moral Value of Embryos that will be Born4. The Moral Value of Embryos that will not be Born5. Conclusion2. The Human Dignity of Embryos? The German Case1. The German Abortion Debate2. Embryo Protection in Tort and Criminal Law3. The Law for Protecting (Some) Embryos4. The Stem Cell Law5. Conclusion3. The Moral Anonymity of Embryos: The American Case1. The U.S. Abortion Debate2. Tort Law: Prenatal Injury Cases3. Criminal Law and the Fetus4. Artificial Reproductive Technologies and Stem Cell ResearchPart II: Selection and Manipulation4. The Limits of Reproductive Choice and Distributive Justice1. Championing Procreative Liberties: John A. Robertson2. Embracing Scientific Advance: Ronald Dworkin3. Insuring Equal Opportunity: Buchanan et al.3.1. Genetic Manipulation, Justice, and Our Moral System3.2. Limiting Parental Powers: Respecting a Child's Right to an Open Future3.3. The Danger of Intergenerational Domination4. Conclusion5. Troubling Intuitions: Jrgen Habermas and the Dangers of Changing Human Nature1. Habermas's Rejection of Liberal Eugenics2. Irreversibility, Responsibility, and Appropriate Attitudes3. The Anthropological Foundation of Morality4. Conclusion6. Future Persons and their Independence1. Precarious Intergenerational Relationships1.1. The Non-Identity Problem1.2. Determining the Nature of Intergenerational Relationships2. The Importance of Independence2.1. Natural and Substantial Independence2.2. Independence and Disability2.3. Independence v. the Significance of Dependence2.4. Independence v. Autonomy2.5. Independence as a Non-Contingent Notion2.6. Independence and the Future of Morality3. Who is Responsible? Exculpating Parents4. ConclusionBibliographyIndex