The Case Against Perfection

  • Filename: the-case-against-perfection.
  • ISBN: 9780674036383
  • Release Date: 2009
  • Number of pages: 162
  • Author: Michael J Sandel
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press

What is wrong with re-engineering genetics? In this work, Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. He contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda.


  • Filename: the-case-against-perfection.
  • ISBN: UVA:X030110396
  • Release Date: 2007
  • Number of pages: 176
  • Author: Michael J Sandel
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press

Believing the quest to attain human perfection endangers the view of human life as a gift, argues against proposals to bioengineer human life through cloning and gene modification.

Public Philosophy

  • Filename: public-philosophy.
  • ISBN: 0674019288
  • Release Date: 2005
  • Number of pages: 292
  • Author: Michael J. Sandel
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press

In this book, Michael Sandel takes up some of the hotly contested moral and political issues of our time, including affirmative action, assisted suicide, abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, the meaning of toleration and civility, the gap between rich and poor, the role of markets, and the place of religion in public life. He argues that the most prominent ideals in our political life--individual rights and freedom of choice--do not by themselves provide an adequate ethic for a democratic society. Sandel calls for a politics that gives greater emphasis to citizenship, community, and civic virtue, and that grapples more directly with questions of the good life. Liberals often worry that inviting moral and religious argument into the public sphere runs the risk of intolerance and coercion. These essays respond to that concern by showing that substantive moral discourse is not at odds with progressive public purposes, and that a pluralist society need not shrink from engaging the moral and religious convictions that its citizens bring to public life.

Better than Human

  • Filename: better-than-human.
  • ISBN: 9780199797998
  • Release Date: 2011-07-01
  • Number of pages: 256
  • Author: Allen Buchanan
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Is it right to use biomedical technologies to make us better than well or even perhaps better than human? Should we view our biology as fixed or should we try to improve on it? College students are already taking cognitive enhancement drugs. The U.S. army is already working to develop drugs and technologies to produce "super soldiers." Scientists already know how to use genetic engineering techniques to enhance the strength and memories of mice and the application of such technologies to humans is on the horizon. In Better Than Human, philosopher-bioethicist Allen Buchanan grapples with the ethical dilemmas of the biomedical enhancement revolution. Biomedical enhancements can make us smarter, have better memories, be stronger, quicker, have more stamina, live much longer, avoid the frailties of aging, and enjoy richer emotional lives. In spite of the benefits that biomedical enhancements may bring, many people instinctively reject them. Some worry that we will lose something important-our appreciation for what we have or what makes human beings distinctively valuable. Others assume that biomedical enhancements will only be available to the rich, with the result that social inequalities will worsen. Buchanan shows that the debate over enhancement has been distorted by false assumptions and misleading rhetoric. To think clearly about enhancement, we have to acknowledge that human nature is a mixed bag and that our species has many "design flaws." We should be open be open to the possibility of becoming better than human, while never underestimating the risks that our attempts to improve may back-fire.

The Case Against Punishment

  • Filename: the-case-against-punishment.
  • ISBN: 0814731589
  • Release Date: 2005-01
  • Number of pages: 219
  • Author: Deirdre Golash
  • Publisher: NYU Press

What ends do we expect and hope to serve in punishing criminal wrongdoers? Does the punishment of offenders do more harm than good for American society? In The Case against Punishment, Deirdre Golash addresses these and other questions about the value of punishment in contemporary society. Drawing on both empirical evidence and philosophical literature, this book argues that the harm done by punishing criminal offenders is ultimately morally unjustified. Asserting that punishment inflicts both intended and unintended harms on offenders, Golash suggests that crime can be reduced by addressing social problems correlated with high crime rates, such as income inequality and local social disorganization. Punishment may reduce crime, but in so doing, causes a comparable amount of harm to offenders. Instead, Golash suggests, we should address criminal acts through trial, conviction, and compensation to the victim, while also providing the criminal with the opportunity to reconcile with society through morally good action rather than punishment.

Against Autonomy

  • Filename: against-autonomy.
  • ISBN: 9781107024847
  • Release Date: 2012-11-08
  • Number of pages: 206
  • Author: Sarah Conly
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Argues that laws that enforce what is good for the individual's well-being, or hinder what is bad, are morally justified.

The Case Against Assisted Suicide

  • Filename: the-case-against-assisted-suicide.
  • ISBN: 0801867924
  • Release Date: 2002-02-27
  • Number of pages: 371
  • Author: Kathleen M. Foley
  • Publisher: JHU Press

"A major contribution to our understanding of the practice, theory, and limitations of assisted suicide and euthanasia in seriously ill patients. The book is superbly written and intellectually challenging. I am convinced that it will become standard reading for all -- whether advocates or opponents of assisted suicide -- who want to think more deeply and learn more about what we need to do to improve end-of-life care." -- The Lancet "The writing is of uniformly high quality, and the book achieves stylistic consistency while still reflecting an individual voice in each chapter. The book is sorely needed." -- New England Journal of Medicine "The methods of palliative care, or comfort care, have in the past few decades reached a level of effectiveness such that suffering thought at first to be intractable can almost always be relieved. And this is the ultimate message of this vastly important book that now makes its timely appearance." -- New Republic

Babies by Design

  • Filename: babies-by-design.
  • ISBN: 0300138571
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Number of pages: 279
  • Author: Ronald M. Green
  • Publisher: Yale University Press

Product Description: We stand on the brink of unprecedented growth in our ability to understand and change the human genome. New reproductive technologies now enable parents to select some genetic traits for their children, and soon it will be possible to begin to shape ourselves as a species. Despite the loud cries of alarm that such a prospect inspires, Ronald Green argues that we will, and we should, undertake the direction of our own evolution. A leader in the bioethics community, Green offers a scientifically and ethically informed view of human genetic self-modification and the possibilities it opens up for a better future. Fears of a terrible Brave New World or a new eugenics movement are overblown, he maintains, and in the more likely future, genetic modifications may improve parents' ability to enhance children's lives and may even promote social justice. The author outlines the new capabilities of genomic science, addresses urgent questions of safety that genetic interventions pose, and explores questions of parenting and justice. He also examines the religious implications of gene modification. Babies by design are assuredly in the future, Green concludes, and by making responsible choices as we enter that future, we can incorporate gene technology in a new age of human adventure.

What Money Can t Buy

  • Filename: what-money-can-t-buy.
  • ISBN: 9781846144714
  • Release Date: 2012
  • Number of pages: 244
  • Author: Michael J. Sandel
  • Publisher: Penguin UK

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for-profit prisons, auctioning admission to elite universities, or selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? Isn't there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life-medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. In What Money Can't Buy, Sandel examines one of the biggest ethical questions of our time and provokes a debate that's been missing in our market-driven age: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society, and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?

Ethics and College Sports

  • Filename: ethics-and-college-sports.
  • ISBN: 074251272X
  • Release Date: 2004-01-01
  • Number of pages: 193
  • Author: Peter A. French
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Explores ethical questions surrounding intercollegiate athletics in American universities, discussing the true nature of amateurism, the belief that sports act as a path to good moral character, and sports programs as a source of university income.

Human Enhancement

  • Filename: human-enhancement.
  • ISBN: 0199594961
  • Release Date: 2010-10-28
  • Number of pages: 432
  • Author: Julian Savulescu
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford

To what extent should we use technological advances to try to make better human beings? Leading philosophers debate the possibility of enhancing human cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and controlling aging. Would this take us beyond the bounds of human nature? These are questions that need to be answered now.

Beyond Humanity The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement

  • Filename: beyond-humanity-the-ethics-of-biomedical-enhancement.
  • ISBN: 9780199587810
  • Release Date: 2011-01-01
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Author: Allen E. Buchanan
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford

Biotechnologies already on the horizon will enable us to be smarter, have better memories, be stronger and quicker, have more stamina, live longer, be more resistant to diseases, and enjoy richer emotional lives. To some of us, these prospects are heartening; to others, they are dreadful. In Beyond Humanity a leading philosopher offers a powerful and controversial exploration of urgent ethical issues concerning human enhancement. These raise enduring questions about what itis to be human, about individuality, about our relationship to nature, and about what sort of society we should strive to have. Allen Buchanan urges that the debate about enhancement needs to be informed by a proper understanding of evolutionary biology, which has discredited the simplistic conceptions ofhuman nature used by many opponents of enhancement. He argues that there are powerful reasons for us to embark on the enhancement enterprise, and no objections to enhancement that are sufficient to outweigh them.

Our Posthuman Future

  • Filename: our-posthuman-future.
  • ISBN: 0312421710
  • Release Date: 2003-05-01
  • Number of pages: 288
  • Author: Francis Fukuyama
  • Publisher: Macmillan

A decade after his now-famous pronouncement of "the end of history," Francis Fukuyama argues that as a result of biomedical advances, we are facing the possibility of a future in which our humanity itself will be altered beyond recognition. Fukuyama sketches a brief history of man's changing understanding of human nature: from Plato and Aristotle to the modernity's utopians and dictators who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama argues that the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person's descendants will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken with the best of intentions. In Our Posthuman Future, one of our greatest social philosophers begins to describe the potential effects of genetic exploration on the foundation of liberal democracy: the belief that human beings are equal by nature.

Fair Play

  • Filename: fair-play.
  • ISBN: 9780813349206
  • Release Date: 2014-08-05
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Author: Robert L. Simon
  • Publisher: Westview Press

A comprehensive and accessible exploration of competitive sports, ethical theory, and the concrete moral dilemmas in athletic competition.

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