We're on in Bioethics to Michael Sandel's The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering ("The Ethics of Enhancement") and Richard Powers' Generosity: An Enhancement.
"Enhancement" is clearly the inescapable issue here. Enhanced for what, to what end, with what rationale?
In Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, Bill McKibben imagines several responses. Perhaps the road to enhancement will take us to Enchantment too, and answers (at last!) to the philosophers' perennial questions.
- Where did the universe come from?
- Why is there something rather than nothing?
"Not to be impolite, but for this we trade our humanity? Sure, these questions are important, especially the last one. But they're not all-important." Are we happy? might just be a better one...
- What is the meaning of conscious existence?
In my reply to group 4's post below, I suggest that as a class we offer our suggestions to Glenn McGee for improvements to the future 2d edition of his "Bioethics for Beginners":
Bioethics is in its infancy & needs to grow, mature, spread via education. To that end, maybe we can pass along to Glenn McGee a consensus view of how "Bioethics for Beginners" might improve in its next edition.Anyone have anything to add, from our lips to Glenn's ears?
We seemed to agree that its format (and price)are preferable to a conventional,compendious Vox Dei sort of mainstream textbook. But we also found context and background lacking, for some of the column "cases"... a paragraph-length patch is not enough to update a decade-old polemic, especially when almost every day's headlines delivers new bioethics developments for our consideration.
So, we look forward to the 2d edition. Meanwhile, class, I'll continue to review alternative possibilities for the next rendition of our course. Let me know if you have any specific suggestions too.