chapter  11
14 Pages

CATEGORICAL OBJECTIONS TO GENETIC ENGINEERING—A CRITIQUE

WithMatti Häyry

When new genetic technologies are examined and assessed in the ethical framework, two general types of objection are usually presented. First, some theorists appeal to the predictable consequences of employing gene technology. The core idea of the objection is to claim that the evil probably produced by genetic engineering exceeds the benefits probably flowing from its use. This approach has been dubbed in the literature ‘pragmatic’ or ‘consequentialist’. Second, there are theorists who reject the first approach as amoral, and argue that ethical evaluations should always proceed from purely ethical considerations. Arguments of this second type can be labelled as ‘categorical’ or ‘deontological’, and they range from complex theological accounts to simple common-sense expressions of disapproval.