Scientific article

Germ-line engineering: a few European voices

Published inThe journal of medicine and philosophy, vol. 16, no. 6, p. 649-666
Publication date1991

We have surveyed various recent European opinions on germ-line engineering. The majority express more or less severe reservations about any interventions on the human germ-line, including therapeutic ones. However, they are divided over the pragmatic, or categorical-ethical nature of the relevant arguments. This split reflects two competing views of technology. The 'pessimistic' one is deeply concerned by the slippery slope leading from bona fide therapeutic applications of genetic engineering to eugenic practices. It insists that, if anything can defend us against these evils, it must be a set of strong, ethically-based prohibitions. The other, 'optimist' view is more confident in the discriminating powers of societal regulation. We argue for the latter view and suggest that the pragmatic arguments brought to this debate are less problematic than the ethical ones.

  • Embryo selection
  • Eugenics
  • Germ-line engineering
  • Human genetherapy
  • Slippery slope
Citation (ISO format)
MAURON, Alex, THEVOZ, Jean-Marie. Germ-line engineering: a few European voices. In: The journal of medicine and philosophy, 1991, vol. 16, n° 6, p. 649–666. doi: 10.1093/jmp/16.6.649
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0360-5310

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