Cover: The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering, from Harvard University PressCover: The Case against Perfection in PAPERBACK

The Case against Perfection

Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$18.00 • £14.95 • €16.00

ISBN 9780674036383

Publication Date: 09/30/2009

Short

176 pages

Belknap Press

World

“Sandel explores a paramount question of our era: how to extend the power and promise of biomedical science to overcome debility without compromising our humanity. His arguments are acute and penetrating, melding sound logic with compassion.”—Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think

Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature—to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature?

The Case against Perfection explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda.

In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America’s preeminent moral and political thinkers.

Awards & Accolades

  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
Gravity’s Century: From Einstein’s Eclipse to Images of Black Holes, by Ron Cowen, from Harvard University Press [Pull quote: “A welcome addition.”—Nature]

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket, Menander Rhetor. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ars Rhetorica, edited and translated by William H. Race, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press

Speech! Speech!

Loeb Classical Library General Editor Jeffrey Henderson introduces four new volumes on oratory and rhetoric. In spring 2019 the Loeb Classical Library significantly expands its coverage in an area central to public life in both Greece and Rome: the theory and practice of formal speech. Already in Homer’s Iliad, heroism required

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.