Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Genetic Justice Paper (posted)

My paper "Genetic Justice Must Track Genetic Complexity" is now posted here on Oxford's "Working Papers Series". That paper is forthcoming in Cambridge Healthcare Quarterly Ethics. Here is the abstract of the paper:


What values and principles should inform the regulation of new human genetic technologies (e.g. gene therapy)? To adequately answer this question we need an account of genetic justice. That is, an account of what constitutes a fair distribution of genetic endowments that influence our expected life-time acquisition of natural primary goods (health and vigor, intelligence and imagination). These are goods that every rational person has an interest in (Rawls, 1971). The decisions we now make regarding the regulation of human genetic technologies will determine how quickly and effectively these benefits are brought into existence, as well as who receives these benefits. In this paper I argue that a necessary condition of a defensible account of genetic justice is that it must track genetic complexity. Genetic complexity encompasses phenomena such as polygenetic traits, gene-gene interactions and complex environmental influences. More specifically, I argue that pluralistic prioritarianism is a theoretical position well-suited for tracking genetic complexity.