Archive for July, 2012

The first goal of this meeting was to explore why we (the human community) all disagree so much. Haidt and Graham claim that moral decisions are made on the basis of one or more of what they call the Five Foundations of Morality: harm, reciprocity, ingroup, hierarchy, and purity.

We are interested in how eugenic ideas could shape policy and behavior, and investigating different moral ontological approaches to the concept goes beyond this scope. We instead define five practical ethical principles: pleasure/pain, choice, duty/obedience, disgust (yuck factor), and harmony/virtue ethics. This brings the discussion down from the realm of the metaphysical to a practical realm more suited to the concerns of this forum.

Below is a table showing each of the five principles and thought processes or behaviors that arise when one is more concerned for the self or others. Basic philosophies are shown in green and corresponding reproductive behaviors are shown in red.



Considering that people do not agree on what defines a “person,” or if there is such thing, it becomes very difficult to determine how we should treat people. This makes practical application of eugenics policies unclear…which leads to much controversy (e.g. abortion, embryo selection, mandated sterilization) .

As a group, we shared our own thoughts and views on eugenic policies. Several were advocates of self choice with no imposed restrictions on reproduction. Others were fans of eugenic regulations such as mandated prenatal screening, mandated universal education, one child policies, forced contraception after a parent has several children removed from their care, imposed slow life history (although we are unsure how this would be accomplished), or mandated early life contraception (a couple could have the contraception lifted after applying to have a child).

Even within our small intellectual group, there was much disagreement. So who knows where the future of eugenics is headed…


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