Creating Future People: The Ethics of Genetic Enhancement, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Creating Future People

The Ethics of Genetic Enhancement, 1st Edition

By Jonathan Anomaly


110 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2020-02-17
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Creating Future People offers readers a fast-paced primer on how new genetic technologies will enable parents to influence the traits of their children, including their intelligence, moral capacities, physical appearance, and immune system. It deftly explains the science of gene editing and embryo selection, and raises the central moral questions with colorful language and a brisk style. Jonathan Anomaly takes seriously the diversity of preferences parents have, and the limits of public policy in regulating what could soon be a global market for reproductive technology. He argues that once embryo selection for complex traits happens it will change the moral landscape by altering the incentives parents face. All of us will take an interest in the traits everyone else selects, and this will present coordination problems that previous writers on genetic enhancement have failed to consider. Anomaly navigates difficult ethical issues with vivid language and scientifically informed speculation about how genetic engineering will transform humanity.

Key features:

  • Offers clear explanations of scientific concepts;
  • Explores important moral questions without academic jargon;
  • Brings discoveries from different fields together to give us a sense of where humanity is headed.


'This is an excellent, indeed outstanding little book. I am very familiar with the literature on biomedical enhancement, and before I read this manuscript, I was doubtful that there is anything really new and important to say about the topic. I was wrong. By focusing on collective action problems and negative externalities, Anomaly has done a great service.'

--Allen Buchanan, University of Arizona

'Thoughtful and provocative, Creating Future People makes a bold case in favour of altering our genome to benefit individuals and society as a whole. Combining insights from philosophy, biology and economics, Anomaly shines a light on many neglected aspects of genetic modification – including the potential for collective action problems and network effects. The book provides a timely addition to an increasingly important global debate.'

--Christopher Gyngell, University of Melbourne

Table of Contents

1. Smart People / Cognitive Enhancement

2. Good People / Moral Enhancement

3. Pretty People / Aesthetic Enhancement

4. Healthy People / Immuno-Enhancement

5. Synthetic People / Creating Life from Scratch


About the Author

Jonathan Anomaly is Associate Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and a visiting scholar at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University. He is the co-editor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (2015).

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