1st Edition

Creating Future People The Ethics of Genetic Enhancement

By Jonathan Anomaly Copyright 2020
    126 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    126 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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

    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



    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).

    "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

    "[A]n excellent contribution to the ongoing debate about the ethics of genetic enhancement. The book’s brevity . . . is a real virtue, since the author covers an extraordinary amount of ground with clear, concise and robust argumentation. It is beautifully written and combines in exemplary fashion philosophical rigor with scientific literacy."
    David Archard in Bioethics

    "Anomaly has an admirable command of the technological advances being made with enhancement technologies and he addresses the ethical complexity of these developments with competence and insight. . . . His examination of cognitive enhancement is insightful and provocative, and effectively demonstrates why this is an issue that should be given serious consideration rather than blindly ignored or cavalierly embraced."
    Colin Farrelly in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews