Genetic Technology

’s Impact On Human Freedom Essay, Research Paper

Genetic technology, in specific, enhancement, would greatly improve one’s ability to be free. The positive arguments that can be made regarding this subject are many. However, in order to understand the impacts genetic technology will have on human freedoms, one must determine the meaning of freedom. Using the categories of freedom developed by Mortimer J. Adler, one can argue the numerous benefits of genetic technology and enhancement. These freedoms include Circumstantial Freedom of Self-Realization, Acquired Freedom of Self-Perfection, and Natural Freedom of Self-Determination.

For example, Circumstantial Freedom of Self-Realization is dependent on one’s given circumstances. Man has a will — a specific power with a distinctive activity. Decisions are made in order to attain the value which is believed to possess the greatest amount of realizable good under the prevailing circumstances. Genetic technology, in the way of enhancement, could improve one’s situation by extracting limiting attributes, both physical and mental. Debilitating diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and cancer could be eliminated before birth. Also, one could be given features and/or abilities that he or she would not have been given naturally, such as strength or mental ability. Thus, through this process, one’s ability to gain Circumstantial Freedom of Self-Realization would be greatly improved.

Second, one’s Acquired Freedom of Self-Perfection could also be further assisted through genetic enhancement. This freedom can be defined as one’s freedom to seek and attain their maximum potential or to be the best person one could possibly be. Bosanquet, a nineteenth century philosopher, refers to this as one’s true self. The abilities and attributes given to one through genetic enhancement, along with the extraction of debilitating features could provide the means necessary to lead an easier life. This in turn would allow the person more time and energy to devote to their self-realization and improvement.

Next, genetic technology could also aid in the development of one’s Natural Freedom of Self-Determination. In the widest sense, this type of freedom is the absence of external restraint that hinders one from expressing his or her self. In the strict sense, this freedom means the absence of an intrinsic necessity or determination in the performance of an act. Using this definition of freedom, genetic enhancement would eliminate all or most of the external restraints a person may have possessed otherwise, allowing this person more freedom. One might argue that providing the means for one to succeed in an area provides room for unnecessary pressure. However, the intrinsic determination to succeed in that area would also have to be present. The human will is a power which determines itself to act or not to act, to act this way or that way, as it desires.

Through these arguments, one can see the vast benefits of genetic technology and enhancement. It would allow for Circumstantial Freedom of Self-Realization, Acquired Freedom of Self-Perfection, and Natural Freedom of Self-Determination to be attained more easily. Genetic enhancement would benefit mankind in ways that no other technology has succeeded in to date.


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