Note for PHIL 164 at UMass(2)
Note for PHIL 164 at UMass(2)
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by an elite notetaker on Friday February 6, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to a course at University of Massachusetts taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 18 views.
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Date Created: 02/06/15
Medical Ethics 050509 P1u1 1643 Spnng 09 1 Instructor KnsmfferAhlstrom leubrmpbzornmurredn 1 httppeopleumassedukahlstro164 ENHANCING INTELLIGENCE One ofthe more controvers1al areas ofpotent1al genet1c enhancement 1s that of 1ntell1gence One ofthe ma1n reasons people are worr1ed 1s because 1ntell1gence 1s taken to be a qu1te patem good espec1ally when compared to eg strength ofthe 1mmune system That 1s ra1s1ng 1ntell1gence w1ll 1t m1ght be argued have broader and more myg amm 1mpl1cat1ons for the 1nd1v1dual and consequently for the soc1ety than boost1ng1mmune systems But what zr1ntell1gencegt For present purposes let s assume that 1t s whatever that 1s measured by IQ tests Th1s does not need to be completely arb1trary What 1s 1nterest1ng 1s that largely regardless ofwhat method of measurement 1s used s1mllar results ar1se wh1ch 1s a fa1rly good 1nd1cat1on that there 1s mIm bmbsome robust phenomenonithat 1s be1ng measured WHAT WE KlIOW ABOUT INTELLIGENCE What do we know about the role ofgenes 1n 1ntell1gencegt That 1t onlypnmgy determJnes someone s 1ntell1gence The other part 1s played by mmmnmmmj m mc However what we don t know 1s how gmn a role each factor plays 1n the def term1nat1on ofan 1nd1v1dual s 1ntell1gence What we do know 1s that 1ntell1gence tends to be d1str1buted as follows 1n a populat1on Percentage cl group 55 70 85 3900 H5 130 M5 Th1s graph tells us a couple ofth1ngs First most people are ofaverage 1ntell1gence 1e towards the m1ddle ofthe bell curve and very few people are ofextremely h1gh or low 1ntell1gence 1e towards the 392le ends ofthe curve Second to the extent that genes are respons1ble for 1ntell1gence 1t 1s 11ker to not be a matter ofam gene but rather ofseveral genes the d1fferent comb1nat1ons ofwh1ch g1ve use to the d1str1but1on above SHOULD GENETIC RESEARCH ON INTELLIGENCE BE DONEgt One ofthe ma1n womes regard1ng genet1c research on 1ntell1gence 1s the follow1ng General worry The genet1c 1nformat1on obtaJned through research w1ll be used to d1v1de d1sadvantage and d1s7 empower people through the development ofgenet1c tests Th1s worry can be broken down 1n to several more spec1f1c worr1es Individual harm Genet1c 1nformat1on about 1ntell1gence w1ll cause psycholog1cal 1nury for example by be1ng taken as an 1nd1cat1on of capab1l1t1es or lack thereof result1ng 1n negat1ve re1nforcement and d1scouragement Relay Genetic tests if it were possible to apply them would be en e ieienl at predicting intelligence than current IQ tests The only difference between the two is that genetic tests can be used predictively although the best way to predict IQ is still to average the IQ of the parents Familial harm Genetic information about intelligence will harm a supportive family environment by detrimeni tally in uencing parental expectations of their children and allow for genetic blame in parenting Societal harm Individuals may suffer discrimination within society eg in educational and workplace arenas where those with the set ofgenes associated with low intelligence may be denied opportunities Group harm Genetic information generated from testing different racial and socioeconomic groups could be used in assessments of those individuals and groups potential at the expense of considerations of other impor7 tant social factors Repm Newsom and Williamson give a series of replies to these lines of thought a As in all casesithis one includediit is the role of the state to protect the rights ofindividuals and groups from discrimination hopefully by way other tools than the banning of research b Genetics will identify genes that contribute to differences within a particular group These genes may not afi fect the differences between groups and the same gene may have an altered significance in a different popula7 tion Consequently the applicability of results outside the group from which they were obtained will be dif cult c A similar point can be made about the individual A gene that functions to determine the range ofintelligence for a group may have no significance for an individual within that group d Several of the objections assume that intelligence will be genetically deleminedor immutable However that in telligence has a genetic component does not imply genetic determinism ie that genes determine as opposed to merely contribute to our features Probem a seems on point However b7d seems less so After all isn t the problem highlighted by the above worries that people might lreal genetic research as being applicable across groups and individuals and that they might Mink efgenetic contributions in terms of determination even if they re wrong That is isn t the problem that the research in question will be implemented in an imperfeel society where people make mistakes and some times base their policies on misconceptions AGAINST ENHANCEMENTS Say that we are able to pin down the genetic mechanisms behind intelligence Would it be morally hazardous to utilize that genetic knowledge for the purpose of enhancing people s intelligence Social worry Genetic enhancements create unfairness in society since it will give some people or groups of peoi ple an unfair advantage over others because some traditionally disadvantaged groups may wish to use the tech nology but be unable to afford it Relay We have been achieving the goal of optimizing intelligence by a variety ofmeans for centuries Those who object to enhancement would also have to object to private education Probem Doesn t a lot ofpeople object to private education in so far as it has exactly the feature that they fear en hancements ofintelligence will have namely an exacerbation ofinequalities with respect to access to that which makes for a ourishing life eg a good education
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