Reproductive Ethics II: New Ideas and Innovations
Natural, Artificial, Technical innovation, Meaning of parenthood, Desire for children, Family
“New Ideas and Innovations” are constituted in relation to the status quo: what had been new becomes old when something yet newer appears. This truism draws attention to the necessity of thinking about the new in relation to what came before. In reproductive ethics, this means, in part, that mitochondrial donation, for example, must be understood in reference to “old” IVF. It also means that we must understand this and every other technique for manipulating, facilitating, or preventing conception in relation to the natural way or ways in which human beings come to be. The temporal and conceptual priority of nature to our technical, moral, and political innovations is inescapable, and yet we do not seem to have a clear understanding of what we presuppose nature to be when, for example, we approve of three-parent babies and disapprove of reproductive cloning. The prospects of a child arising from a single “parent” or from three parents shed fresh light on what it means for human beings to arise naturally from two. Thesis: Even if human sexuality is an evolutionary accident and provides no standard to which we should defer, it remains the reference point for thinking about all “new ideas and innovations” by which we strive to bring nature under our control and eliminate chance.
© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
Maher, Daniel P. "New Pitchforks and Furtive Nature." Reproductive Ethics II: New Ideas and Innovations. Edited by Lisa Campo-Engelstein and Paul Burcher. Springer International Publishing, 2018, pp. 113-123.