From Aristotle to Sandel: Where to cut the line in gene-editing for nature?

Ka Cheong Chun

    Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


    In The Case against Perfection, Michael Sandel advances an interesting position regarding human genetic engineering (HGE) and related biotechnologies. He holds that, while HGE for therapeutic purposes is justifiable, it is illegitimate if it is done for enhancement purposes. His position is interesting because of the reasons he gives. Sandel argues that HGE for enhancement would be an attempt at “hyper-agency” at the expense of our “appreciation of the gifted character of human powers and achievements.” His conception of the “giftedness of life” is worth examining, when, in particular, he connects it with his so-called “three key features of our moral landscape – humility, responsibility, and solidarity.” Whether one agrees with Sandel or not, his position would have an important implication for how one may conceive an ethical framework for HGE and related biotechnologies. In this paper, I will interrogate Sandel’s position by confronting it with the Aristotelian teleological conception of human nature. When Sandel meets Aristotle, would his position, which he claims is imbued with “a religious sensibility,” stand or be undermined? This is the question I will explore in the paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusNot published / presented only - 7 Sep 2019
    EventResponsibility and Disruption: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Human Research and Advanced Technologies - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
    Duration: 8 Sep 20198 Sep 2019


    ConferenceResponsibility and Disruption: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Human Research and Advanced Technologies
    Country/TerritoryHong Kong


    • gene-editing
    • Aristotle
    • Sandel

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