A couple of weeks ago, Hilde Linderman wrote about Ruth Macklin's listing of Susan Sherwin as one of the most prominent bioethicists. I met Susan last May in Stockholm, for Claudio Tamburrini's and Torbjorn Tannsjo's conference on sport, medicine and ethics. A number of other attendees are surely likely to grace these pages, but a word for Susan first. At the conference, Susan presented her 'relational' approach to ethics in a paper titled: Sports, Genetic Enhancement, and Autonomy. Here are some notes I made during the presentation:
Should we welcome/resign/resist – social policy or indiv choice? – Francoise Bayliss/ - oppose – to pursue GE = research prog – sports req different kinds of body type – enthusiasm for GE = popular reductionism – avoid enthusiasm welcome – also reject 2nd (resign) – beleief in efficacy will lead to demand (!) – resigned acceptance is self-fulfilling- reject inevitability – opt for resistance – social policy, not indiv choice – indiv choice: autonomy as informed choice – prog grants to challenge rights based – for some implices reduced autonomy – must include right to refuse – but in sport not possible – broader implic for young athletes – most likely to be applied in adolesecenc, this is bad time – cannot claim ‘informed’ – challenge indiv – reject trad economy defences – reject indiv autonomy and personhood and supplement w relational theory – persns as partially contested by social relations – liberal theorie treat self-hood as indiv, relations -= selfhood as ongoing project – wht are t proceses by which a person holds certain prefers – fem theory – irrationality based on consensus (irrational to resist conformity – become irrational NOT to select enhancement – excellence as GM conveys something to those who are genetically deficitine – new expctation for improvement – entrenches legitimacy of comp (social Darwinism) – precautionary principle needed – excellence is not GM, but social programes – less sexy perhaps
ME: what else shouldn’t we have done based on this model?
I rather liked Susan's presentation and there is much to debate from her proposition. The listing of Susan as a most prominent bioethicist was published in The Hastings Center Report. I will visit The Hastings Center again later this year for a project led by Tom Murray.