Thursday, July 28, 2016

Principle Q and Reproduction

From guest blogger, Kara.

Principle Q can be viewed in a consequentialist paradigm with dangerous implications. If the only morally permissible option is the one with the best consequences, then Michael Phelps and Michelle Obama could be morally obligated to have the best superhuman swimmer, amazing armed babies. Assuming one is morally obligated to mate with the best gene option tiptoes the line of eugenics too close for comfort. However, the defense of Q wherein parents are only obligated to produce the best children that they are able to produce solves this issue.

But, what does “that they are able to produce” mean? That’s entirely subjective. Does it mean that the couple is able to produce? What about those looking for a sperm donor? Is one morally obligated to find the fittest sperm donor with the least gene imperfections? Is picking a sperm donor with known gene abnormalities morally impermissible? Where is the line to draw on obligation vs. ability?

Additionally, I think Q can be contrasted with the anti-abortion argument of a Future-Like-Ours. The Future-Like-Ours argument dictates that abortion is wrong because you are unjustly taking away the future of the fetus that would have entailed playing on a swingset, going for a run, eating a donut, and various other pleasures. Is cloning wrong with a Future-Like-Ours mindset because the clone will have significantly less future than a non-clone? Or-is denying the clone a life worse than giving them an opportunity for a future? 

1 comment:

Hannah Blum said...


I think your analogy with Michael Phelps and Michelle Obama is extremely funny but also relevant! It is extremely unfair and unjust to make people feel that they are not producing with the correct partner because they could have had a child that is more well-off with another partner. This would dissuade people from reproducing because of love and because they feel a desire to have a child. These two would completely contradict! I think that having a clone is better than denying them a future because for some couples this may be the only option! Perhaps adopting is immoral in some cultures because the child is not directly from their genes and culture. In this case, someone may want to have a clone, giving something a life that it wouldn't have had otherwise. Some homosexual couples may be particularly dissuaded by principle Q, because having the best child they can could be seen as having a child with a woman, and this would contradict people being able to marry whomever they want to. I think principle Q has too many arguments that would apply in all situations; therefore, it is not correct to follow.