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What guidance might utilitarianism offer to questions relating to genetic engineering?

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Introduction

´╗┐What guidance might utilitarianism offer to questions relating to genetic engineering? The main principle of a utilitarianism is ? the greatest good for the greatest number? Genetic Engineering involves embryo research, selecting human genes, genetically engineering crops, alteration to human genes, stem cell research and much more. According to the utilitarian view, this should be assessed on the basis of its consequences. For a utilitarian, something is beneficial to the extent that it adds to enhancing the quality of human and animal life, and is harmful to the extent that is causes disease, or suffering in any form. Utilitarianism does not accept the principle that human life has absolute value and this should be upheld by whatever the consequences, but it attempts to look at each individual situation to promote the greatest happiness for those concerned. ...read more.

Middle

Also, individual talents like sporting talents or mathematical ability can be enhance. In response to utilitarianisms, they would say that the long-term consequences would be that more people would benefit from such research thus the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number is met. Bentham?s hedonic calculus can only be applied to those who suffer. Early embryos, it is assumes at this present stage; do not have the capacity to feel pain and so cannot be measured according to the hedonic calculus. However, the benefits of genetic engineering and embryo research are justifiable using the hedonic calculus. For example the pleasures brought about such as cures for diseases like Parkinson?s. Therefore it is possible to say, from a utilitarian point of view that it is better save many lives in the future by embryo research at the cost of a few embryos now. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore the cost and success rates is out weighed by the amount of pleasure. When considering stem cell research and genetically engineering crops, utilitarian?s would generally support these actions, as the majority would benefit from this research in the long term. For example, for those people who like to eat strawberries- who would protest against enhanced strawberries of the size of an apple. Without any other extraneous variables happening, no one would be at a disadvantage if they enhanced our foods. However, we should consider a number of problems with this. One of them being, causing disruption to the environment through cross-pollution. This could potentially cause harm to humans by causing allergic reactions or development of new diseases, thus the harm it creates is out weighed by its potential benefits. Additionally this could also lead to exploitation of the developing countries. Therefore it may bring less good about than it not existing before hand. ...read more.

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