How Liberal is (the Liberal Critique of) a Liberal Eugenics?

  • Nathan Van Camp University of Antwerp, Belgium
Keywords: liberal eugenics, genetic enhancement, bioethics


This article critically surveys the current bioethical and politico-philosophical debate about the ethical permissibility of a so-called ‘liberal eugenics’ and argues that neither the liberal argument for nor the liberal argument against human genetic enhancement is internally consistent as, ultimately, each ends up violating the very liberal principles it nonetheless pretends to defend. In particular, it will be shown that while the argument against a new eugenics necessarily entails a preemptive dehumanization of any potential enhanced form of life, the argument for it threatens to reduce any non-enhanced form of life to a “wrongful life” or a life not worth living. It will therefore be concluded that the specific stakes of this contentious issue cannot be grasped within a liberal conceptual framework.

How to Cite
Van Camp, N. (2014). How Liberal is (the Liberal Critique of) a Liberal Eugenics?. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 7(26), 223-238. Retrieved from