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Applying Bostrom's Reversal Test to check the Principle of Procreative Beneficence's major critiques for the Status Quo Bias

Julian Savulescu believes parents have a moral duty to use reproductive technologies like IVF and Prenatal screening to choose the best possible child. According to his principle of Procreative Beneficence, one should select the best child of the possible children one could have. However, this principle has attracted numerous critiques from numerous authors. This paper aims to demonstrate that most critiques suffer from a status quo bias. It means that these critiques overly emphasize the possible negative outcomes concerning the principle of Procreative Beneficence because these critiques have an implicit affinity toward the status quo. The affinity for the status quo renders these critiques unable to appreciate the potential positive outcomes of applying the principle of Procreative Beneficence. Some authors argue that these critiques overemphasize the potential negative outcomes. I employ Nick Bostrom's Reversal Test to check these critiques for implicit Status Quo Bias. In Bostrom's Reversal Test, we consider the desired trait, often a positive deviation from the status quo. Suppose we find selecting the embryo with the desired trait ethically contentious. In that case, we imagine selecting an embryo that lacks that desired trait and is a negative deviation from the Status Quo. If we find the latter also problematic, we conclude that choosing the embryo with the desired trait seems ethically contentious because of our affinity to the Status Quo, also called the Status Quo Bias. The thesis accomplishes two tasks. First, it analyzes the various critiques for the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. Second and last, it employs Bostrom's Reversal Test to check these critiques for any potential Status Quo Bias and concludes that PPB’s primary critiques do indeed suffer from the Status Quo Bias. / Thesis / Candidate in Philosophy
Date January 2023
CreatorsSingh, Karanveer
ContributorsBinik, Ariella, Philosophy
Source SetsMcMaster University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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