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Prenatal diagnosis, sense of security, and bioethics


I have uploaded the entire text of my paper, "Painless Civilization and Fundamental Sense of Security: A Philosophical Challenge in the Age of Human Biotechnology," Polylog 6, (2005). This paper is, in a sense, a summary of my thoughts for these five years. If you are interested in my recent philosophical discussions, I would strongly recommend to read it.

In this paper I discussed the concept of "fundamental sense of security" in the age of human biotechnology. I concluded that if prenatal diagnosis is "wrong," it is because it systematically deprives us of this fundamental sense of security.

Then what is the "fundamental sense of security"? In this paper I wrote:

This is the feeling that one’s existence is welcomed unconditionally.

That is to say,

This is a sense of security that allows me to strongly believe that even if I had been unintelligent, ugly, or disabled, at least my existence in the world would have been welcomed equally, and even if I succeed, fail, or become a doddering old man, my existence will continue to be welcomed.

Or put in other words,

This is a sense of security with which we can believe that we will never be glanced at by anyone with unspoken words, “I wish you were not born” or “I wish you would disappear from the world.”

Ok, imagine prenatal diagnosis or other technologies for selection of life. To use these technologies and "destroy" unwanted fetuses or fertilized eggs is equivalent to declare that "we wish you were not born" to existing disabled people. And even if you are not disabled person now, someday you might be considered to be an unwanted person by the majority people, and glanced at with unspoken words, “I wish you were not born.” And the progress of technologies for selection of life and the accumulation of this kind of unspoken consciousness gradually deprive us of the sense of security described above. This is the subtle but most important issue concerning prenatal diagnosis.

What do you think? You may not be persuaded by the above logic. Then please read the whole paper and give me a comment. In my book, Painless Civilization, the entire Chapter 2 is dedicated to this topic. It is really hard to summarize the discussion on this kind of issue.

See related post: Fundamental sense of security, disappearence of conviction of love (February 18, 2006)

Related External Links: Prenatal diagnosis and termination (A discussion from a different angle)

(To be continued...)

Photo: My office, Osaka Prefecture University

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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I will read the paper, at all we really JUDGE about life. we judge about life as we were god. I think every life has something good, there is maybe no bad life. I know problems of not beeing wanted. I often ask myself what is this new idea of the perfect man, the perfect genes, the perfect outlook, the perfect behaviour and so on. no doubt we live in times of superlatives, but are these ideas compatible to the idea of humanity and respect for life?? that´s the question that bothers me, thanks masahiro for your post, arash

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