Life, Death, Genes, and Ethics: Biotechnology and Bioethics

By Max J. Charlesworth | Go to book overview

Six
CONTROLLING THE BIOTECHNOLOGICAL GENIE

'The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. The principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise . . . Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.'

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty1


Legal Versus Voluntary Regulation

I have said several times that Australia has been a leader not only in scientific research in the new reproductive technology

-117-

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Life, Death, Genes, and Ethics: Biotechnology and Bioethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Boyer Lectures *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Bioethics and Democracy--A Fundamental Question 1
  • One - Introduction 13
  • Two - New Ways of Birth 35
  • Three - New Ways of Dying 55
  • Four - The Ethics of the Genes 80
  • Five - Bioethics: Commitees, Experts, and the Community 96
  • Six - Controlling the Biotechnological Genie 117
  • Notes 134
  • Bibliography 142
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