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Who's Afraid of the Human Genome Project?

Philip Kitcher
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1994, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1994), pp. 313-321
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192941
Page Count: 9
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Who's Afraid of the Human Genome Project?
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Abstract

There are a number of controversies surrounding the Human Genome Project (HGP). Some criticisms are based on the contention that the full human sequence will be scientifically worthless; others stem from short-term worries about the social impact of genetic testing and the release of genetic information about individuals. I argue that, properly understood, the HGP is a valuable scientific project with a misleading name, that the moral issues surrounding the short-term difficulties are relatively straightforward but that there are problems of practical politics in implementing the obvious solutions. Finally, I suggest that the HGP serves as the occasion for raising deeper philosophical questions about our commitment to improve the quality of human lives.

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