Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Mainstream bioethics takes after a competitive, individualistic understanding of biology and is ultimately rooted in libertarian 19th-century values. These in turn drive much of the enthusiasm for transhumanism and explain why disability in bioethics is often characterised as a lamentable deficiency.
That, at least, is the concern raised by Tom Koch in his paper Disabling disability amid competing ideologies.1 He contrasts this paradigm with a cooperative, communal understanding of biology, and in turn, of bioethics—one which entails generally prioritising a socially cooperative and accommodating response to the fact that different humans have different capacities.
It is tempting to defensively nit-pick Koch’s criticisms; to conservatively argue that bioethics is fine as it is, thank you very much. That would be the wrong response, I think. His paper raises a crucial and often neglected issue, which is how the notion of human flourishing is implicitly characterised in these discussions. Nevertheless, I think there is a false dichotomy at the heart of this paper—one between the individualistic/competitive and the communal/cooperative—which overestimates the level of disagreement in bioethics.
Koch argues that at least some of the elements of a Darwinian competition have been smuggled into bioethics as unquestioned suppositions that inform much of the domain’s …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.