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Individualist ethical analyses in the enhancement debate have often prioritised or only considered the interests and concerns of parents and the future child. The collectivist critique of the human enhancement debate argues that rather than pure individualism, a focus on collectivist, or group-level ethical considerations is needed for balanced ethical analysis of specific enhancement interventions. Here, I defend this argument for the insufficiency of pure individualism. However, existing collectivist analyses tend to take a negative approach that hinders them from adequately contributing to balanced ethical analysis, and often leads to a prohibitive stance. I argue this is due to two common problems with collectivist analyses: inappropriate acceptance of individualist assumptions, and failure to appropriately weigh individual vs collective ethical considerations. To further develop the collectivist critique in the enhancement debate, I suggest we may look to collectivism in public health ethics, which avoids these problems.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Health Care Philos

Publication Date





721 - 730


Collectivism, Genome editing, Human enhancement, Individualism, Medical ethics, Child, Humans, Individuality, Morals