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The Impact of New Life Sciences Innovation on Political Theories of Justice

Papaioannou, T

February 2010


New life sciences innovation offers the possibility of new conceptions of human nature with significant impact on liberal theories of justice. So far, nature as such has been thought to be something given and beyond human control. Thus, to define something as natural has been to relegate it to the realm of fortune or misfortune, rather than justice or injustice. However, the successful decoding of human genome and subsequent advances of genomics-based technologies begins to change this conception to a new one: nature can be something dynamic and within human control. Therefore, genomics-based technologies can make possible the just distribution of natural goods (rationality, intelligence, etc). Can liberal political theories successfully deal with this new possibility of justice? This paper answers the question by briefly assessing three theories: Rawls’s egalitarianism, Nozick’s libertarianism and Sen’s capability theory of justice.

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