Abstract 摘要

Genetic medicine has made so many unthinkable things possible these days that someday we might be able to determine the features of anyone's genetic profile. Once this is feasible, then the distribution of genetic profiles is no longer a matter of natural lottery. It is then to be decided by social institutions and to be assessed in term of social justice. This paper is concerned with the questions as to whether society then should provide genetic medical resources for parents so that the impact on opportunity of genetic inequalities could be neutralized or minimized, and whether society should bring about genetic equality. I answer both questions negatively from the perspective of a conception of justice, which I have been developing. I call this conception reasonable contractarianism, which holds that society owes to each member a duty to choose an institutional scheme that he or she (if properly motivated) could not reasonably reject. I argued that the brute luck view of equal opportunity, which might give positive answers to the questions I pose, is implausible. In my view, society is obligated to make sure that no one could complain that given his genetic profile, he would rather prefer not being born at all to living. To discharge this obligation, I argue, society should provide gene-based medical resources to help parents give birth to genetically healthy babies. Such provision is necessary for society to do what it owes to its members. I also argue that choosing an institutional scheme that respects the autonomy of family allows unequal distribution of resources, amounts to choosing a scheme that is unfair to those who are genetically inferior. Society should compensate for them. In the end, I suggest that in order not to fail to provide sufficient compensation, society might have to reduce the inequality of opportunity induced by the autonomy of family via genetic measures, despite that this is not what society owes to those who would come to exist with genetically inferior profiles.