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Genetic Enhancement in Sports: The Role of Reason and Private Rationalities in the Public Arena

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 March 2011


Reviews of philosophical books run the risk of being either excessively and unconstructively critical or superficially praiseworthy. To avoid both these risks, we test the approach outlined by Häyry in his book Rationality and the Genetic Challenge: Making People Better? by applying it to an eighth genetic challenge, namely, a variation of the genetic enhancement challenge discussed by Häyry as it applies to sports. We assess whether genetic enhancement in sports should be conceived as an eighth wonder or an eighth cardinal sin that stems from the interaction between genetics and society, question whether Häyry’s nonconfrontational approach is really useful for dealing with these issues, and discuss how his method can be improved.

Special Section: Methodology in Philosophical Bioethics
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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5. See note 1, Häyry 2010:43.

6. See note 1, Häyry 2010:50.

7. See note 1, Häyry 2010:238.

8. See note 1, Häyry 2010:239.

9. For such a discussion, see also Savulescu J. Doping true to the spirit of sport. The Sydney Morning Herald 2007 Aug 8, available at (last accessed 20 Aug 2010); Tamburrini C. Are doping sanctions justified? A moral relativistic view. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics 2006;9(2):199–211; available at (last accessed 22 Aug 2010).

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15. See note 11, WADA 2009:8

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26. See note 1, Häyry 2010:50.

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33. For a discussion of the criteria of reason acceptability, see note 29, Gutmann, Thompson 2004:Chap. V.

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