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Authenticity, reproductive decisions, and moral life: The role of authenticity in reproductive decision making

Custers, Laura; (2023) Authenticity, reproductive decisions, and moral life: The role of authenticity in reproductive decision making. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In this thesis, I argue that authenticity is important in reproductive decision-making. By ‘important’, I mean the following. Reasons of authenticity have normative force, which is distinct from the normative force of reasons of morality. These norms should guide our behaviour in decisions about reproduction. In some cases, agents should give priority to reasons of authenticity even when these reasons conflict with the prescriptions of ethical theories. First, I formulate and defend an account of authenticity based on Varga’s and Frankfurt’s work. My account of authenticity is centred around agent’s wholeheartedly endorsed commitments. Wholeheartedly endorsed commitments are desires the agent identifies with, which display the features of continuity, centrality, and submission. Second, I develop a novel argument for the permissibility of causing disability based on the importance of authenticity. I argue that even if we assume that there is a negative relationship between well-being and disability, causing disability is sometimes permissible because of the importance of authenticity in reproductive decisions. In particular, I argue that it is permissible for an agent to cause a disabled person to exist instead of a non-disabled person, if having a disabled child is the only way for her to make an authentic procreative decision. Third, I focus on the role of authenticity in the recent debate about decision-making in situations of moral uncertainty. I argue against hedging theories. These theories prescribe that in cases of moral uncertainty one should allow for an increase in the chances of acting wrongly, if this decreases the probability of acting severely wrongly. By looking at cases where agents make reproductive decisions based on the prescriptions of hedging theories, I argue that following the prescriptions of hedging theories conflict with the agent’s ability to engage in authentic action.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Authenticity, reproductive decisions, and moral life: The role of authenticity in reproductive decision making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10178104
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