Should we be Epigenetically Proactive?

Stephan Schleim, Thomas Metzinger, Jennifer M. Windt
"Can we be epigenetically proactive?", is the question asked by Evers in her paper in this collection. After describing an original approach to using insights from the epigenesis of neural networks to develop new training and treatment programs, in particular to educate children and adolescents to become less violent and more sympathetic, the author suggests that there is a naturalistic responsibility for using science in this manner. In this commentary, I relate her proposal to the human
more » ... ement debate at large, with a focus on the prevalent concept of human wellbeing. After a discussion of the factors that account for people's quality of life and the role of research that allows them to decide the priorities for a good life themselves, three caveats against Evers's approach are presented: (1) that epigenetic intervention carries the risk of psychological side-effects; (2) that people's autonomy must be respected; and (3) that the world's situation may not be as bad as suggested by the author when describing the benefits of her proposal. It is therefore concluded that, at least for the time being and until these challenges are met, we should not be epigenetically proactive.
doi:10.15502/9783958570368 fatcat:kja23y2rnbayrf66igkulgq5uu