Stem cell research, personhood and sentience

Abstract
In this paper the permissibility of stem cell research on early human embryos is defended. It is argued that, in order to have moral status, an individual must have an interest in its own wellbeing. Sentience is a prerequisite for having an interest in avoiding pain, and personhood is a prerequisite for having an interest in the continuation of one's own existence. Early human embryos are not sentient and therefore they are not recipients of direct moral consideration. Early human embryos do not satisfy the requirements for personhood, but there are arguments to the effect that they should be treated as persons nonetheless. These are the arguments from potentiality, symbolic value and the principle of human dignity. These arguments are challenged in this paper and it is claimed that they offer us no good reason to believe that early human embryos should be treated as persons.
Keywords persons  sentience  research ethics
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Citations of this work BETA
Aaron Rizzieri (2012). Stem Cell Research on Embryonic Persons Is Just. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (Browse Results) 9 (2):195-203.
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John A. Robertson (1999). Ethics and Policy in Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9 (2):109-136.
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