Wrongful Life, Wrongful Disability, and the Argument against Cloning

Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):257-272 (2007)
Philosophical problems with the concept of wronging someone in bringing the person into existence, especially the non-identity problem, have been much discussed in connection with forms of assisted reproduction that carry risks of harms either greater than or not otherwise present in natural reproduction. In this essay, I discuss the meaning of claims of wrongful life, distinguishing them from claims of wrongful disability. Attempts to conceptualize wrongful disability in terms of either the harmed existence of the offspring, or the possibility of less harmful alternatives, are found unsatisfactory. A contractualist approach that provides an account of wronging that is independent of harming is considered. Finally, I present a new approach that necessitates an account of reasons for procreation that could justify harm to the offspring. These reasons are not the kind that require or prohibit actions of certain types, but refl ect what theagent sees as intrinsically valuable in acting
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2007_20
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