Is the Creation of Admixed Embryos “an Offense against Human Dignity”?

Abstract
The controversy over the creation of admixed human- nonhuman embryos, and specifically of what have been termed “cybrids,” involves a range of ethical and political issues. It is not reducible to a single question. This paper focuses on one question raised by that controversy, whether creating admixed human-nonhuman entities is “an offense against human dignity.” In the last decade there has been sustained criticism of the use of the concept of human dignity within bioethics. The concept has been criticized as “vague” and “useless.” Nevertheless, the concept continues to be invoked in bioethical discussion and in international instruments. This paper defends a concept of human dignity that is coherent but that is wider than contemporary post- Kantian approaches. “Human dignity” is best regarded as having a set of analogically related meanings, more than one of which is relevant to the field of bioethics. A more subtle understanding of the concept of human dignity can hel identify what is ethically problematic in human-nonhuman combinations and so shed light on one aspect of the admixed embryo debate
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