David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Perspectives 10 (3):176-184 (2003)
In order to answer the question raised in the title of my paper, I first put forward a general ethical theory, which is based on the traditional maxim neminem laedere. Second, I show how this principle in conjunction with certain assumptions concerning the value of life entails certain fundamental bioethical principles. Thus killing a living being Y is morally wrong whenever the intrinsic value of the life that Y would otherwise live is positive. But procreating a living being Y is prima facie morally neutral, i.e. neither bad nor good. Third I will argue that the question of moral rights should always be reduced to the question of the morality of certain corresponding actions. In particular, granting Y a right to life should be taken to mean that it would be morally wrong if someone else were to set an end to Y’s life. In a similar vein, I suggest answers to some other questions of the reproductive rights issue. Fourth, with respect to the controversial issue of therapeutic and genuine cloning, I do not see any compelling moral reasons against this utopian way of procreating full-grown individuals.Nevertheless, I think there are a lot of other good reasons not to try to produce a human Dolly. Finally, as regards the use or abuse of human embryos as potential suppliers of stem-cells for the cure of other people’s diseases, it seems morally safe to perform experiments at least with those embryos which, like spare embryos that remained from measures of in vitro fertilization, would not have a life anyway. It’s more difficult to decide, however, whether it would be morally safe to produce embryos only for the sake of using them in the aforementioned way
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