Bioethics 27 (8):411-418 (2013)

Synthetic biology can be understood as expanding the abilities and aspirations of genetic engineering. Nonetheless, whereas genetic engineering has been subject to criticism due to its endangering biodiversity, synthetic biology may actually appear to prove advantageous for biodiversity. After all, one might claim, synthesizing novel forms of life increases the numbers of species present in nature and thus ought to be ethically recommended. Two perspectives on how to spell out the conception of intrinsic value of biodiversity are examined in order to assess this line of thought. At the cost of introducing two separate capacities of human knowledge acquisition, the ‘admiration stance’ turns out to reject outright the assumption of a synthetic species' intrinsic value and of an imperative to create novel species. The ‘kinship stance’ by contrast does ascribe value to both synthetic and natural species and organisms. Nonetheless, while from this perspective creating novel species may become an ethical demand under certain conditions, it favours changing organisms by getting in contact with them rather than synthesizing them. It is concluded that neither the admiration nor the kinship stance warrants a supposed general moral obligation to create novel species to increase biodiversity
Keywords philosophy  biology  synthetic organism  biodiversity  value of life  bioethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/bioe.12051
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,700
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Role of Awe in Environmental Ethics.Katie Mcshane - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76 (4):473-484.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Synthetic Biology: A Challenge to Mechanical Explanations in Biology?Michel Morange - 2012 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):543-553.
Biodiversity and Biotechnology.Kathryn Paxton George - 1988 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1 (3):175-192.
The Conception of Life in Synthetic Biology.Anna Deplazes-Zemp - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):757-774.
Species Extinction and Collective Responsibility.Markku Oksanen - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:179-183.
What is Biodiversity?James Maclaurin & Kim Sterelny - 2008 - University of Chicago Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
64 ( #161,020 of 2,432,326 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #466,190 of 2,432,326 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes