The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 2007


Tuija Takala
Pages 245-249

Designer Babies and Treating People as a Means

Among the many ethical problems brought about by the latest developments in medical sciences is the possibility of creating "designer" babies. In this paper I will look at one such a case from the viewpoint of the Kantian "humanity principle". The various aspects of treating people as a means that can be brought up in discussions about "designer" babies are scrutinised. These will obviously include treating the future child as a mere means, but the proper role of the mother and others involved are also looked at. I will conclude by arguing that, contrary to the usual presuppositions, the humanity principle is of very limited use in discussions about designer babies, in this case and in others too.

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