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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 4, 1998

Bioethics and Medical Ethics

Maria Patrão Neves
Pages 112-117

Le Respect pour la Nature Humaine: Exigence Éthique et Obligation Légale

Nowadays, man possess a power of intervention on nature without precedent, bearing not only upon the physical environment, but also upon the biological environment. In this study we intend to reflect first on the ethical and legal implications of the utilization of "genetic engineering" on plants and animals. On that point of view, we will insist on the issue of the relations between man and nature. Secondly, we will deal with the ways of application of genetic engineering to humans. We will be positioned, not anymore at the level of the relationship that man has with its natural environment, but at that relationship man has with human nature. We will examine the ethical and legal implications of the human genome project (analysis and screening), and of genetic therapy (somatic cells and germinal cells). On that point of view we will insist on the issue of the relations of man, in its singularity, with mankind, in its universality. We will conclude for the affirmation of an indispensable respect for Nature, which builds up as an inalienable ethics, which law institutes as unavoidable obligation.

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