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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 2007

Ethics

Jerzy Pelc
Pages 235-244
DOI: 10.5840/wcp2120071299

Human Cloning and Organ Transplants vs. Definition of Human Being
A Philosophical Point of View

In bioethical discussions of human cloning there are sometimes employed definitions broadening the denotation of the term human being to include also, on an equal footing, human embryos. Also, the fact of being human is being equated with being a person. Consequently, embryos are treated as having dignity and calls are heard in the name of justice to protect the rights and interests of embryos whenever these clash with the interests of mature human beings. The author, being a layman in the area of human cloning, limits himself to indicating views he agrees with and those he finds doubtful. He expects human cloning will be taking place, albeit on a small scale, regardless of any bans which would only force the practice to become clandestine. Arguments in favor of controlled human cloning include not only the need to preserve freedom in scientific research, but also hopes for minimizing the adverse effects of cloning. The author indicates factors of an emotional nature which hamper discussions of cloning. He also argues that objections to experiments with humans and demands to make them conditional on prior consent of the people being experimented on are ineffective and often impossible to satisfy. The author also believes that it is impossible to unconditionally obey the commandment "You shall not kill". He does not see any threats posed by the fact that the clone and the cloned person will be identical. While not overlooking the potential dangers to clones (such as genetic defects), the author also sees potential advantages of cloning and transplantology (therapeutic, psychic, social).

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