Research that involves the creation of animals with human-derived parts opens the door to potentially valuable scientific and therapeutic advances, yet invokes unsettling moral questions. Critics and champions alike stand to gain from clear identification and careful consideration of the strongest ethical objections to this research. A prevailing objection argues that crossing the human/nonhuman species boundary introduces inexorable moral confusion (IMC) that warrants a restriction to this research on precautionary grounds. Though this objection may capture the intuitions of many who find this research unsettling, it relies on mistaken views of both biology and moral standing, ultimately distorting the morally relevant facts. We critically examine IMC, identify mistaken essentialist assumptions, and reframe ethical concerns. The upshot is a stronger line of objection that encourages a more inclusive and productive ethical discourse.
Open Peer Commentaries.
- Part-Human Animal Research: The Imperative to Move Beyond a Philosophical Debate
- Who Are My Parents? Why Assigning Moral Categories to Genealogical Relations Leads to More Confusion
- Uncanny Animals: Thinking Differently About Ethics and the Animal–Human Relationship
- Ontological Kinds Versus Biological Species
- The Two-Essence Problem That Wasn’t