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8 - Artifactual species

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2012

Ronald L. Sandler
Affiliation:
Northeastern University, Boston
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Summary

The previous two chapters considered the ethics of modifying species, both human and nonhuman. The focus was on organisms that fit imperfectly into existing species categories. However, some engineered organisms may not fall even partially into preexisting species categories, either because they are not created from biological materials or because the biological materials that comprise them are so thoroughly recombined and reengineered. Such organisms would not be interspecific. Instead, they would constitute artificially selected, de novo species, or artifactual organisms and species.

As with transgenics and transhumans, differential extrinsic evaluation of artifactual organism research programs and applications is needed. Some will be hasty, risky, and unnecessary, while others will address significant social and environmental problems in incremental, controlled, and responsible ways. What is distinctive about artifactual organisms and species is the extent to which they are designed and engineered by us – that is, their artifactualness. This chapter concerns whether their artifactualness has any ethical significance. If it does not, then creating novel organisms and species does not raise any unique ethical concerns and, as is the case with transgenics, evaluation of them and public policy regarding them should focus on extrinsic considerations. The next section provides a brief overview of some varieties of artifactual organisms. The subsequent sections address whether “artifactualness” is a value relevant property for the types of value possessed by nonartifactual organisms and species.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Ethics of Species
An Introduction
, pp. 180 - 197
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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  • Artifactual species
  • Ronald L. Sandler, Northeastern University, Boston
  • Book: The Ethics of Species
  • Online publication: 05 November 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139151221.009
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  • Artifactual species
  • Ronald L. Sandler, Northeastern University, Boston
  • Book: The Ethics of Species
  • Online publication: 05 November 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139151221.009
Available formats
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Artifactual species
  • Ronald L. Sandler, Northeastern University, Boston
  • Book: The Ethics of Species
  • Online publication: 05 November 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139151221.009
Available formats
×