Embryos, Individuals, and Persons: An Argument Against Embryo Creation and Research

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Abstract:

One strategy for arguing that it should be legally permissible to create human embryos, or to use of spare human embryos, for scientific research purposes involves the claim that such embryos cannot be persons because they are not human individuals while twinning may yet take place. Being a human individual is considered to be by most people a necessary condition for being a human person. I argue first that such an argument against the personhood of embryos must be rationally conclusive if their destruction in public places such as laboratories is to be countenanced. I base this argument on a popular understanding of the role that the notion of privacy plays in abortion law. I then argue that such arguments against personhood are not rationally conclusive. The claim that the early embryos is not a human individual is not nearly as obvious as some assert.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5930.00174

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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