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Intrinsic Value and the Genetic Engineering of Animals

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The concept of intrinsic value is often invoked to articulate objections to the genetic engineering of animals, particularly those objections that are not directed at the negative effects the technique might have on the health and welfare of the modified animals. However, this concept was not developed in the context of genetic engineering. Given this external origin, this paper critically examines the assumption that the concept of intrinsic value is suitable to articulate and justify moral objections more specifically directed at the genetic engineering of animals. I discuss four different theories of intrinsic value, two of which defend a moral concept of intrinsic value and two a non-moral one. I conclude that only a particular non-moral concept of intrinsic value is suitable to express specific objections to genetic engineering, because these objections can only be defended in the form of indirect duties regarding animals.

Keywords: biocentrism; genetic engineering; intrinsic value; telos; zoocentrism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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