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The Value of Artefactual Organisms

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Synthetic biology makes use of genetic and other materials derived from modern biological life forms to design and construct novel synthetic organisms. Artificial organisms are not constructed from parts of existing biological organisms, but from non-biological materials. Artificial and synthetic organisms are artefactual organisms. Here we are concerned with the non-instrumental value of such organisms. More specifically, we are concerned with the extent to which artefactual organisms have natural value, inherent worth and intrinsic value. Our conclusions are largely supportive of the value of artefactual organisms. However, they do not constitute a comprehensive ethical evaluation of them.

Keywords: artificial organisms; inherent worth; intrinsic value; natural value; synthetic biology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012

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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 (2015) of 1.311.
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