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Intrinsic Value and the Genetic Engineering of Animals

R.B.M. deVries

Environmental Values 17(2008): 375-392. doi: 10.3197/096327108X343130


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.


Biocentrism, genetic engineering, intrinsic value, telos, zoocentrism

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