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The Value of Artefactual Organisms

Ronald Sandler

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 43-61. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13225063227989


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.


Synthetic biology, artificial organisms, natural value, intrinsic value, inherent worth

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Synthetic Biology: Drawing a Line in Darwin's Sand. Christopher J. Preston

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: The Ethics of Engineering. John O’Neill

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