WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 21

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Biocentrism and Artificial Life

Robin Attfield

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 83-94. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13225063228069


Biocentrism maintains that all living creatures have moral standing, but need not claim that all have equal moral significance. This moral standing extends to organisms generated through human interventions, whether by conventional breeding, genetic engineering, or synthetic biology. Our responsibilities with regard to future generations seem relevant to non-human species as well as future human generations and their quality of life. Likewise the Precautionary Principle appears to raise objections to the generation of serious or irreversible changes to the quality of life of non-human species. Objections to the application of all this to new life-forms produced by synthetic biology are considered and addressed from a biocentric perspective. The bearing of biocentrism on religions is also considered, together with contrasting views about science, religion and the creation of life.


Biocentrism, artificial life, future generations, Precautionary Principle, flourishing, religion, creation

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

The Challenge of Scientific Uncertainty and Disunity in Risk Assessment and Management of GM Crops. Anne Ingeborg Myhr

The Precautionary Principle and the Concept of Precaution. Per Sandin

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: The Ethics of Engineering. John O’Neill

Download full text (PDF format) from IngentaConnect. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values.

Subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222