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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Biocentrism and Genetic Engineering

Andrew Dobson

Environmental Values 4(1995): 227-239. doi: 10.3197/096327195776679501

I consider the contribution that a biocentric perspective might make to the ethical debate concerning the practice of genetic engineering. I claim that genetic engineering itself raises novel ethical questions, and particularly so when confronted with biocentric sensibilities. I outline the nature of these questions and describe the biocentric basis for them. I suggest that fundamentalist opposition to projects of genetic engineering is unhelpful, but that biocentric claims should now be a feature of ethical consideration. I conclude, though, that while environmental ethicists can contribute powerfully to debates concerning the future of genetic engineering, the ultimate direction it takes is likely to be beyond their control.

KEYWORDS: Environmental ethics, biocentrism, genetic engineering, species

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