Arguments for and against human cloning in terms of teleological and deontological theories

Ionut Stefan



The most important general and theoretical horizons regarding bioethics refer to the foundation of ethical theories. We can talk about two main general categories in which we can place the ethical theories: teleological and deontological. From the first category we enumerate the Aristotelian perspective or the one developed by J. St. Mill, while the Kantian perspective is exemplary for deontological ethics. According to the teleological perspective, a form of human behavior is described as moral or non-moral according to the goals explicitly set. The mere achievement of these goals is a necessary and sufficient condition to qualify as moral people’s actions or deeds without taking into account the “intermediate stages” of the actions performed to achieve those goals. Deontology, as a general horizon of articulating the ethical theories, believes on the contrary that in every moment of our existence, every action or deed that we accomplish can be described as moral or non-moral according to the ethical principles underlying our behavior. The very important consequences arising from the two general theoretical horizons concern two different perspectives on “human nature”, or what we call the essence of the human being. Starting from this horizon we will have the consequentialist and deontological dimensions related to human cloning. The bioethical dimension in which we will discuss the issue of human cloning involves both dimensions or horizons. The arguments against human cloning seem to rely rather on the Kantian deontological horizon, while cloning pros seem to rely on the consequentialist horizon. This text is intended as an open debate between the two horizons which cannot yet be harmonized. There is at least one class of existential situations in which human cloning is described as “desirable” in a consequentialist view and there are situations in which human cloning can be qualified as non-moral in a deontological view.

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