Synthetic Biology Ethics: A Deontological Assessment

Authors

  • Patrick Heavey


  • Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared

Address for correspondence: Mr. Patrick Heavey, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL. Email: patric333@cantab.net

Abstract

In this article I discuss the ethics of synthetic biology from a broadly deontological perspective, evaluating its morality in terms of the integrity of nature, the dignity of life and the relationship between God and his creation. Most ethical analyses to date have been largely consequentialist in nature; they reveal a dual use dilemma, showing that synbio has potential for great good and great evil, possibly more so than any step humanity has taken before. A deontological analysis may help to resolve this dilemma, by evaluating whether synbio is right or wrong in itself. I also assess whether deontology alone is a sufficient methodological paradigm for the proper evaluation of synbio ethics.

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