Human Dignity and Human Cloning

Human Dignity and Human Cloning

Human Dignity and Human Cloning

Human Dignity and Human Cloning

Synopsis

Since the cloning of human beings has become technically conceivable, a controversial ethical and legal debate on the desirability and admissibility of human cloning has evolved. The issue touches questions from different disciplines, such as biology, philosophy, theology and law. This book, although mainly focusing on the legal problems, therefore tries to find an interdisciplinary approach to this controversial subject. It contains contributions from philosophers, theologians, and a biochemist, as well as from national and international lawyers. In the first part, a philosophical and theological outline is presented by scholars considering the topic from different cultural and religious (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish)viewpoints. Subsequently, the biological foundations are explained by leading scholars in this field. The final two parts are dedicated to the legal questions, considering first the situation under German constitutional law and then on the international plane. In the comprehensive Annex, the most relevant documents for the International (in particular from the UN), European and German legal systems are presented.

Excerpt

The controversial questions of human cloning have been frequently discussed during the last couple of years. At the latest, since the birth of the sheep Dolly in 1996 some have considered it a realistic vision that cloning may become a technique used on human beings in the future. News about the realisation of this vision has stirred the emotions of the public. The ethical and legal discussions have been complicated by the argument that the cloning technique may be used for different reasons, namely for reproductive or therapeutic/research purposes such as the development of embryonic stem cells. Both ways of cloning thus serve different ends that may, in the view of some, lead to their different ethical evaluation.

With this collection of articles we try to find an intercultural and interdisciplinary approach to the problems of human cloning and the understanding of the concept of human dignity. We hope that the different views expressed, to some extent advance our understanding of the different ethical and legal solutions and that they bring us closer to “a new best solution” under the given circumstances. The articles published are mainly contributions of the participants of the Conference “Towards an International Ban on Human CloningReligions and Ethical Perspectives, the International Community, and the Protection of Embryos” held at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg in October 2003. We are grateful to the authors for updating their versions in May 2004. As most of the texts closely follow the Conference lectures, footnotes are in general reduced to a minimum.

In accordance with the interdisciplinary approach the book is divided into four parts. The first part aims at fostering the understanding of how and why different religious traditions have different approaches to human cloning. It focuses on the Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian views and their ethical or philosophical backgrounds with articles written by Ali-Reza Sheikholeslami, Andrew Huxley, Jens . . .

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