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Flesh of My FleshReview - Flesh of My Flesh
The Ethics of Cloning Humans: A Reader
by Greg Pence (editor)
Rowman & Littlefield, 1998
Review by CP
Apr 20th 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 16)

Thirteen papers, 154 pages. The usual suspects. The careful arguments of philosophers and policy makers. Leon Kass argues against human cloning on the grounds that it goes against nature. Gregory Pence argues forcefully that the arguments against cloning are not convincing. The National Bioethics Advisory Committee urgues caution and a temporary ban on cloning. John Robertson, one of the smartest bioethicists working today, provides an insightful critique of the NBAC report. Philip Kitcher probingly asks if there might ever be a morally legitimate reason to want to clone a human being. Timothy Murphy gives a funny and careful analysis of the reactions of the gay community to cloning, arguing that the extreme reactions of some gay and lesbian activists are not justified, but are still worth thinking about.

So this collection of papers is well suited to anyone wanting a diverse set of accessible opinions about human cloning. It works well in an undergraduate class, and would be interesting to most lay readers.

What it lacks is sustained analysis of what the idea of duplicating a person's identity means, what the relationship is between having a child and owning a child, whether the kind of strange family relationships a clone might have (would my clone be my sibling or offspring?) are any stranger than the ones that already exist in the many weird family structures we have today. What role does one's genetic uniqueness play in one's sense of self, and how are genetically identical twins different from other people? There's a great deal of important new work to be done before we can get clear about cloning, and that work will be important not just to cloning, but also to many issues in mental health.


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