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Chimeras, Superchimps, and Post-persons: Species Boundaries and Moral Status EnhancementsSpecies Boundaries and Moral Status Enhancements

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Abstract

In the world of contemporary biotechnology, our thinking about species and moral status is being challenged in new ways. First, the creation of interspecies chimeras, in disrupting the human/non-human species boundary, forces us also to go beyond species boundaries in considering how to determine the moral status of these new beings. Second, the possibility of moral status enhancement (or at least enhancing the capacities that on some accounts give rise to moral status), both for non-human animals and for humans, may lead to members of existing biological species having new moral properties, or perhaps even the creation of new ‘moral species’. This chapter explores normative and conceptual challenges raised by the prospect of crossing both biological and moral ‘species boundaries’. It examines the implications of species transitions in relation to identity, obligations towards existing beings and beings that might be created via the species transition process; and reflects on how this might advance our thinking about moral status.

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