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Project Summary - THE ETHICAL CREATION OF NEW KINDS OF PERSONS

Coordinating Partner: Scottish Council on Human Bioethics (SCHB), 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LS, SCOTLAND  -  www.schb.org.uk

Executive Summary

Bringing into existence new persons is a concept that has always fascinated humanity since its very origins being reflected in all the major worldviews including religious faiths. This is because the manner in which human beings have come into existence, and how they bring new beings into the world, goes to the very heart of their identity.

Until now, the new persons brought into existence have always been entirely human with a human nature and inherent human dignity. But with the development of modern science and technology the bringing into existence of new kinds of persons (which can be defined as beings who would not arise in nature but can be considered as having full inherent dignity) through novel procedures is already happening or being considered. These include, for example, the creation of:

Transhumans (Beings who have a body which is recognisably human)

    (1) Human-nonhuman interspecies combinations

    (2) Human-computer Cyborgs

    (3) Synthetic Biological Transhumans

Posthumans (Beings who no longer have a body which is recognisably human)

    (4) Virtual persons existing/living in cyber-space

    (5) Synthetic Biological Posthumans

Very little has, so far, been undertaken to examine how society will respond to the creation of such new kinds of persons in the light of ethical, philosophical, anthropological and theological perspectives. Hence, the project will study the creation of these persons by considering (1) who the creators really are in the context of new technologies, (2) how these creators interact with each other (where relevant) when considering the creation of new kinds of persons, (3) the relationships these creators may have with their creatures, (4) how the new creatures, themselves, may consider their existence and the manner in which they were created, and (5) whether there is an ethical manner to bring new kinds of persons into existence?

The preparation of a 2018 workshop, 2019 conference and the writing of an edited book on creation ethics will be an exciting development in the field. Moreover, the publication of this volume drawing together the results and conclusions of the project, will be a useful tool in promoting policy guidelines and a societal discussion relating to the concept of ethically creating new kinds of persons.

Project Activities

The project will involve members of the SCHB, with the assistance of experts from the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies (CBET) at St Mary’s University in London together with especially invited academics.

First Part of the Project
Second Part of the Project
Third Part of the Project

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