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Twinning and Fusion as Arguments against the Moral Standing of the Early Human Embryo

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    Some philosophers argue that, because it is subject to twinning and fusion, the early human embryo cannot hold strong moral standing. Supposedly, the fact that an early human embryo can twin or fuse with another embryo entails that it is not a distinct individual, thus precluding it from holding any level of moral standing. I argue that appeals to twinning and fusion fail to show that the early human embryo is not a distinct individual and that these appeals do not provide us with plausible reasons for denying the strong moral standing of the early human embryo. I recognize one possible exception to this general assessment, a particular version of the appeal to fusion. Embryo fusion that results in tetragametic chimerism provides some reason for doubting the early human embryo's moral standing. But twinning and fusion are otherwise irrelevant in this context.

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Utilitas.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 02 (June)
    Pages: 183-205

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:23:y:2011:i:02:p:183-205_00
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