Reproducibility Of Man

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Reproducibility of Man

When Walter Benjamin wrote The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in 1969, I am sure he didn’t expect it to parallel the arguments of today’s discussions on the ethics of cloning. In the short shadow of the replication of Dolly the sheep, and five little piglets from Virginia comes the discussion on if this practice should really be allowed, and if so, what limits do you set? How can you look in the eyes of people who have had there family members pass away because the cloning of pigs for their organs have been outlawed. But what do you say when it comes to the question of just raising humans, lets say in a “human farm”, for exact organ and tissue matches. Where do you draw the line on the recreation of things from our past? After finding the perfectly preserved wooly mammoth in the arctic a few years in the past, researchers from several nations have been actively collecting tissue from the remains of the wooly mammoth in preparation for an attempt to bring the beast back from ten thousand years of extinction (Salsberg 1). If you let scientists do this, do you restrict them from cloning mummified Pharos from ancient Egypt, for historical purposes only right? Another issue of cloning a person is the civil rights of those cloned, do you dispose of them if something goes wrong. The practice of cloning, which oddly resembles the disaster of Frankenstein, needs to be restricted in some way, or we all will be living in some sort of odd parallel universe.

According to a collaboration of public opinion polls from 1997 when Dolly was first cloned, 87% of Americans believed that the practice of cloning should be banned. Yet the scientists of the world continue to actively pursue this area of science. After doing much research on the internet I came across article after article by Doctors who where so excited about the “miracle” of cloning. Some, even more terrifying, think of the clones as being maintained as mere organ farms, manufactured for their spare parts by persons anticipating the need for transplanting hearts or kidneys, livers or lungs (Ferre 2). While it might sound ethical to recreate a pig for medical purposes you are still sacrificing the life of that animal. But is right to raise a copy of yourself just in case you might need a transplant in ...

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... be stored for $100.00 a year, until the owner decide it’s time to attempt a Fluffy II. The price for cloning will start at $20,000.00, but pet-cloners promise the price will plummet as business grows.

When human clones appear among us, they will be owed duties too. At first they will be infants, and will depend on others. After a while, given suitable nurture, they will realize their potential, will learn language, and will be able to claim rights, full human rights, for themselves. What kind of rights do you have then to use their organs?


Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical

Reproduction, Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt

Schokeu Books (HBJ) 1969.

Ferre, Frederick. Philosophy of Technology, 2nd ed. Athens, GA:

University of Georgia Press 1995.

Salsberg, Corey. “Resurrecting the Wooly Mammoth” .
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