The Moral Values Of Human Embryos

1805 Words 8 Pages
Chris Ahmad
Phil 116
Paper #1
Human embryos are organisms in early stages of life, typically the first to eighth week of development, and are created by the fertilization of an egg with a sperm. In terms of the argument at hand, early embryos are of interest (14 days after fertilization). They can be obtained in numerous ways and are useful in many types of research, especially medical treatment, due to the fact that they are a source of pluripotent stem cells that are able to divide into many types of cells. Bonnie Steinbock argues that stem cell research isn’t determined solely by moral status and that though the specific embryos discussed do not have moral status, they do have moral value, thus need to be dealt with respectfully (Steinbock
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The view argues that if a being is sentient, then it has interests, which gives the organism’s moral status (Steinbock 428). An interest occurs when a being wants to learn about something or someone or when something that occurs is in someone’s benefit (Steinbock 430). For example, my grandfather is interested in eating sweets all the time (he thinks life is too short and he loves sweets), even though it would be in his best interest (benefit him physically) to refrain from them because he’s diabetic. In terms of the sentience-based view, many beings are sentient and only ascribe this characteristic to this group because they have a nervous system that comes with experiences and emotional states (Steinbock 429). There is an issue with these terms and an example can be seen with children. They have moral status because they have interests, yet the interests they have are not like the interests that adults have, so they have different types of moral status. However the interest a child has can be related to an animal, even if adults share the urge to eat, have sex, etc like animals, children have simpler interests that make them easily relatable to animals. This prompts whether or not children should be treated like them, which means that the form of sentience and interests needs to be specific depending on the situation. The type of moral …show more content…
According to Steinbock, both theories claim that embryos lack moral status. It doesn’t matter what idea we adopt when discussing the moral status of an embryo. According to Steinbock, both theories claim that embryos lack moral status. Yet this doesn’t necessarily mean we can treat them however we like. Steinbocks states that a HERP report states that even though human embryos don’t have moral status like young humans (infants or toddlers), they still deserve respect and solemn moral consideration because of the fact that embryos are regarded as a developing form of Homo sapiens life (Steinbock 433). They may lack moral status, but they have moral value. An entity has moral value when it has reasons to treat it in particular ways and not in other ways. In the case of embryos, it has the potential to become a fully developed human and that is why Stenbock is correct in stating that embryos should be respected because of their importance (Steinbock

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