Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Ethics of ProtocellsMoral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark A. Bedau and Emily C. Parke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012621

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

Social and Ethical Implications of Creating Artificial Cells

Social and Ethical Implications of Creating Artificial Cells

(p.31) 3 Social and Ethical Implications of Creating Artificial Cells
The Ethics of Protocells

Mark A. Bedau

Mark Triant

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the worries that protocells are inherently bad because they are unnatural, that they violate the sanctity of life, or that their creators are “playing God.” It notes that making decisions about artificial cells requires being courageous about accepting uncertain risks when warranted by the potential gains. This chapter shows that all of the intrinsic objections to the creation of artificial cells turn out to be vague, simplistic, or ill-conceived. It then analyzes the extrinsic objections that turn on the consequences of artificial cells. It suggests that appropriately balancing the virtues of courage and caution would preserve the attractions of the precautionary principle while avoiding its weaknesses.

Keywords:   artificial cells, intrinsic objections, extrinsic objections, courage, caution, protocells, precautionary principle

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.