A Unique Copy: The Life and Identity of Clones in Literary Fiction

B.J. Koops et al. (eds), Engineering the Human, Heidelberg etc.: Springer, pp. 129-149, 2013

17 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2013 Last revised: 3 Apr 2014

See all articles by Bert-Jaap Koops

Bert-Jaap Koops

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: June 1, 2013

Abstract

Cloning is a typical form of human engineering, which is almost universally outlawed because of ethical objections. But are these objections valid, or are they overly influenced by fictional horror stories? In order to investigate whether clones necessarily lead instrumental lives, have a ‘closed future,’ or lack an identity because they are ‘someone else,’ this chapter discusses fictional accounts of clones. Literary fiction provides a rich picture of clones’ lives, demonstrating that clones do not necessarily have to evoke distrust or horror. The mirror that clone fiction holds up to us shows us possible worlds in which a ban on reproductive cloning is not essential to preserve human dignity. Clones may be copies, but they are also unique and original individuals. If we are afraid of cloning, this is not because clones are different or scary but only because society may treat clones inhumanly.

Keywords: reproductive cloning, human cloning, literature, fiction, human dignity, autonomy, identity

JEL Classification: K14, K32, I18

Suggested Citation

Koops, Bert-Jaap, A Unique Copy: The Life and Identity of Clones in Literary Fiction (June 1, 2013). B.J. Koops et al. (eds), Engineering the Human, Heidelberg etc.: Springer, pp. 129-149, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367497

Bert-Jaap Koops (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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