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Jules van Schaijik

Cloning and the right to ignorance

Dec. 4, 2009, at 4:16pm

I recently came across an essay by Hans Jonas (see footnote) in which he argues that cloning human persons is wrong, among other reasons, because it violates the cloned person’s “right to ignorance.” The essay was published many years ago, in 1974, and so I realize the argument is not new. It is new to me, however, and very intriguing. Not because it is especially strong or effective—I’m not sure that it is—but because it dwells so deeply and fruitfully on the nature of personal selfhood and what is required to truly achieve it.

At the heart of Jonas’ argument lies the thought that persons can’t thrive unless they believe that their future is truly open and in large

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