On Telos and Genetic Engineering - Oregon State University

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Dec 10, 2012 (4 years and 9 months ago)

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On
On
Telos
Telos
and Genetic
and Genetic
Engineering
Engineering
Nov 4 2004
Nov 4 2004
Siobhan
Siobhan
Baggot
Baggot
DVM MAIS
DVM MAIS
Domestication
Domestication


Domestication began
Domestication began
about 14 000 years ago
about 14 000 years ago
in the Middle
in the Middle
-
-
East, with
East, with
dogs and goats among
dogs and goats among
the first animals being
the first animals being
domesticated.
domesticated.


Domestication was a
Domestication was a
contract whereby both
contract whereby both
parties benefited.
parties benefited.
Technology
Technology


With the increasing
With the increasing
use of technology to
use of technology to
assist us in keeping
assist us in keeping
animals, the original
animals, the original
contract has changed.
contract has changed.
Animals are no longer
Animals are no longer
partners in the
partners in the
relationship.
relationship.
Telos
Telos


Aristotle wrote that a
Aristotle wrote that a
living being possesses an
living being possesses an
unmistakable character,
unmistakable character,
or being
or being
-
-
ness. A robin
ness. A robin
has robin
has robin
-
-
ness. While a
ness. While a
certain robin will live and
certain robin will live and
then die, robin
then die, robin
-
-
ness
ness
endures. This enduring
endures. This enduring
fact of robin
fact of robin
-
-
ness allows
ness allows
humans to understand
humans to understand
what robins are over
what robins are over
time.
time.
Telos
Telos


The
The
Telos
Telos
of an animal is “the set of needs
of an animal is “the set of needs
and interests which are genetically based,
and interests which are genetically based,
and environmentally expressed, and which
and environmentally expressed, and which
collectively constitute or define the form of
collectively constitute or define the form of
life or way of living by that animal, and
life or way of living by that animal, and
whose fulfillment or thwarting matter to
whose fulfillment or thwarting matter to
the animal”.
the animal”.
Telos
Telos
Updated
Updated


Rollin suggests that
Rollin suggests that
Telos
Telos
may not be a
may not be a
fixed characteristic,
fixed characteristic,
but that it is
but that it is
malleable. Humans
malleable. Humans
can change it.
can change it.
Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare


Telos
Telos
may be used to
may be used to
define the parameters
define the parameters
of animal welfare.
of animal welfare.
Fox and
Fox and
Telos
Telos


Dr Michael Fox argues that we should
Dr Michael Fox argues that we should
respect the nature, or
respect the nature, or
telos
telos
, of animals.
, of animals.
Since genetic engineering involves the
Since genetic engineering involves the
deliberate alteration of animals it violates
deliberate alteration of animals it violates
their
their
telos
telos
. We should therefore refrain
. We should therefore refrain
from using animals in genetic research.
from using animals in genetic research.
Rollin and
Rollin and
Telos
Telos


We now have the tools to alter animals’
We now have the tools to alter animals’
Telos
Telos
, so perhaps we can manipulate their
, so perhaps we can manipulate their
genes so that the animals created are
genes so that the animals created are
more suited to the environments in which
more suited to the environments in which
we keep them.
we keep them.
Rollin
Rollin




If we alter the
If we alter the
Telos
Telos
in such a way that
in such a way that
different things
different things
matter to the animals,
matter to the animals,
or in such a way that
or in such a way that
is irrelevant to the
is irrelevant to the
animal, we have not
animal, we have not
violated the maxim to
violated the maxim to
respect
respect
Telos
Telos
”.
”.
Maxim to Respect
Maxim to Respect
Telos
Telos




If an animal has a set of needs and
If an animal has a set of needs and
interests which are constitutive of its
interests which are constitutive of its
nature, then in our dealings with that
nature, then in our dealings with that
animal, we are obliged not to violate and
animal, we are obliged not to violate and
to attempt to accommodate these
to attempt to accommodate these
interests, for violation and failure to
interests, for violation and failure to
accommodate those interests matters to
accommodate those interests matters to
the animal.”
the animal.”
Changing Chickens
Changing Chickens


If we could make a
If we could make a
chicken through genetic
chicken through genetic
engineering that no
engineering that no
longer wanted to scratch
longer wanted to scratch
dirt, flap her wings, or
dirt, flap her wings, or
turn around, then she
turn around, then she
would be a happier caged
would be a happier caged
chicken. Her chicken
chicken. Her chicken
-
-
nature or
nature or
Telos
Telos
would
would
have been genetically
have been genetically
modified.
modified.
Comstock and
Comstock and
Telos
Telos


What if we could make
What if we could make
these animals adjust
these animals adjust
better to their
better to their
environment and
environment and
genetically engineer them
genetically engineer them
into senseless humps of
into senseless humps of
flesh, solely directed at
flesh, solely directed at
transforming grain and
transforming grain and
water into
water into
eggs…intuitively, treating
eggs…intuitively, treating
an animal this way
an animal this way
-
-
or
or
rather creating an animal
rather creating an animal
for this purpose
for this purpose
-
-
is
is
morally problematic,”
morally problematic,”
Regan and
Regan and
Telos
Telos


Animals are subjects of their own lives.
Animals are subjects of their own lives.


As subjects of their own lives, as beings with
As subjects of their own lives, as beings with
intrinsic value, they are worthy of respect.
intrinsic value, they are worthy of respect.


Animals have rights based on their possession of
Animals have rights based on their possession of
intrinsic value. They are valuable apart from
intrinsic value. They are valuable apart from
their usefulness to others.
their usefulness to others.


Animals should not be used as means to an end.
Animals should not be used as means to an end.
Integrity
Integrity




Integrity is the wholeness and intactness
Integrity is the wholeness and intactness
of an animal and its species
of an animal and its species
-
-
specific
specific
balance, as well as the capacity to sustain
balance, as well as the capacity to sustain
itself in an environment suitable to the
itself in an environment suitable to the
species”.
species”.
Bovenkerk
Bovenkerk
,
,
Brom
Brom
and an den Burgh.
and an den Burgh.
In Conclusion
In Conclusion


Is it morally wrong
Is it morally wrong
to change an
to change an
animal’s basic
animal’s basic
nature in order to
nature in order to
satisfy our own
satisfy our own
demands?
demands?