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Ought Implies Can: A Kantian Analysis of the Morality of the Use of Neonatal Tissue in Biotechnology

Cunningham, Eric J.

This paper seeks to address the ethical and moral implications of the utilization of neonatal foreskin tissue in biotechnology. Under the framing of Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, I extend the Heideggerian concept of Enframing and standing-reserve into the utilization of neonatal tissue as a resource for biotechnology and as a commodity in general. I proceed with a meticulous moral analysis of this practice employing a synthesis of Kantian and Schopenhauerian moral philosophies. I argue that the practice of using neonatal tissue in this routine, commodified manner constitutes partial murder of the child, theft, and wrongful use, which violates Kantian ethical principles. As such, the use of neonatal foreskin tissue in the current paradigm must be abandoned.

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