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October 2021

The identity of clones

Journal/Book: J Med Phil. 1999; 24: P O Box 825, 2160 Sz Lisse, Netherlands. Swets Zeitlinger Publishers. 67-76.

Abstract: A common concern with respect to cloning is based on the belief that cloning produces identical individuals. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what type of identity-relation cloning involves. The concept ''identity'' is ambiguous, and the statement that cloning produces ''identical'' individuals is not meaningful unless the notion of identity is clarified. This paper distinguishes between numerical and qualitative; relational and intrinsic; logical and empirical identity, and discusses the empirical individuation of clones in terms of genetics, physiology, perception, cognition and personality. I argue that the only relation of identity cloning involves is qualitative, intrinsic and empirical: genetic indiscernibility, unlikely to include identity under other aspects mentioned. A popular argument against cloning claims our ''right'' to a ''unique identity''. This objection either implies (absurdly) the right not to be an identical twin, or assumes (incorrectly) that cloning involves identity other than genetic. Either way, the argument is untenable.

Note: Article Evers K, ICSU Int Council Sci, SCRES, Res Pk, N-0371 Oslo, NORWAY

Keyword(s): cloning; identity; indiscernibility; individuation; uniqueness

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