Biomedical technologies and human dignity
Melo-Martín, Inmaculada de
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Current biomedical advancements are presenting us with difficult moral and policy decisions. Indeed, from questions about the morality of cloning human embryos, to concerns about human genetic modifications, to worries about chimera research, biomedical science and technology is inextricably tied to moral responsibilities and public policy concerns. Scholars and institutions struggle to evaluate these technologies in ways that attend to both the moral difficulties they raise and the promises they offer. Despite criticism that the concept of human dignity is vague, several national and international bodies and a number of scholars have argued that human dignity is a useful criterion to determine the permissibility of particular biomedical technologies. Here, I explore the meanings of this concept, examine the ways in which biomedical technologies can be said to threaten human dignity, and evaluate whether and under which conditions this concept can serve as a meaningful criterion for public policy.