Hybrids and the Boundaries of Moral Considerability or Revisiting the Idea of Non-Instrumental Value

Philosophy and Technology 34 (2):223-242 (2019)
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The transgressive ontological character of hybrids—entities crossing the ontological binarism of naturalness and artificiality, e.g., biomimetic projects—calls for pondering the question of their ethical status, since metaphysical and moral ideas are often inextricably linked. The example of it is the concept of “moral considerability” and related to it the idea of “intrinsic value” understood as a non-instrumentality of a being. Such an approach excludes hybrids from moral considerations due to their instrumental character. In the paper, we revisit the boundaries of moral considerability by reexamining the legitimacy of identifying intrinsic value with a non-instrumental one. We offer the concept of “functional value,” which we define as a simultaneous contribution to the common good of the ecosystem and the possibility to disclose the full variety of aspects of a being’s identity. We argue that such a value of hybrids allows us to include them into the scope of moral considerability.

Author Profiles

Magdalena Holy-Luczaj
Jagiellonian University
Vincent Blok
Wageningen University and Research


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