Homesteading the noosphere: The ethics of owning biological information

Northern Plains Ethics Journal 6 (1):47-63 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The idea of homesteading can be extended to the realm of biological entities, to the ownership of information wherein organisms perform artifactual functions as a result of human development. Can the information of biological entities be ethically “homesteaded”: should humans (or businesses) have ownership rights over this information from the basis of mere development and possession, as in Locke’s theory of private property? I offer three non-consequentialist arguments against such homesteading: the information makeup of biological entities is not commonly owned, and thus is not available for homesteading; the value of the individual biological entity extends to the information whereby it is constituted, and includes inalienable rights of an entity over itself and its information; and use of life as an information artifact makes an organism an unending means to an end rather than an end itself. I conclude that the information space of biological entities is not open for homesteading, not liable to private ownership, and should not be available for perpetual exploitation.

Author's Profile

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-12-17

Downloads
220 (#68,439)

6 months
68 (#68,507)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?