Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 97–111 | Cite as

The Conception of Synthetic Entities from a Personalist Perspective

  • Lucía Gómez-Tatay
  • José Miguel Hernández-Andreu
  • Justo AznarEmail author
Original Paper


Synthetic biology opens up the possibility of producing new entities not found in nature, whose classification as organisms or machines has been debated. In this paper we are focusing on the delimitation of the moral value of synthetic products, in order to establish the ethically right way to behave towards them. In order to do so, we use personalism as our ethical framework. First, we examine how we can distinguish between organisms and machines. Next, we discuss whether the products of synthetic biology can be considered organisms at all and assess what their moral value is and how should we behave towards them. Finally, we discuss the hypothetical case of synthetic humans.


Synthetic biology Bioethics Personalism Moral value Moral status 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Life SciencesUniversidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente MártirValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Grupo de Medicina Molecular y Mitocondrial, Departamento de Ciencias Médicas Básicas, Facultad de Medicina y OdontologíaUniversidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente MártirValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Escuela de DoctoradoUniversidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente MártirValenciaSpain

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