Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 231–242 | Cite as

Family Resemblances: Human Reproductive Cloning as an Example for Reconsidering the Mutual Relationships between Bioethics and Science Fiction

  • Solveig L. HansenEmail author
Original Research


In the traditions of narrative ethics and casuistry, stories have a well-established role. Specifically, illness narratives provide insight into patients’ perspectives and histories. However, because they tend to see fiction as an aesthetic endeavour, practitioners in these traditions often do not realize that fictional stories are valuable moral sources of their own. In this paper I employ two arguments to show the mutual relationship between bioethics and fiction, specifically, science fiction. First, both discourses use imagination to set a scene and determine a perspective. Second, bioethics and science fiction share the family resemblance of expressing moral beliefs. I then consider how understanding bioethics and science fiction as interrelated discourses can be the basis of a methodology for inquiry into relational autonomy in the context of biotechnologies and medicine. As an example of this methodology, I analyse Fay Weldon’s novel The Cloning of Joanna May (1989).


Cloning Organism Narration Feminism Casuistry Medicine in Art 



I am very thankful to the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Göttingen University Medical  Center, for supporting my independent research. I also want to thank Greg Sax for his help with language.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Medical Center GöttingenDepartment of Medical Ethics and History of MedicineGöttingenGermany

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