Stem Cells, Pluralism and Moral Empathy

  • Theo A. Boer

In discussions about the morality of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, the focus is often on the differences. In this essay, two points are made. First, it is argued that different standpoints do not necessarily imply that altogether different values are held. Rather, shared values, including the intrinsic value of embryos (persons or not) and the value of developing medical therapies, may conflict and are weighed differently. Secondly, since we tend to forget or downplay values which we override, it is argued that we need the moral virtue of empathy. Empathy enables us to see overridden values in our own position, it fosters understanding of the weighing made by our opponents, and it stimulates the search for alternatives to Human ES-cell research which respect all values involved.


Stem cells embryos pluralism relativism ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theo A. Boer
    • 1
  1. 1.Protestant Theological UniversityNetherlands

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