Philosophical Issues in Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research

  • Andrew W. Siegel
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 1)


There are few areas of scientific inquiry that have been as fraught with controversy as human pluripotent stem cell research. This research has implicated issues in metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. The issues include, among others, the question of when a human life begins, the moral status of the human embryo, whether there is a moral distinction between creating embryos for research and creating them for reproductive ends, the ethics of creating human/non-human chimeras, and the challenge of constructing public policy in a pluralistic society in which there are opposing views about the ethics of the research. It is important that stem cell biology education extend beyond an inquiry into the biological properties of stem cells and further address the philosophical questions that bear on the pursuit of research in the field. This chapter provides an overview of these issues.


Moral Status Human Embryo Stem Cell Research Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Research Embryo 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berman Institute of BioethicsJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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