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Commentary on Koplin and Wilkinson
  1. David B Resnik
  1. Ethics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David B Resnik; resnikd{at}niehs.nih.gov

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In their feature article, ‘Moral uncertainty and the farming of human-pig chimeras,’ Koplin and Wilkinson argue that there is a tension between (1) thinking that creating pig-human chimaeras with partly humanised brains as a source of organs for transplantation as morally problematic because of the uncertainty of their moral status and (2) thinking that the raising normal pigs for food is not morally problematic because of the certainty concerning their moral status.1 Koplin and Wilkson claim that the reasons that we are uncertain about the moral status of human-pig chimaeras with partly humanised brains also apply to normal pigs. Our moral uncertainty derives from (1) philosophical uncertainty concerning the characteristics that convey moral status and (2) epistemological uncertainty concerning the extent to which pigs with partly humanised brains or normal pigs possess such characteristics. If we think it is morally problematic to create pigs with humanised brains for organ transplantation, we should also think it is morally problematic to raise normal pigs for food, given our uncertainty about the moral status of both kinds of animals. Their view implies that it would be inconsistent to have moral qualms about creating pigs with humanised brains for organ transplantation but to no such misgivings about raising pigs for food.

While I find Koplin and Wilkson’s arguments …

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