Bringing life from death: is there a good justification for posthumous cloning

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Although speculative and ethically controversial, cloning a dead person may be scientifically possible as more experimentation on dead animals continues. The article proposes that posthumous cloning may be justifiable in cases where the dead expressed their wishes to be cloned, or when next-of-kin seek to extend the impact of the dead on the living. Under this argument, justification for posthumous cloning does not stem from the concept of reproductive autonomy but from one’s interest in the recognition of one’s symbolic existence. Hence, posthumous cloning promotes the recognition in the symbolic existence of the dead (through the cloned), and indirectly enriches the social image, sense of identity and relational autonomy of the cloned. Seen in this way, cloning should not be regarded as an act which violates human dignity or that instrumentalizes the cloned. However, the article suggests the following limitation for posthumous cloning: that the nature of the relationship between the cloned and the persons preserving the symbolic existence of the dead should be the same as prior to cloning. Such a limitation would make posthumous cloning an exceptional phenomenon. Regardless of its prevalence, posthumous cloning makes us rethink our general moral opinions on cloning and the ethics of death.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Research & Bioethics
StatePublished - 2011


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