The Problem of Cloning and Personal Identity

Cloning is a problem for the idea of personal identity because the clone’s only reason for being brought into existence would be as a way of organ production, and nothing more. That is why they are not viewed as persons because they were created by us as a copy of someone else, another human being, to be used and that is why the idea of personal identity is not taken into account for them, because they are a copy. Personal identity is what differentiates you from the person beside you, other than the superficial, outer appearance. The continuous identity of persons is of special concern for both moral decision-making and the deception of moral approvals that are fair and effective. English philosopher, John Locke proposed a theory of personal identity that it is based on the self-conscious distribution of past and future events. What this means is that our personal identity, much like our essence, is shaped throughout our life based on our experiences and how we perceive them. Our personal identity may be influenced by our biology since our biology does have an effect on our perception, and how we react in certain situations. However it is the experiences themselves which form our ideas of ourselves. Genetic research has forced society to face issues of personal identity because it is basically creating a new being from something else, a complete genetic replica, so it is completely the same, down to the very genetic makeup known as DNA. But as I mentioned before, personal identity is not based upon genetics, as much as it is based upon our own personal experiences. So in that token of thought, you can have the exact genetic makeup as someone else, but it is your experiences that shape your personality. Like the experiments they did on twins (who are the closest natural occurrences in genetic makeup to an actual clone), they would separate twins at birth and raise them in completely different environments and they studied each of the twins, and they found that each of the twins’ personalities and perspectives presented aspects of the environment which they were raised in. This shows that while a clone may be the exact replica of you (biologically), but it cannot be you, they would have to have been put in the exact same situations as you growing up in order to develop your personal identity, meaning that they are definitely a separate being, copy or not. Since they are not meant to have a regular life as you or I, their personal identity is not viewed as important, so they will not be developing it as you or I would.

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