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The Identity of Clones

Anno XXXIII, n. 144, marzo-aprile 1998
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The belief that cloning produces identical individuals is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the type of identity relationship cloning actually involves. The concept of "identity" is ambiguous and the statement that clones are "identical" individuals is meaningless unless we clarify the very notion of identity. This paper distinguishes between numerical and qualitative, relational and intrinsic, logical and empiric identities and discusses the empiric individuation of clones in terms of genetics, physiology, perception, cognition and personality. It argues that the only identity relationship involved in cloning is qualitative, intrinsic and empiric; in other words, genetic indiscernibility, which does not comprise the other aspects of identity mentioned. A popular argument against cloning claims our right to a unique identity. This objection either implies (absurdly) the right not to be an identical twin, or assumes (incorrectly) that cloning involves identities other than genetic identity. Either way the argument is untenable.