Genetic Engineering Kantian View Kant’s ethical theory is nonconsequentialist, so the outcome of genetic engineering is not important. What needs to be considered is whether genetic engineering fits into the categorical imperative or not. 1. Universalisability Does genetic engineering raise universal moral problems? Can you imagine a situation where genetic engineering would be morally wrong? If you view embryos as not being human but only with the potentiality of humanity, it might be universalisable. 2. Using people as a means to an end – GM crops The case of genetic modification of crops raises issues about using people as a means to an end. Obligations that farmers in developing countries have to multinational companies raises issues about the use of people for an end. How do the multinationals view their development of GM crops? Saving the planet? Making a profit? For Kant, what matters is whether the corporation is exploiting the farmer on the way to meeting its aim. 3. Using people as a means to an end – saviour siblings Has the newborn baby been conceived with the primary goal of helping his/her sick sibling? Is the saviour being used as a means to an end rather than an end in itself? It could be argued that this is necessary if the life of the sick sibling is to be preserved. Humans have a duty to preserve life. Two of Kant’s duties seem to conflict here: The saviour siblings are used as a means to an end, but at the same time life is being preserved. Kant would not see a problem with this conflict. The universal law principle is the most important. Humans have a duty to save life but this cannot contradict the maxim of making what you decide a universal law. If we can imagine one situation where it would be wrong to create saviour siblings, then it cannot be a universal law. Kant implied that human beings are often too subjective when they make a moral judgement. You may not wish your child to die and therefore you wish to create a saviour sibling. Human beings do not look at the big picture but only at individual cases that affect them. For Kant, it is the maxim of the universal law that is the key to all moral decisions. For example, it would be impossible to universalize the maxim ‘use spare embryos left over from IVF for stem cell research’ but not ‘create embryos for stem cell research’, as there would be no embryos left to reproduce.