chapter
9 Pages

Vagueness and Indeterminacy in Ethics

ByTom Dougherty

In an artificial incubator, a zygote gradually develops from a handful of cells to a child who is capable of surviving on its own (Manley ms). With a sufficiently powerful microscope, we would see that its continuous development is constituted by smaller processes in which cells gradually multiply and differentiate. There will come a point in these processes at which we assign the emergent human a moral status higher than that of a cat. But is there a specific millisecond, at which the entity gains this moral status? If we had to choose between terminating the human entity or terminating a cat, are there individual strands of protein that need to bind together for it to become impermissible to terminate the human entity?