Special Section: Open Forum

Actualizable Potential, Reproduction, and Embryo Research: Bringing Embryos into Existence for Different Purposes or Not at All


In several papers, John Harris has argued that if

  • i) it is morally permissible to engage in reproduction, whether natural or artificial, despite knowledge that a large number of embryos will fail to implant and quickly die, then
  • ii) it is morally permissible to produce embryos for other purposes that involve killing them, for instance, to harvest stem cells that may be used to save lives.

Ingmar Persson, Ph.D., is Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Research Fellow of Oxford University's Uehiro Centre of Practical Ethics. His research interests lie in ethics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind.

Julian Savulescu, Ph.D., holds the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics and is Director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University. He is also Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and Director of the Program on the Ethics of the New Biosciences. His main research interests are the ethics of the new biosciences: cloning, stem cells, genetics, artificial reproduction, and neuroscience.