Helena Siipi


University of Turku



Abstract: As shown by Eurobarometers of years 1999 and 2002, human genetics raises debates concerning its naturalness and unnaturalness. According to the so-called statement of unnaturalness, practices and/or outcomes of human genetics are unnatural and, thus, morally undesirable. I show that the statement of unnaturalness cannot be contradicted simply by claiming that human beings are a part of nature, or that human beings are a case apart from nature. After that I analyse the statement of unnaturalness with respect to the following interpretations of the term natural: naturalness as a lack of human intentionality, naturalness as a lack of technology, naturalness as functional normality, naturalness as familiarity, naturalness as something according to Aristotelian telos, and naturalness as the moderate satisfaction of needs. Moreover, natural origin as a basis for human dignity and arguments of playing God are discussed. None of the above interpretations make the statement of unnaturalness convincing. However, some types of naturalness are in other ways morally important in the context of human genetics.