The Integrity of Living Beings as a Normative Concept

  • Awarded to: Professor Michael Hauskeller
  • Funding Awarded to Exeter: £76,225
  • Dates: 1 August 2004 - 30 September 2006
  • Sponsor(s): Wellcome Trust

The term integrity has been frequently used in moral debates about the genetic modification of animals. Usually it is claimed that an animal’s integrity can be damaged even if its subjective wellbeing is not affected. This may be thought to lend support to common intuitions about the intrinsic wrongness of all forms of animal genetic engineering. However it is not clear what integrity means, whether it is descriptive (and what it is supposed to describe) or prescriptive (and what it is supposed to prescribe) or both. Neither is it clear how integrity is related to other terms that were occasionally used in the debate, for instance an animal’s ‘basic nature’, ‘telos’, ‘dignity’, or ‘intrinsic value’. The project examined how is the term is used, what moral concerns are addressed with it and whether those concerns can be philosophically justified.