Discussion Patenting of The Human DNA

March 8, 2022
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Discussion Patenting of The Human DNA

Discussion Patenting of The Human DNA

PROMPT #1: NATURAL KINDS: What, if anything, makes a natural kind a kind as opposed to some other natural grouping? John Stuart Mill (1843: 122–3) noted that horses formed a natural kind but white things do not. Mill’s point is that, natural similarity among white things notwithstanding, leukocytes, chalks, white vans, clouds, comets, and degenerate (white) dwarf stars are too diverse a group to form a natural kind. Given this position, are there any genuine natural kinds? Explain your answer.

PROMPT #2: ONTOLOGY OF ARTIFACTS. Do you believe that human intentionality can bring new things into existence? Explain your answer.

PROMPT #3: PATENTING OF DNA. Do you think that human DNA should be patented? Explain your answer.

PROMPT #4: PARADOX OF CONSTITUTION. Consider the following argument: “The puzzles about ‘identity over time’ seem to be puzzles not about anything’s identity but about what principles of unity we do or should use to divide up the world into whole enduring individuals — about how we do use words or about how it would be best to use words. That these examples do not pose genuine problems about anything’s identity is apparent from the fact that we understand the situations described in these examples completely; we all agree on what happened according to each example; no one is left confused about anything except what to say. but genuine problems of identity leave one confused about what to think, not merely about what to say” (Ruth Millikan). Do you agree with the author’s point that the paradox of constitution is merely a verbal problem? Explain your answer.

PROMPT #5: IDENTITY OVER TIME. What, if anything, does the paradox of constitution tell us about the identity of things and persons over time? Is four-dimensionalism about identity over time a plausible view? Can you think of any ethical or legal consequences four-dimensionalism about identity over time might have?

Classmate A post:
PROMPT #5: IDENTITY OVER TIME
The paradox of constitution is generated by four assumptions named creation, survival, existence, and absurdity. Among that, “absurdity” is closely related to the identity of things and persons over time. Absurdity means that two different objects are impossible to share the same matter and spatial location at a single time. Therefore, from the qualitative perspective of identity, everything on the earth changes over time. For example, our human beings change the appearance as well as mindset all the time as we grow.
In terms of the lecture, four-dimensionalism is one solution of rejecting absurdity in the paradox of constitution. Compared with three-dimensionalism, four-dimensionalism refers to the objects that are spatially and temporally extended. However, on the issue of identity over time, four-dimensionalism seems to be an implausible view. For example, in the case of Theseus Ship, the continuous ship and reconstructed ship exist and share the same stage at all times according to the four-dimensionalism. Therefore, the original ship can be described as “sailing to the continuous ship’s direction” and “sailing to the reconstructed ship’s direction”. If the continuous ship and reconstructed ship sail to different direction, the statement of original ship or Theseus Ship is ambiguous and implausible.

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There are also some ethical or legal consequences that four-dimensionalism about identity over time might have. For example, the matter in my body would be replaced around every seven years. After seven years, should I continue to implement my legal obligations like paying student loans or paying the rent? It depends on whether I am the same person over time. In terms of four-dimensionalism, the individual in seven years ago and the current individual can have overlapping parts and share the same stages. Therefore, after seven years, I should continue to take the ethical and legal consequences.
Classmate B reply to A :
Hi A,
Your discussion about identity over time as well as the plausibility of the four dimensionalism and legal or ethical issues it may bring forth is very interesting. Essentially, anything on earth changes qualitatively even a stone or soil can change after several years. The example you have used about the ship is also effective in demonstrating how the objects change over time despite the objections that each assumption about the paradox of constitution has.
Classmate 1 post:
PROMPT #3: PATENTING OF DNA. Do you think that human DNA should be patented? Explain your answer.
Although there are benefits to having human DNA patented, I believe that human DNA should not be patented. Firstly, human DNA patenting hinders research due to the fact that patients give the owners intellectual property rights on the patented genome sequences. In other words, other companies would not be allowed to work with these genes and thus lose any potential they may have to make significant discoveries on patented genes. Additionally, patenting human DNA leads to the monopolization of genes. Companies that hold gene patents have rights that are exclusive to them only and they will probably decide to not allow any other companies to look at patented genes. Essentially, this is similar to reason one in regards to other companies; this could lead to a monopoly and cause a secretive culture to form among many of the research companies. One final reason as to why human DNA should not be patented is because it slows down medical results because if a company has a gene patent, they have rights to how they go about researching and testing the gene. So if in the case a patient has a test that is done on the gene, the test samples would be sent to the company which owns the gene patent in the order they test the genes and thus would cause a delay in producing test results. Although gene patents allow for research and development in the industry as well as provides opportunities for investment in research and development, it does affect how research on genes is conducted and therefore, human DNA should not be patented as it leads to monopolization of genes.
Classmate 2 reply to 1:
Hi 1,
I agree with your idea that DNA should not be patented. It is true that the practice of patenting would cause a delay in generating test results. Although patent could bring better guarantee and conditions to medical staffs, it also seems to be the limitation of developing the technology as much as possible. Therefore, it is adverse to the research on DNA to some extent. In addition, I hold that the DNA technology is closely related to human beings’ lives, which needs to be shared in public and promote the technological advancement in society. Especially during the period of serious pandemic, the joint efforts are more important than the sense of belonglings. Thank you for your post.
Classmate 3 post:
PROMPT #3: PATENTING OF DNA. Do you think that human DNA should be patented? Explain your answer.
I don’t think that DNA can be patented in the way that we normally talk about patents. It seems ridiculous to point to a gene sequence and say “That’s mine, I invented this”. Can you imagine suing someone for being born with a set of genes that you’ve patented?

In the interest of progress and monetization of inventions however, I think it makes sense to give certain people the exclusive ability to modify certain genes. In the future where babies may be genetically enhanced, it makes sense to allow the researchers of the genes and what they do to sell the ‘right’ to use them to people who want the ability to add those genes. Another argument against patenting genes is that they’re not inventions but rather discoveries. You’re not inventing the human genome, you’re just discovering what certain parts of it do. Furthermore, it seems very unethical to withhold life saving treatment because someone wants a bit more money.
Classmate 4 reply to 3:
Hi 3,
I totally agree with you that human DNA is not something that can or should be patented. Something you mentioned that stood out to me was that genes are not inventions but discoveries. I found this interesting and relative to the fact that human DNA from person to person is actually a lot more similar than we thought. According to the National Institution of General Medical Sciences, the human genome has shown great similarity in all people (but with some, but considerable, variation that makes everyone different of course). It seems that no one person can invent their own new DNA sequence because an enormous amount of other people on Earth may already have that existing sequence. Patenting DNA would simply not work out (not so unique after all).

 

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Posted in nursing by Clarissa