Re: Charter of Fundamental Rights of EU

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Nov 22 2000 - 12:05:33 MST

"scerir" <> writes:

> Charter of Fundamental Rights of EU
> [Adopted by EU Parliament, november 2000, the 14th]
> Article 3
> Right to the integrity of the person
> 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental
> integrity.
> 2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected
> in particular:
> - the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the
> procedures laid down by law,
> - the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the
> selection of persons,
> - the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source
> of financial gain,
> - the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

Yes, I know of this article. It is interesting to consider the
underlying philosophy here. It all hinges on how you define integrity,
and that is a hairy issue. Quite often it seems that it becomes
confused with having unique genes, and that leads to very silly laws.

I like to view integrity as the issue of self-ownership of one's
internal information (a kind of extension of Article 8). Moral
integrity means that I make my own moral decisions without being too
influenced by external attempts to influence or coerce me. This can be
seen as saying that my moral software is not amenable to outside
rewriting. Personal integrity implies that I have a right to keep my
personal information (like my genes or thoughts) private - or to
voluntarily decide to share it.

Integrity is the basis of informed consent, and there I have little
problems with the writing. In fact, I might want to extend it - the
current sale of Icelandic and Tongan genetic information might
constitute a breach of the personal integrity of the citizens there
since it was not done by them or with their consent.

On the other hand, from my point of view there is hence little
problems with selecting genes etc (there is no person there to violate
the integrity of - that person will exist later, partially as a result
of the actions) or selling body parts - that really follows from
self-ownership. And banning reproductive cloning is a rather arbitrary
decision about who should be allowed to have children with who and
how, largely based on the genes=integrity view (which often is stated
in silly terms like the right to have an unique genome, which make
twins somehow victims of mutual integrity infringement).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:30 MDT