Wk 2 DNA Patenting Discussion and Responses

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Make three posts in the discussion forum: 1st post due by Thursday noon; 2 more posts due by Saturday noon. The post due on Thursday is a substantive response to one of the open-answer questions. The two posts due on Saturday are comments on posts of your peers.

Respond to one of these prompts and be clear about which one you are referring to:

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?

Student 1: Prompt 2I do believe human intentionality can bring new things into existence. First there is a lot of debate on what counts as coming into existence. For example, there is debate on a hammer. Some argue that a hammer is nothing more than a wood and metal placed together, therefore nothing new was created in the process. Basically, they are looking at how it was constituted. They claim when the wood and metal are broken down to the molecular level, they are still the same. So, for this reason some may scoff at the idea that human intentionality actually brought something new into existence. Others may argue that it was brought about because of human intentionality and invented with a purpose in mind. The purpose being to be used as a tool to hammer nails or hurt people, so it should count as an artifact or something new being brought into existence. I tend to favor the latter definition.Something that is being brought into existence now that overcomes many loopholes and arguments philosophers have is the Metaverse. Companies like Meta (aka Facebook), Microsoft, and Nvidia are bringing the Metaverse into existence. Of course, the goal and implementation of the Metaverse vary from company to company. Also, the goal and purpose of the Metaverse doesn’t need to be rational and can deviate from its original purpose. I personally think their biggest motivating factor is to track people and steal their data. The companies want people to become plugged into their virtual world. Once in this virtual world you can be able to buy or create real estate, clothes, currency, etc. Basically, even in the Metaverse you can bring anything into existence you desire. They are even claiming it to be a fourth dimension. For me, the idea and intention of this world is a waste of time, but tech companies are claiming it to be the future. One feature that may come in handy, seeing as how things are going now is the way class is implemented in the Metaverse. So, therefore it is not only the process of the creation of the Metaverse but also the objects created within are proof enough of human intentionality bringing something new to existence for better or worse. Other examples, in a similar realm that are a result of human intentionality are digital currencies, NFTs, and computer viruses.

Student 2: Prompt #3In my opinion, human DNA should not be patentable. DNA is something that naturally forms and mutates in the human body, so I find that it is morally unethical to apply for partial ownership over it. Additionally, when sequences such as the BRCA1 gene are identified, would it not be considered a discovery since they are already existing? They are simply isolated from the body. Based on the definition of invention, I would assume that the human body making the sequence during its formation would not be the same as someone inventing something like a lightbulb. There is a difference in intention since the individual did not have the freewill to choose to develop the sequence. Since discoveries would not qualify for a patent, I feel like DNA sequences themselves should not be patentable.

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