In Orphan Black, several apparently unconnected women discover that they are exact physical doubles, that there are more of them out there, that they are all illegally produced clones, and that someone is having them killed. They find themselves in the midst of a secret and violent struggle between a fundamentalist religious group, a fanatical cult of superhuman biological enhancement, a clandestine department of the military, and a giant biotech corporation. Law enforcement is powerless and easily manipulated by these sinister forces. The clones are forced to form their own Clone Club, led by the resourceful Sarah Manning, to defend themselves against their numerous enemies and to find out exactly where they came from and why.
Orphan Black continually raises philosophical issues, as well as ethical and policy questions deserving philosophical analysis. What makes a person a unique individual? Why is it so important for us to know where we came from? Should we have a say in whether a clone is made of us? Is it immoral to generate clones with built-in health problems or personality defects and if so, does that mean that producers of clones must practice eugenic selection? What light does the behavior of members of the Clone Club shed on the nature-nurture debate? Is it relevant that most are heterosexual, one is a lesbian, and one is a transgendered male?
This TV show shows us problems of biotechnology which will soon be vital everyday issues. But what kind of a future faces us when human clones are commonplace? Will groups of human clones have a tight bond of solidarity making them a threat to democracy? If the world is going to be taken over by an evil conspiracy, would it better be a scientific cult like Neolution or a religious cult like the Prolethians? Should biotech corporations be able to own the copyright on human DNA sequences? What rules of morality apply when you can’t trust the police and powerful groups are ready to murder you?
About the Author
Rachel Robison-Greene: Is co-editor of Dexter and Philosophy and The Golden Compass and Philosophy. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Table of Contents
Leda Thinkin' to Us… xiii
Part I "How many of us are there?" 1
1 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made John V. Karavitis 3
2 Go Ask Alison Daniel Malloy 15
3 When Clone Club Looks for Answers Johanna Wolfert Adam Barkman 25
4 Who Owns Clones? Rod Carveth 35
Part II "If we're genetically identical, do you get that little patch of dry skin between your eyebrows?" 47
5 The Human Being in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Daniel Malloy 49
6 One Clone from Another Erik Baldwin 53
7 I Am and Am Not You Jeremy Heuslein 75
Part III "You want to grow a tail, that's your business." 85
8 Laughing in the Face of the Absurd Rob Luzecky Charlene Elsby 87
9 Variation under Ethics Rachel Robison-Greene 95
10 How Can Clones Disagree? Audrey Delamont 105
Part IV "You Know I Never would've got in if you'd said we were going to suburbia," 115
11 Leda, Castor, and Their Families Carmen Wright 117
12 Not Why but Who Sarah K. Donovan 127
13 Sisterhood's Back in Orphan Black Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns Emiliano Aguilar 141
14 Re: Production Darci Doll 153
Part V "Your just broke the first rule of Clone Club." 165
15 The C-Word Rachel Robison-Greene 167
16 Is Sarah Manning Responsible for What She Does? Joshua Heter Josef Simpson 179
17 Dialog with the Buddha Christopher Ketcham 189
A Brief History of Cloning 203
The Clone Club 217