[This is the second in my two-part look at philosophical implications of genetic testing. I posted Part One last Sunday.]
Philosophers have long enjoyed pondering questions of identity. The Ship of Theseus paradox is one famous example. Advances in genetics have shifted the debate and made it more salient: is one's identity defined by who one believes oneself to be or is one's identity defined by who one is biologically? Personal DNA test services like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have generated many identity surprises. Sisters who are not sisters. Fervent Irish Americans whose DNA says Jewish, not Irish. Family lore claims Native American forebears, but the DNA says no. Which defines our identity? Who we believe we are and the lives we have lived shaped by those beliefs? Or who our DNA says we are? Something to ponder as we sit down to Thanksgiving this year. Here is a recent article from The Wall Street Journal on this issue: www.wsj.com/articles/a-white-woman-searches-for-her-black-family-11572625171
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