The Ethics of Biotechnology: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Ethics of Biotechnology

1st Edition

Edited by Gaymon Bennett


594 pages

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Hardback: 9781472439178
pub: 2016-11-16

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The essays collected in this volume provide students of ethics with essential tools for making sense of emerging biotechnical capacities and the turbulent power relations these capacities are bringing into the world. Unlike previous reference works in bioethics, which focus on specific domains of human activity (such as genetic research or biomedicine), this volume directs students’ attention to the underlying cultural and institutional forces that shape how biotechnologists approach the world, and teaches students how to weigh the ethical significance of these forces. This innovative approach to the ethics of biotechnology, detailed in the volume’s introduction, equips students to track the dynamic interplay of biology, digital technology and the high-tech economy which is remaking the living world today and the human relation to it.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Artificiality and Industry: Biotechnology Between the Possible and the Actual

1. Francois Jacob, "Evolution and Tinkering," Science, 196, 4295, 1977, pp1161-1166.

2. Georges Canguilhem, "Machine and Organism," in Geroulanos and Ginsburg (trans.) Knowledge of Life (Fordham University Press, 2008), pp75-97.

3. Hannah Arendt, "The Defeat of Homo Faber and the Principle of Happiness," in The Human Condition (University of Chicago Press, 1998 [1958]) pp305-13.

4. Bruno Latour, "Morality and Technology: The Ends of the Means," Theory, Culture, Society, 19, 5/6, 2002, pp247–260.

5. Paul Rabinow, "Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality," in Essays on the Anthropology of Reason (Princeton University Press, 1996), pp91-111.

Part 2: Increased Capacity: The Foundations of a Bioeconomy

6. Robert E. Kohler, "Drosophila: A life in the laboratory," Journal of the History of Biology 26, 2, 1993, pp281–310.

7. Deborah Fitzgerald, "Farmers Deskilled: Hybrid Corn and Farmers Work," Technology and Culture, 34, 2, 1993, pp324-343.

8. Michael Pollan, "The Plant: Corn’s Conquest," in The Omnivore’s Dilemma (The Penguin Press, 2006), pp15-31.

9. Michael Specter’s "The Pharmageddon Riddle," New Yorker, April 10, 2000, pp58-71.

10. Ben Paynter, "Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie," Wired (2014).

Part 3: Recombinant Thresholds: From Molecular Biology to Biotech

11. Michael Rogers, "The Pandora’s Box Congress," Rolling Stone 189, 19th June 1975.

12. Cohen, Chang, Boyer, and Helling, "Construction of Biologically Functional Bacterial Plasmids In Vitro," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 7, 11, 1973, pp3240-44.

13. Hans Jonas "Knowledge, Power, Biology: Toward a Philosophy of Technology," Hastings Center Report February 1979, pp 34-43.

14. Paul Rabinow, "Toward Biotechnology," in Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology, (Chicago University Press, 1997), pp19-45.

15. Paul Rabinow "American Moderns" in Essays on the Anthropology of Reason (Princeton University Press, 1996), pp163-187.

Part 4: Sequencing, Synthesis, Design: From Genomics to Synthetic Biology

16. Roger Brent, "Genomic Biology," Cell, 2000, pp169-183.

17. Robert Cooke-Deegan, "Wizards of the Information Age," in The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), pp283-298.

18. Evelyn Fox Keller, "Nature, Nurture, and the Human Genome Project" from Code of Codes (Harvard University Press, 1992), pp281-299.

19. Karen Lebacqz, "Diversity, disability, and designer genes: On what it means to be human," Studia Theologica, 1996, pp3-14.

20. Sydney Brenner, "The End of the Beginning" Science 287, 5461, 2000, pp2173-2174.

21. Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett, "The Second Wave of Synthetic Biology 2009: From Parts to Ontological Domains," in Designing Human Practices (University of Chicago Press, 2012) pp111-123.

22. Wes Jackson, "The Next Synthesis," from Nature as Measure: The Selected Essays of Wes Jackson (Counterpoint Press, 2011), pp199-226.

Part 5: Digital Biology and the Biotechnical Imagination

23. Evelyn Fox Keller, "What Does Synthetic Biology Have to Do with Biology," in Biosocieties, 4, September 2009, pp291-302.

24. Laurie Zoloth, "Second life: some ethical issues in synthetic biology and the recapitulation of evolution," in Bedau and Parke (eds.) The Ethics of Protocells (MIT Press, 2009) pp143-164.

25. Gregory Kaebnick, "Engineered Microbes in Industry and Science: A New Human Relationship to Nature?" from Kaebnick and Murray (eds.) Synthetic Biology and Morality: Artificial Life and the Bounds of Nature, (MIT Press, 2013).

26. Anthony Stavrianakis and Gaymon Bennett, "Science and Fabrications," BioSocieties (2014) 9, pp219–223.

27. David Graeber, "Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit," The Baffler, 19, 2012.

Part 6: Biotechnical Uncertainty and the Ethical Near Future

28. Gaymon Bennett, "The Malicious and the Uncertain Biosecurity, Self-Justification, and the Arts of Living," in Limor Simimian Darash and Paul Rabinow, eds. Modes of Uncertainty: Anthropological Cases (University of Chicago Press, 2015), pp123-146.

29. Caroline Whitbeck, "Ethics as Design," The Hastings Center Report Vol. 26 No. 3 (May - Jun., 1996), pp9-16.

30. Daniel Callahan, "Too Much of a Good Thing: How Splendid Technologies Can Go Wrong," Hastings Center Report Vol. 33, No. 2, Mar. - Apr., 2003 pp19-22.

31. Immanuel Kant, "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" Translated by HB Nisbet, in H.S. Reiss (ed.) Kant: Political Writings, 2nd edition, (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 54-60.

32. Paul Rabinow and Anthony Stavrianakis, "Problematization of the Modern: Bios," in Designs on the Contemporary: Anthropological Tests (University of Chicago Press, 2014), pp9-28.

About the Editor

Gaymon Bennett is Assistant Professor of Religion, Science, and Technology at Arizona State University, USA.

About the Series

The Library of Essays on the Ethics of Emerging Technologies

The Library of Essays on the Ethics of Emerging Technologies

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology
MEDICAL / Ethics