Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fun With Bioethics

Under English education, university courses tend to be focused on one subject. I've enjoyed studying a lot of biology, but I do miss some aspects of a liberal arts education. I was happily surprised recently to come across a biology paper that, after going through a couple pages of science, began discussing philosophy and democracy (with the ultimate goal of arguing against the EU's strict regulation of genetically modified crops).

There were no direct truth claims in the philosophy portion of the paper (possibly because philosophical ideas are difficult to experimentally verify); instead, each viewpoint was presented as an observation of the human population. Things did get a bit snarky under this method.

To paraphrase:
"the subset of people who, neglecting generally accepted democratic principles, place primary value on personal subjective beliefs pertaining to the negative impacts of genetically modified organisms, may be inclined to argue for extensive government regulation of transgenic crops."

This paper also includes my favorite expression of philosophical criticism: "Many have criticized Rawls' restrictive notion of public reason for being far too restrictive."

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